Annie Mok has long been a cartoonist I admire and love. She fills each panel of her comics with so much emotion and power that reading them is a full body experience, taking you to a place either you’ve never been before or a place that’s all too familiar. Now, with No Exit, she releases a collection of previously uncollected comics that don’t quite fit anywhere else, and she takes her rightful place in the elite level of American cartoonists. This book is filled with diary comics, one-page comics, narrative comics and all sorts of other great things that will shake your emotions, build your heart stronger and make you feel like a kid playing with a stone you found in the park.
A lot of these comics are pretty introspective. They’re about Mok’s life and experiences and how she deals with them, or the effects they’ve had on her, and in that way, they’re often very, very raw. Sometimes the comics are so personal they make you wince, and other times they’re so universal that they make your heart feel bigger because you recognize that you’re a part of a larger world. Her diary comics are like this. They’re super great in the way that diary comics by top tier talent are. They’re specific in a way that makes them absolutely and undeniably human, and that makes them relatable. On Twitter, Mok explained the title of the book, saying “I never talked about the title for my collection NO EXIT. To me it means one must live. No exit. You have to live.” And that comes across fully and sometimes brutally in the book. It’s can be a difficult book to read, but it will definitely make you stronger and more full of love and life once you do.
Annie Mok has a really wonderful style that reflects who she is as a person. If you were to put her in a machine that turned her into a cartooning style, it would be exactly what you see on these pages, and that is one of the highest compliments I could ever give to an artist. Her art is butchy, and tough and cute, and it has a wicked smile and a great, but subdued style. It’s instantly recognizable and really, really attractive, but in, like, a cool and kind of rough way.
One of my favorite comics in this book is “Henson (Untitled)”, a comic about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. This comic is so beautiful, you guys. The Muppets are great, they’re wonderful, they’re a part of my life and the lives of millions of others across the world, and Jim Henson was a remarkable and brilliant human being, and Mok does a tremendous job of showing us a glance at his life and career and death, while making sure to highlight his heart, his humanity and his genius. Her illustrations and the moments she chose to show are absolutely pitch perfect, they’re exactly what I wanted, exactly what I needed. If this comic doesn’t make you cry, maybe you should go and watch the Muppet Movie again. Ugh, this comic is so wonderful.
Annie Mok is a comics genius and a wonderful person and I want everyone to be a fan of her like I am. This is a book that really needs to be seen and read by as many people as possible. It’s honestly brilliant, and remember, these are the comics that don’t fit in with her other collections. If you want to see Annie Mok, a cartoonist who is stepping up into the heights of what a comic can be in this day, making the comics that show just how talented she is, head over to her website and buy No Exit today or you can buy a digital copy online. You can (and should) also follow Mok on twitter.
New Releases (November 9)
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.