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Diary Comics

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Since 2010, Dustin Harbin has been sporadically documenting the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form. From their humble beginnings as a sketchbook exercise documenting the quotidian, oftentimes with hilarious results, Harbin's Diary Comics have grown into quirky existential examinations of life and living. Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and/>Dustin Since 2010, Dustin Harbin has been sporadically documenting the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form. From their humble beginnings as a sketchbook exercise documenting the quotidian, oftentimes with hilarious results, Harbin's Diary Comics have grown into quirky existential examinations of life and living. Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in North Carolina. He's best known for his autobiographical comics, as well as many, many illustrations of people and animals, often mixed and matched.


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Since 2010, Dustin Harbin has been sporadically documenting the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form. From their humble beginnings as a sketchbook exercise documenting the quotidian, oftentimes with hilarious results, Harbin's Diary Comics have grown into quirky existential examinations of life and living. Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and/>Dustin Since 2010, Dustin Harbin has been sporadically documenting the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form. From their humble beginnings as a sketchbook exercise documenting the quotidian, oftentimes with hilarious results, Harbin's Diary Comics have grown into quirky existential examinations of life and living. Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in North Carolina. He's best known for his autobiographical comics, as well as many, many illustrations of people and animals, often mixed and matched.

30 review for Diary Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Dharbin, the name Harbin uses when he speaks to himself in boxed commentary in his comic, or Dusty, as some of his friends call him, has just about led me to stop my 2-3 year immersion in memoir comics, though he calls this one "dairy comics." But maybe it's because of the task he keeps for himself, or tries to keep for himself, which is to try to make a comic every day, regardless what does or does not happen. And what happens? He's making comics, is what he's doing! Sometimes doing comics work Dharbin, the name Harbin uses when he speaks to himself in boxed commentary in his comic, or Dusty, as some of his friends call him, has just about led me to stop my 2-3 year immersion in memoir comics, though he calls this one "dairy comics." But maybe it's because of the task he keeps for himself, or tries to keep for himself, which is to try to make a comic every day, regardless what does or does not happen. And what happens? He's making comics, is what he's doing! Sometimes doing comics work in the industry, like lettering. Holding his cats. Procrastinating. Battling depression on a regular basis, this dark other self that threatens to overtake him. Somehow he manages to develop a relationship with a really nice and understanding girlfriend. Not sure what she sees in him, based on this comic! He also spends his time dwelling on the nature of diary comics. Going to conferences. The most interesting parts are the conferences where I get to meet some of his comics friends whose work I have read, and well, I am pulling for him with this girl, I guess. Why would I root for him to be more miserable than he already is? So Harbin calls this project Diary Comics as if it were a scholarly project and not the thing itself, though it really is both. It's pretty meta, and almost comically like Seinfeld, a comic about nothing, just whatever comes up in a depressed guy's life. He also has a comics life, so knows lots of fellow artists, and goes to conferences with them, so there he has fun. He's actually likable, but there's not very much there there. It's not an argument for doing or reading diary comics, in most respects. Why am I reading this, Dharbin? So I can reflect on the nature of diary vs. memoir comics, since in a way, over time, it does become a bit more of a self-reflection than a mere diary? Okay. But do you have anything really original to say about the process? Dusty even says himself that this was a project for him, an exploration, and a step toward doing something more important. I want to read that more important stuff, now. There's one point where he cites a critical review not unlike this one and then AGREES with it. How meta is that?! So maybe that is the point, that diary comics are not something one should do? In addition, for a diary, he's not too navel-gazing, he doesn't tell us all that much about his deepest self, finally. So that's interesting, I guess. So diaries are not that revealing, typically, but memoirs are. This is not that revealing. So . . .? For examples of his work, go to http://www.dharbin.com I do think he has an easy, relaxed style, sketchy in the way of many such comics, and well done at getting at emotions, which are the key thing he focuses on. It's going to surprise you that in spite of everything I say above, I do think he is smart; he makes me think he can do some great stuff. I think this is still pretty good. Just not the best work I expect him to do.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Ruppe

    I’ve got almost endless love for Dustin Harbin’s work. He puts so much of himself into it—not just his heart and soul, but his guts, his crap, his anxiety and depression. It feels real, and then he wraps it up by questioning everything in a deeply meta way, talking about if doing these diary comics has affected him negatively. It’s a book that questions it’s own existence as it wraps up, touching on something deep and true with the human experience.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joe Decie

