Falling nicely into place in the autobiographical comic movement, Jeffery Curtains (a pseudonym) has struck gold with Stick & Stickina. Despite being a “comic,” Stick & Stickina is quite dramatic and emotional, boldly displaying the highs and lows of its creator’s personal relationships front and center. Where it lacks in traditional jokes and comedy, the strip more than makes up for it in feelings. As one could probably infer from the name, the art style is simplistic, forgoing detailed depictions of the emotion of the characters in favor of the much broader and, in effect, stronger style that is stick figures.
It seems silly at first, but the rudimentary style completely works for the strip. It somehow adds maturity to the characters, making them more believable by stripping away everything unnecessary and focusing on the raw truth of the two lovers as they go about their courtship.
Stick & Stickina starts at the beginning of the relationship, and follows a roller coaster trajectory that many undoubtedly can relate to. From the first kiss to the first argument to the first bumbling night in each other’s arms, the strip does not shy away from the issues truly concerning modern couples.
As the strip progresses, and the relationship matures into new territory, Curtains brilliantly displays all sides of the issues that come up. In one particularly memorable strip, the characters have an argument where each takes quite the opposite stance. The way the strip is written, nobody is shown to be the bad guy, both people are able to express and reflect upon their individual opinions, and they come out of it learning quite the positive lesson about family and tolerance.
Through it all, the strip maintains a positive outlook on life. The love that Curtains feels in his own relationship is always apparent in Stick & Stickina. As the strip continues, its readers can look forward to the moving adventures that life’s many surprises are sure to bring. (Spoilers! There is soon to be new member of the Stick family!)
A follow up review is sure to come soon!