Review: Brunch by
Barbara Geoghegan

 It’s December and I’m finally working through books I got at
SPX this year. One of those is Brunch,
a 12 page comic by Barbara Geoghegan. Brunch
stands out from the rest of the books I got this Fall mostly due to its
size; each page is a full 8.5”x11”, printed in blue and yellow inks, it tells
the story of Emilia who is recovering from a breakup with the help of a ladies
brunch club. But things aren’t exactly what they seem – the reason for the
club, and the intention of the ladies in the group, isn’t exactly benevolent.

 The story of Brunch
is a little all over the place. Mix the plot of The Craft with some eggs, and maybe sprinkle on a little Mean Girls, and that’s a fairly close
approximation of what you can expect. Eggs play a major role throughout the
book, and Geoghegan uses the visual motif of the just-cracked egg throughout
the comic; the table where all the women initially meet, in word balloons, and
even as a way to show confusion/hazy thinking. The motif ties the book together
in a unique way. There is some variation in the illustration, which
tends to skew cartoony. I like Geoghegan’s use of yellow as a spot color throughout.

 From a plot perspective, I think Brunch might have benefited from some more character development,
although that’s a big ask for 12 pages. The connection between the events at
the end of the book and the story in the middle feels tenuous – it may have
served Geoghegan’s story more to build up the arcane elements of the story
rather than drop them on the reader all at once. Some scenes, like the egg
shells all over Emilia’s floor, are more puzzling than evocative. That said, thematically
Brunch feels like a book that is more
about self-discovery and recovery from bad relationships than it really is
about eggs and covens. Geoghegan shows readers how easy it is to go from one
bad relationship to another, sometimes without realizing how toxic the
environment you are in can be. Emilia wants to be empowered with relationships
between herself and other women, but really finds true power when she accepts
herself as a person who isn’t in a committed relationship. Despite some of Brunch’s hiccups, that message comes through loud and clear.

Barbara Geoghegan @barbarabot is a designer and cartoonist – you can find more of her work at her website.

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