    Brilliant book! sweet gentle nuanced and frank autobiography. Dustin has a great line, his drawings can be exquisite. It's a joy to read this collection. I think you'd like it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I love journal comics. I love seeing a persons life and how they they live or at least how they portray how they live. Dustin Harbin has been on my radar since I picked up a small collection from this book. I love to see how he started making these as a practice tool and developed them into a real source of art and exploration. Do I feel this book is for everyone, no. It's for me and I don't care if you like it or not. You try and show the world who you are in four panels and see if it's really I love journal comics. I love seeing a persons life and how they they live or at least how they portray how they live. Dustin Harbin has been on my radar since I picked up a small collection from this book. I love to see how he started making these as a practice tool and developed them into a real source of art and exploration. Do I feel this book is for everyone, no. It's for me and I don't care if you like it or not. You try and show the world who you are in four panels and see if it's really that easy. It not and Harbin does it great.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emilia P

    Indeed, diary comics are self indulgent. You know what is possibly more self-indulgent than diary comics? Talking about how self-indulgent diary comics are. Harbin's style of illustration, his visual depictions of creeping depression and his relating of going to comic expos was a lot of fun though. Plenty of cartoonist name dropping, especially of Gabby Schulz, my grumpiest fave. <3

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Consistently entertaining, with a few moments of genuine poignancy and one or two instances of hilarity. Notable more for the dedication it takes to diligently document everyday life, and the ways in which you can see Harbin's overall improvement over time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trey Piepmeier

    I quite enjoyed this. I bought it from his booth at HeroesCon last weekend. While it didn't have the impact of something like American Elf, I always enjoy an autobio comic. There was a point at the end of the book where he gets meta and talks about someone's review of an earlier edition of this book. The reviewer mentions that it didn't go into much depth into the people who showed up in the story. You don't feel like you know anybody in the book except maybe the author. It felt like I quite enjoyed this. I bought it from his booth at HeroesCon last weekend. While it didn't have the impact of something like American Elf, I always enjoy an autobio comic. There was a point at the end of the book where he gets meta and talks about someone's review of an earlier edition of this book. The reviewer mentions that it didn't go into much depth into the people who showed up in the story. You don't feel like you know anybody in the book except maybe the author. It felt like an exercise more than a deliberate narrative, but that makes sense since it's a journal. I appreciated the look into his struggles with depression and the way he shows that visually with swirly black tentacles that come at him from the edges of the panels. I loved seeing the style continually improve over the course of the book. I loved the landscape drawings that looked like black and white watercolor snapshots.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    Of the May 2015 releases coming out from Koyama Press, this one has to be my favorite. And I'm not just saying this because Harbin is a fellow Charlottean. What began as an exercise in autobiographic visual journaling turned into complete, and incomplete, exploration into the self. Diary Comics doesn't become self-indulgent or too navel-gazing as some autobio works fall prey to, and much of the reason is Harbin's abilities to contextualize and frame his work. If you look at the outer brackets of Of the May 2015 releases coming out from Koyama Press, this one has to be my favorite. And I'm not just saying this because Harbin is a fellow Charlottean. What began as an exercise in autobiographic visual journaling turned into complete, and incomplete, exploration into the self. Diary Comics doesn't become self-indulgent or too navel-gazing as some autobio works fall prey to, and much of the reason is Harbin's abilities to contextualize and frame his work. If you look at the outer brackets of this book -- the setup to the diary entries themselves, and the wrap-up or reflection of what they were all about -- you have a much more contemplative and philosophical work of art than anticipated. Or at least, what I anticipated. And the fact that Diary Comics ends equivocally cements the impact for me even more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Dustin Harbin has become one of my favorite cartoonists because of "Diary Comics". I found this collection relatable, and even though I'm no cartoonist, it was just comforting to realize that I wasn't the only one who saw myself and others in the ways that are talked about in "Diary Comics".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    Diary Comics starts off as one thing, becomes something else, and then a third thing in the end. And maybe a fourth thing, if you put it all together. You can see Harbin getting better and more insightful with each page. Very cool.

  11. 5 out of 5

    MariNaomi

    Dustin really rocks these diary comics!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    Honest and thoughtful look at art and its relationship to anxiety.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Devlin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keiler Roberts

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian Nelson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Wapner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abner Dwight

  21. 4 out of 5

    Frankie Bennett

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Carlyle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Benny Morduchowitz

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kadri

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deanbitterman

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

  29. 5 out of 5

    izzy_my

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robert Boyd

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