When I saw that Liz Baillie’s MY BRAIN HURTS volume 2 made into my post box for review I quickly fired off an email thanking our editor for giving me the opportunity. I have read a handful of the issues from this mini comics series and have really enjoyed them, though I always sensed that I was missing the larger picture—you know, you get issues 4, 5, 7, and 8 of a series and you’re just doing your best to follow along. (This volume reprints issues 6-10.) And now I’m here in an embarrassing situation. I’ve spent two days trying to figure out some cool shit to say about this work and I’m failing to find something succinct that does the work justice...
Though I grew up far from punkness, queerness, and rebellion, I understood some of the world that Baillie presents through her teenage characters. You can find passion, large doses of angst, and page after page of spontaneous decision making (and the repercussions that follow!). More importantly, you start to feel some sense of compassion for these kids who are trying their best to make it in a world that seems to not want them.
Unfortunately, the story seems to end right when it is time to start resolving much of the groundwork built up over the ten-issue run. Baillie’s cartooning work is raw but certainly not distracting. In fact, I prefer this unpolished style as it allows the story and prose to carry the work. I do find the give and take between the characters to be one of the strong points of the collection— there is no holding back, that’s for sure! The plot line is equally as strong.
Although you can certainly enjoy reading only the second volume of MY BRAIN HURTS, I do recommend getting your hands on the first volume to get the entire mini comic collection. Kudos to Microcosm for keeping Baillie’s work in print. And a hopeful request to Liz: “Can we have ten more issues?”