By Dustin Cabeal
Lately, I’ve taken to reading a lot of autobiographical comics. Haven’t stumbled across more than a few I enjoy, I was bound to find a few that were just okay. Unfortunately, that’s the case with I Thought YOU Hated Me.
The story follows Mari, the creator, and star of the comic, from a young age. The art style is what’s most impressive here as it’s a mix of Peanuts and Family Circus. We’re quickly introduced to Mari’s best friend, Mirabai. They two don’t start off as friends, but actually kind of the opposite. The story then follows Mari’s friendship with Mirabai and how she’s this free spirit that can never be contained.
The artwork adapts as Mari grows up. There’s a ton of different styles that are used, and the compositions and details grow more and more as the story goes on. There was one segment that reminded me of a lot of indie comics I read in newspapers like the Westwood. The artwork is the real treat of this story as Mari is quite talented and able to illustrate in numerous styles which play to the content of the stories they’re accompanying.
The thing is, it’s a long story about friendship, but it’s a real friendship, so it lacks any conclusion that’s rewarding to read. Mari and Mirabai keep in touch, but they’re not as connected as they were when they were kids. It’s a story as old as time, and while very relatable, it’s just not particularly interesting after a while. There are some good gags touching moments, but in the end, it’s hard to understand why Mirabai is the focus of Mari’s story. That’s how it ends up feeling, at least to me.
If you like autobiographical comics then definitely give it a shot, but if you want to appreciate comic strip art and how wonderfully deep and diverse that can be, then you’ll appreciate I Thought YOU Hated Me for that alone.
I Thought YOU Hated Me
Publisher: Retrofit/Big Planet