Little Nothings Vol. 3: Uneasy Happiness

By Lewis Trondheim
128 pages, color
Published by NBM

Little Nothings is, quite frankly, one of the best titles for a diary comic that I’ve ever come across. After all, at the end of the day, the vast majority of diary comics are full of little, inconsequential nothings. They may be important (or not!) to the person they happened to, but to anyone else they’re a vague amusement at best. That said, I also think that Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings not only has one of the best titles of a diary comic, but that it’s one of my favorite diary comics. The book might be full of little nothings, but there’s something about Trondheim’s charm in his comics that makes it engrossing reading.

Trondheim’s comics in Little Nothings: Uneasy Happiness are rarely deep, or even particularly meaningful. They’re often about his travels, or the moments of mundanity like trying to capture or remove a mouse in his home. What he does bring to his stories, though, is a level of honesty and openness that’s coupled with a strange sort of innocence. So you get to feel his wonder as he sees a huge waterfall on Reunion Island, or his sheepishness as his wife points out that his plan to smoke out a hiding mouse would also set fire to the bookshelves. Trondheim lays out his fears and neuroses for the reader to see; I suspect he understands that it will at any given moment be a mixture of readers laughing at him, and readers laughing with him. There’s a little bit of Trondheim in all of us.

Even better, though, is Trondheim’s lush art. For quick one-page diary comics, there’s a lot of effort put into these pages. I absolutely adore the watercolors that he lays down on a lot of the pages, letting us see clouds wander across a blue sky, or shades of green and brown among the wilderness. If I found myself crazily wealthy, I’d give serious thought to trying to convince Trondheim to travel around the world for me and create a series of art books about each location. Forget about the stunning art detailing Fiji or skiing in the mountains, who knew that old residential balconies overlooking Placa Santa Maria Del Mar could be so enticing? Even a cold wintry sky comes to life under Trondheim’s pen, and makes me wistful for a type of weather that just a month ago I was loudly cursing to everyone within earshot.

Reading any volume of Little Nothings is the comics equivalent of comfort food. Settling down with it can’t help but relax you, make you feel at home, and somehow deeply happy. Seeing this third volume of Little Nothings not only tickled me immensely, it made me dig out the first two volumes to re-read as soon as I was done. It’s nice to see that Trondheim hasn’t lost his charm when it comes to autobiography.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com | Powell’s Books

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