Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #150 by Drew Barth

Last Short

Once again, we return to ShortBox—one of the best curators of the comics medium. Over the past few years, Zainab Akhtar has provided the world with a box of comics, candy, and wonderfully illustrated prints from a wide-range of creators—all of whom are putting their best efforts forward through every volume they create. This most recent box, the thirteenth so far, is easily one of the strongest.

It is also going to be the last.

The variety of comics within ranges from silent fantasies to recipe comics to deeply personal ruminations on our connections to the people around us. There is, as always, something in here for every kind of comic reader. A particular highlight in this box was Xulia Vicente’s I See a Knight and its story of Olivia and the headless knight, Sierra, she sees following her. While the knight is a kind omen, Olivia and Sierra soon create a friendship between them that lasts for years. Until it doesn’t. I See a Knight chokes me up. It isn’t the only comic to get me choked up in a ShortBox. And we do have Bun’s Comfort Food Corner by Chu Nap as a nice little comedown as well.

But as good as this ShortBox is, there’s still that realization that this is the last one. And the awful thing about it is that it’s ending for reasons almost entirely out of Akhtar’s control. Rising costs compounded by Brexit have made it difficult to keep the box at its original costs, even more so with international shipping climbing near the cost of the box itself. We have a box of unabashed human expression being delivered, in my case, across an ocean. Akhtar has said that she will continue publishing individual comics, as ShortBox has done in the past, but I will miss these boxes of comics.

All good comics end.The transcendent delivery of Shortbox too comes to an end. As sad as I want to feel about it, I can open up some of the many books I’ve been getting over these past few years and savor what I was able to get.

Get excited. Get short.

Drew Barth at Miami Book Fair in 2019.

Drew Barth (Episode 331 & 485) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.