I love reading NOT MY SMALL DIARY! The delight of anthology zines is variety; when every couple of pages brings you a new creator, you can count on variety even when everybody is writing about the same theme. The theme for this issue is “Brushes with Celebrity”, so you can imagine that when you ask more than 50 people to address that topic, you’ll get a lot of different kinds of stories.
Many of these comics will mirror the sorts of brushes with celebrity that you may have experienced. Completely random encounters on a city street or an airplane, or spying a celebrity as they do their shopping. The occasional celebrity interaction that might happen in the course of your job. Or that curious phenomenon of having a perfectly ordinary friend or acquaintance become a celebrity. There are plenty of these types of stories, covering situations from meeting a childhood hero at a scheduled public appearance, to bumping into Ron Jeremy at a Krispy Kreme.
What distinguishes these stories from yours or mine is perspective. These dozens of different artists with their dozens of different stories each have a unique perspective of what constitutes celebrity.
They all remember the details that were most significant to them, or perhaps embellish their recollection to be what they need it to be — just as you or I would, in our own way. This is why we love these stories. Most of us have accidentally encountered a celebrity, quite possible one whose body of work meant nothing at all to us — but didn’t we have to contend with the urge to offer some compliment or opinion? And surely all of us have at least imagined what we might say in a chance meeting with a famous person we actually admired. These comics entertain us with the funny, awkward, surreal, or inspiring stories… but they also entertain us because they inherently invite us to compare our own memories and fantasies.
To think about what we would do in their place.
The risk of anthology zines is the gulf of quality between one story and the next.
But NOT MY SMALL DIARY has matured into such a mighty engine of contribution that you never have to worry about what you’ll find between the covers. With 140 pages and more than four dozen artists, I liked almost every one of them! There was not a highlight to this issue; there was a score of highlights, and the terrific feeling that lingers after you finish reading something really good. I wasn’t just thinking about these stories. I was thinking about that time I kicked Limp Bizkit out of the café where I was waiting tables, because they refused to stop smoking in the no smoking section. I was thinking about the time I didn’t realize how very, very loudly I was speaking because I was so nervous around Shannon Wheeler. And the time I poked Jeffrey Combs in the shoulder from behind, and then ran away down the stairs before he could see who did it. That’s a good zine! It’s a good read, but it doesn’t stop when you put it down.