Hourly Comics Day 2020: Friendships, Puppies and Raptors Oh My!

Kat Fajardo is woken up by their dog, in panels from their 2020 Hourly Comics. From Fajardo's twitter.

The year is 2020, and of all the momentous things happening, both good and terrible, there is one event that we must honor, as we do every year: Hourly Comics Day. Welcome to my third annual roundup! This year’s Hourly Comics Day fell on a Saturday, and gave us a fun peek into various cartoonists’ weekend lives. Many involved work and meeting deadlines — we are talking about a community of freelancers, here — but several involved small, sweet, even mundane things, like meeting friends for food or protecting lunch from a food obsessed pet. Of course, the mundane doesn’t just include the positive – all the little struggles of our lives, from joint pain to mental health issues, happen to us everyday as well.

One of the cartoonists who delivered updates on a slow, sweet Saturday was Coni Yovaniniz, an alleged “morning person” according to their twitter bio. (As an intensely NOT morning person, I find morning people mildly suspect. Just… HOW do you do that?!!) I found Yovaniniz through the Hourly Comics Day hashtags, and got a very sweet introduction to her life and work — by reading as she worked, and worked, and worked more, drawing hourlies and other projects. However, in-between all the work Yovaniniz shared food and spent time with family, enjoyed some shower time musings, and supported another cartoonist as he also worked. Scrolling through their hourlies at once, it felt like Yovaniniz had a packed day, but reading each one makes their pace feel leisurely. There’s a sweetness to this drift through a Saturday, filled with lots of little moments of connection.

Connection was also a strong theme in April Amézquita’s hourlies. Amézquita, a storyboard artist who works on the cartoon Victor & Valentino, weathered heavy traffic and an hour-long wait to get brunch with a friend and talk and talk and talk. There’s no context in the comics about if they meet regularly, but the morning spent talking reminded me of the friends I have who I don’t see often, but when I do, we just cover ALL the necessary ground to catch up on each other’s lives. It’s interesting to see snippets of people navigating adult friendships in their hourlies.

A thing I love seeing in everyone’s hourlies, always, is their food routine. Are you cooking, or going out? Do you draw it in loving detail or give vague impressions? Shivana Sookdeo blessed us with a cute, simple panel revealing that she ate leftover takoyaki for breakfast. Sookdeo also gives us some of those everyday moments that don’t feel joyful – like that back-cracking panel, which hurt me a bit to read because oof, this is me, but with my terrible knees. I really loved that Sookdeo used mostly white and blue; it made me feel like we were getting a peek into her unique white-and-blue world, radiator-warmed slippers and all.

Kat Fajardo’s hourlies were brightly colored, making it feel like we got a vibrant peek into her real, everyday life. There’s a nice, kinetic grainy-ness that the colored pencils give each panel, making it feel like Fajardo’s Saturday kept moving. Of course, all the little happenings are still relatable and cute – although I get woken up in the morning by hungry cats rather than a dog. Like many others, Fajardo had to work during part of their Saturday, and their bedtimes made me wonder — cartoonists, are you getting enough sleep?!

Sloane Leong seems to have similar problems with her own needy puppies. I know I talk a lot about people’s pets in my hourly roundups, but there’s so many little relatable moments! Sometimes my cat decides to sleep sideways in the middle of the bed, like Leong’s dog, and I just have to sleep around her. They’re small but they take up so much space! Leong’s hourlies, however, later took on a serious tone. In a text-filled panel, Leong reflects on a struggling relationship in which the other party was trying to rush through a healing process. Where Amézquita’s hourlies reminded me of unshakable friendships, Leong’s reminded me of the less sturdy ones. It can be difficult to navigate how our bonds with people change, and those shifting ties are also part of our everyday experience.

Last Hourly Comic Day I was delighted to go along with Abby Howard’s wildlife boat excursion, but this year Jen Wang provided the surprise nature event: raptor survey! Wang participates in this program by documenting information on raptors in her neighborhood. It was fun to briefly dive into a totally different world full of birding t-shirts and raptor facts. Wang is also pregnant, and offered several hilariously cute drawings of a stretchy baby instead her stomach. It’s kind of wild to see such blatant, illustrated evidence that Wang is currently growing and carrying around a future person! There’s so much life in Wang’s hourlies — life that comes in baby form, and in life-sustaining in raptor form.

I felt very privileged to get all these little looks into the lives of several very talented cartoonists. Maybe my focus on relationships and routines has something to do with the fact that I turn 30 in about a month and a half – does aging make you more interested in everyday happenings? Pop your favorite hourlies and sage 30+ year old wisdom in the comments, or don’t, whatever! Time marches on regardless, and I’ll see you at next year’s roundup.

Alenka Figa

Alenka Figa

Alenka is a queer librarian and intense cat parent. They spends their days reading zines and indie comics, and twittering about D&D podcasts @alenkafiga.