Like many comics readers of my generation, I’m a product of the 90s manga boom and the subsequent middle grade graphic novel boom – I love slice of life, and I love memoir! This reading history may be why Hourly Comics Day is so popular. Hourlies are a mishmash of both genres, but with an element of chaos that allows us to peek at aspects of a cartoonist’s life we might not see otherwise. The explosion of comics onto social media every February 1st grants us a unique, intimate opportunity to connect directly with creators as we literally watch their days unfold.
There are of course funny and silly moments in hourlies, and I focused on those last year, but 2019’s set of comics felt more series and meditative. This year’s round up will perhaps be heavier on feelings and lighter on cats, but don’t worry! There will be cats. There are always cats.
One of my favorite, unexpected themes in 2019’s hourlies was The Morning Routine. I particularly loved Kevin Budnik’s, which included time spent on the toilet and some very casual consideration about his current mental state. As the least morning person you’ll ever meet, I often have big thoughts that swiftly dissipate as I run out the door, so I found Kevin’s morning super relatable. I also love the tiny notebook!
Several cartoonists’ morning routines involved lying in bed and scrolling on their phones, but Aatmaja Pandya captured that daily morning mood most succinctly. Much of her morning felt like mine, down to leaving early yet still almost missing the train, but she also captures unique pieces of her home, including language barriers and the complicated way parts of the house don’t feel like home.
10am ✨ pic.twitter.com/rGxps6BpNS
— aatmaja ✨ (@aatmajapandya) February 1, 2019
Some artists have very different morning routines and lives than they did in 2018, like Meredith Gran, who is now a mother. Her morning with her child is incredibly sweet, and throughout the day she contrasts more sweet, joyful moments with rushing to fit in work around parenting. I’ve really missed having Meredith’s art in front of my eyeballs and can’t wait for the completion of her point and click adventure game Perfect Tides.
— Meredith Gran (@granulac) February 1, 2019
I’m not a parent and of course can’t relate to Meredith on that level, but I relate even less to Rian Sygh who doesn’t drink coffee?! However, he does fight through the desire for a late afternoon nap, which is exactly what I do every afternoon. Also please don’t miss that Shrek panel because oh my god it’s creepy and perfect.
— ✨Rian Sygh✨🏳️🌈 (@RianSygh) February 1, 2019
Occasionally, Hourly Comic Day falls on a particularly interesting event. Abby Howard drew her wildlife boat excursion and treated readers to a series of stunning, perfect facial expressions that really make you feel her feelings. This year’s comics unfortunately lack her cat, Spoons, but wow that note about sleeping cat-less being a bit of a blessing is real. My cat basically gets an entire half of the bed to herself! Does she need it? Of course not, she’s big, but she’s not THAT big. The full set of Howard’s hourlies are collected on the Junior Scientist Power Hour website.
— Abby Howard (@AbbyHoward) February 2, 2019
Another little thing that I adore about hourlies is getting to see artists draw their food! Gisele Weaver didn’t just draw daily meals, they also treated us to freshly baked bread! What is this Miyazaki goodness?! Also, there are some fun, mysterious comments about gay insects. I need nothing else.
I Live A Lyfe pic.twitter.com/9kcc34xF2t
— Gisele Weaver 🐐 (@giseletheweaver) February 1, 2019
Hourlies, while sweet and good and fun, can also be an opportunity for a power move. Carta Monir used them to insert her presence in others’ brains — Meredith Park’s, Victor Martin’s, probably all of our brains! Nice. Also, Victor Martins is my new discovery this Hourly Comics Day and ahhh his work is so expressive and cute!
It's not too late… to put me in your hourly comics
— Carta Monir (@CartaMonir) February 1, 2019
— vic (@cosmonautVico) February 2, 2019
— meredith bayfront park (@playground_park) February 2, 2019
Vera Brosgol’s hourlies hit all the notes that I love and have addressed above; there’s a detailed morning routine, sweet moments with her dog, beautifully diagrammed meals,and some serious, meditative moments. However, Brosgol’s end of day is especially lovely, and a good note to end on. She spends time with good people, and feels contented not just with her day, but also with having put love and time into her hourly comics. It’s a good, warm feeling.
Aaaaand that’s it!!! 💁🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/1EQEXUYkfL
— verabee (@verabee) February 4, 2019
…Buuuut I’m not going to quite end with this, because HAVE YOU SEEN CAREY PIETSCH’S CAT?!
— Carey Pietsch (@careydraws) February 1, 2019
Did you discover any new artists from Hourly Comic Day? Share your new finds and favorites in the comments!