Some Day My Witch Will Come (self-published)

32 pgs. B&W | (W / A: Mardou)

One of the best kept secrets of the St. Louis comics scene, Mardou first garnered attention with Sky in Stereo, a coming of age tale of halting romance, wasted nights, and nights spent wasted that started as a minicomic series before being picked up as a graphic novel series by Revival House Press. As she preps the series’ second volume, the British-born writer/artist took a break to create this delightful, insightful autobiographical minicomic, which debuted at 2017’s edition of the St. Louis Small Press Expo.

Some Day My Witch Will Come opens in the year 2015, with Mardou celebrating the release of the first volume of Sky in Stereo as well as her fortieth birthday. Her entry into life’s fifth decade is greeted with anxiety and, more frustratingly, acne, which leads Mardou to a variety of holistic solutions. As she digs deeper into yoga, she stumbles upon a ritual using rocks, hair, menstrual blood, and, well, this is all beginning to sound a bit like witchcraft, innit? But perhaps with a little self-reckoning, she can figure out why she finds the idea so appealing, and find the roots of her anxiety along the way.

Mardou’s art style and visual storytelling in Sky in Stereo is reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi: thick linework, whites and solid blacks with no grays or shading, breezily readable layouts (made up of nothing but tiers of same-height rectangular panels), and writing that relies heavily on first person narration to get into the head of the lead character. For Some Day, Mardou flips the script. While the story is still primarily interested in what’s going on its protagonist’s head, the narration here is coupled with internal dialogue—the author, in essence, working through her issues by arguing with herself. Similarly, the art eschews panel borders entirely, the characters and dialogue instead dancing across the page without sacrificing readability.

The writing in Some Day is similarly approachable. Mardou is clearly comfortable inside her own head; she understands her own thought processes so well that she’s able to dig into them in a way that’s insightful, interesting, witty, and memorable. Not to mention educational: the book is also filled with book recommendations to help the reader follow along on the same journey to self-actualization as the author. While the book is small, it’s anything but slight, dealing with some heavy emotional content and universal human truths.

Long story short, this short comic is a delightful way to spend a few minutes in someone else’s head. While the next volume of Sky in Stereo is highly anticipated (and, according to the artist’s Facebook page, recently completed!), let’s hope Mardou continues to punctuate her output with little asides like Some Day My Witch Will Come, because the autobiographical short form suits her skills quite nicely. | Jason Green

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