This Must Be The Place: A Please Keep Warm Collection
Michael Sweater (Author)
Silver Sprocket Comics (Publisher)
Published July 24, 2017
Have you ever read those cute comics on Instagram? Those episodic comics about adorable creatures who do funny things or have the occasional existential crisis? Well, This Must Be The Place is the epitome of that (and is actually that). Starring a family of adorably punk animals trying to live their lives as best they can while encouraging the youngest among them to be great, This Must Be The Place: Please Keep Warm Collection is the first time Michael Sweater’s beloved webcomic is in print. Silver Sprocket—the San Francisco indie comics publisher known for publishing Your Black Friend, No Better Words, Siren School, and Cat Boy—has brought beloved characters Clover, Catman, Stan, Flower, and the gang into a lovely trade paperback you can get your sweet little hands on at your local comic shop.
What is great about This Must Be The Place is its ability to portray real-world problems. At the beginning of the book Catman is sitting at the dining room table when Stan walks in with little Clover hitched under his arm. Stan asks Catman if he could watch Clover for awhile, and Catman’s response is so depressingly relatable. “This isn’t a good time Stan, I’m trying to figure out how to pay a 900 dollar bill with 720 dollars.” I have been in that place so many times, and I love how relatable Sweaters makes the character’s of Please Keep Warm. They talk about depression, not fitting in in school, heartbreak, raising kids, and how frustrating it can be to not beat that one level in DOOM II. I love how the stories continue to touch on the darker realism of life all while being so incredibly adorable.
One of my favorite parts of the Please Keep Warm Collection is the little girl Clover. She is the center of this family of old nerds and punks. When she is not asking them about dinosaurs or witches, she’s out making demos for her Black Metal band. My favorite arc in this collection is the story about Clover when she was getting ultra heavy into gaming, and Stan made her put down the games and go outside.
There she finds a squirrel that takes her back to their place to play games and then introduces her to their squirrel street gang of punks. Clover quickly runs the streets tagging walls with “Be Nice to Old People” and digging in dumpsters to find some discarded pizza lunch. The squirrels even made her her own punk vest to officially bring her into the gang. All of this adorableness plays out with awesome primary colors melded with some charming illustrations.
Sweaters’ art truly complements the writing of the story; it all melds into a lovely adventure of a little bunny girl running the streets and rediscovering the glory of her neighborhood. But it all ends violently, as can be expected when the punkiest of punk squirrels are involved.
Clover comes home, and Stan comes out and sees her with the bad crowd. He demands she come inside. The squirrels, seeing their new recruit under duress, pull out a knife and stab Stan. Clover goes back into the house in a huff, leaving Stan to fight the knife-wielding squirrel gang. Is it wrong to say that even this part I found delightful?
Michael Sweater pulls together a series of funny and sweet stories that are entertaining, approachable, and fun to read. Once I picked up this collection I couldn’t put it down. This Must Be The Place: A Please Keep Warm Collection is a wonderful compilation of stories that focus on a group of animal friends lives. Dipped in realism, cuteness, humor, and knife fights, you will most definitely want to pick up this book.