Review – A National Story of Minor Significance
Writer: B.J. Mendelson
Artist: Piotr Czaplarski
B.J. Mendelson is in his own head, figuratively. He had aspirations to be like George Carlin, only to write a book that didn’t go the way he wanted it to. He’s dealt with depression and a number of very human issues and is using that as the basis for his comic, “A National Story Of Minor Significance.” And then there’s the thing about Donald Trump suing his family over a toilet seat…
The story is structured as a self-help book, while also paving the way to also be a memoir. Within, it’s a character-driven story by Mendelson, who navigates the reader through all the craziness inside his own head. I have an appreciation for work like this. Straight to the point and from the heart, a story like the one (so far) in ANSOMS can be rather refreshing from the standard stories of capes and abilities that American comics offer. There’s a lot here that Mendelson is trying to get off his chest and it feels like ANSOMS is his own way of exorcising his demons, in a sense and I imagine some readers could come away with the idea of not wasting time doing that which you want to do. This first issue does seem to work as both self-help and certainly as a memoir of the writer. With the story taking place so much in his head, there are things that, at least for me, come off as a bit humorous and maybe a peek into what goes on inside someone’s head, like a twisted version of the Pixar film Inside Out.
One thing that stuck with me reading this is that it’s not always easy to admit that you’ve felt suicidal. That’s real and it takes strength to put out there that you might be too into superhero girls, almost as a fetish-of-sorts. I felt that ANSOMS has a brutally honest approach.
I enjoyed the art. Looking at characters who lack the exaggerated physical structure of most comic characters is a bit refreshing and Piotr Czaplarski certainly makes the characters here appear more realistic. And already, I was happy that with as many changes in the scenery, most of the panels had background art. Now, I do like colored pages more, because I do feel a good colorist adds to the story, but for black-and-white art, this is good. Not the most detailed art but overall, Czaplarski does a really good job navigating the story. Certainly, the story has a good flow from panel-to-panel. Part of the deal with this book involves President Donald Trump suing Mendelson’s family and as a reader, I was hoping ANSOMS would delve into this a bit more. It’s just personal preference. My critiques of this book were few and far between.
Overall, this is good stuff by Mendelson and Czaplarski. A National Story Of Minor Significance has a lot to offer readers, not just as a story but because it’s a bit more heartfelt than other books. It’s nice to have a writer put their soul out there because there’s definitely parts you’ll identify with. When it is all said and done, this might be the kind of book that does more than give you a story but rather, has the kind of story you might learn a thing or two from.