At last year’s Small Press Expo, I bought a lot of mini comics, many of which were biographical stories written and drawn by the same person. Diary comics. A certain level of intimacy and honesty goes into these stories, a level of trust that they give to us as readers to accept them and take something from their lives to hopefully help us with ours. We’re used to stories about love, sex, friendship, and growing up. Romance is something we're all attracted to. Shitting yourself is not romantic.The Diarrhea Diaries is three stories, written by Phil Miarmi and drawn by Aaron Dela Rosa and Mark Griffin, about not making it, making it at the wrong time, and making something grand. The actual comic is fashioned like a composition book, black and white with “useful information” on the inside back cover, the title on the front, either pulling you in or pushing you away.
“Little brown fishies” is about a young fat kid in the bathtub with his little sister being watched by their mother. When the phone rings she has to leave the room and while gone, Little Phil has an accident. His little sister leaves the tub, not disgusted, but to tell her mom about the “brown fishies.” The second story “Oh Brother” has Miarmi as a teenager bothering his brother to “come look at the crap I just took!” and then FORCING his brother kicking and screaming to see the perfect spiral in the toilet. The finale to all of this is has Phil all grown still having the same problems as a child, but now with more embarrassment and friends around to harass him.
Putting yourself at the butt of a joke (har har) is hard enough, but admitting to other people you haven't made it once or twice takes courage. Phil Miarmi understands why his bowel problems are hilarious, and with simple drawings and little detail, he gives us what we want. To laugh at someone else.Jason Horn (Loose ends, Ninjasaur, Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo) gave me his mini comic Potty Talk, a 30-page, credit card-sized story. It has two friends in a burger place talking about the much feared but often dealt with “misjudged wipe.” Admitting this happens to you is an extreme version of "Do you pick your nose or not?". It’s gross but it’s something we all have dealt with. The story ends with Jason asking his unnamed friend if he “wads or folds” and that my friends, is honesty.