By Edward Ross
Crappy day, bad news, miserable weather, don’t fancy looking at cats on the Internet for kicks, too much work to do, stress, getting niggling aches, feel you may be getting old? Well, here’s a little antidote. A small slice of joy, lightweight, happy.
Don’t believe me? Have a look at the cover. Adorable. You can’t help but smile.
Once inside the actual comic is everything you want it to be as a chronicle of parenthood. It’s honest, sentimental, sweet, all the simple stuff you’d expect from a tale of a couple going from pregnancy all the way through to a six-month old son. Congratulations to Edward, congratulations to Mary, and welcome to the world baby Ross. Daddy’s made a lovely little comic for you. (and us).
In many ways, it’s a companion to Francesca Cassavetti’s The Most Natural Thing In The World, covering much the same ground, albeit one that covers those very first bits in concentrated form, and from a dad’s point of view. What we get, page after page, is a quick peek at the moments in a 15 month period from pregnancy to six months old.
Just like Cassavetti, Ross does a fine job, and most importantly there’s truth in here, something too often left out in those dewey eyed tales of parental wonder (don’t ever believe them when they tell you it’s wonderful ALL the time, they lie, they lie). So for every little it of sweet, sentimental soppiness, there’s a moment of truth. For example, the sheer grinding boredom of being in labour (at least for us men just along for the moral support, and often proving less than useful) is set against, very next page, this perfect moment:
It really is all in Ross’ face there isn’t it?
After this it’s six months of panic, of facing that great unknown, from the moment you get your little bundle of joy home, set them down and realise that this is it, you’re on your own, and no, you do not have a clue how to do this, and why isn’t there a damn manual that works with this thing.
It may not seem much, but I so enjoyed the little things that Ross shared with me, all the things I can still remember with Molly 13 years on; the vomiting, the crying, the colic, the obsession with poo (theirs not yours), the feeds, teething, advice from all sides. But most of all, I thank Ross for this:
The sense of loss never stops (sorry Edward), but it always feels like this.
And the lovely Mrs B agrees. Well, sort of. She loved the cover, and was up for reading the comics, right until she looked inside.She couldn’t read it. Not for content, she thought the idea was lovely, and the art looked lovely. But it’s simply too small, too cramped, too difficult to read. You young people wont have a problem. Us slightly olders are beginning to get to that point where books need holding a little further from the eyes. Yes, it is crap getting old. Thanks for pointing it out.
I know sometimes format is enforced, but here there’s simply no excuse, a small 2×2 square grid each page squeezed onto the page, with barely any space for left and right borders. Even those with great eyes will find the art cramped. Oh, and it’s a terrible shame to have to start this with criticism of the format Ross has chosen, but it’s the first response to this wonderful little comic, so it needs mentioning. Seriously folks making comics, think about the comfort of your readership, it makes the whole thing work so much better.
Aside from that formatting problem, there’s so much here that’s to enjoy, and just like Mary and Edward are finding with parenthood, the small annoyances and problems are more than made up for by the joys.
You can purchase a copy of Grow for yourself at Ross’ website, or perhaps you might consider it as a different and interesting new parent present.