For some reason, I’m always excited to see what someone with a Fine Arts background brings to the world of mini-comics. Perhaps it’s he clash between the faux-distinction of the high brow and low brow worlds, but Kayla Escobedo’s Monty Comix is just such a treat. Escobedo has dabbled in comics from a young age, interned at PictureBox, and is currently pursuing her BA at Harvard University and edits the Harvard Lampoon. So, let’s see what this academic pedigree does to comics. Almost immediately, I like the aesthetic that I see; it’s almost as she’s taking the picturesque Norman Rockwell settings and then sifting them through this Maus era Art Spiegelman filter. Her formless vague biped blob people all feel like strangers in strange lands who are attempting to find their place in the world. They try to find a footing in a world that views them perpetually as outsiders. Most of the early 1-2 page shorts contend with this existential angst, though Escobedo nicely terms it “spiritual unrest.” It’s almost as if her massive forms are awaiting meaning in their life to give them form. We see cities, churches, and even the countryside, but there is no respite to the lost feeling. Late in the work, it seems that one of the vague blob characters is an autobiographical cipher. Escobedo discusses her grandmother contending with a family history of diabetes, and goes on to address very specific subject matter like liver cancer, leukemia, and dementia. I think it’s telling that the other characters have their likenesses (her grandma looks like an elderly grandma), but Escobedo’s autobiographical form retains its generic qualities as it seeks to navigate existence. The last strip in the book is a little fuzzy, but the back page, in full color, more than makes up for it with its direct and unflinching perception of sexism and female objectification. I’d definitely be interested in tracking down more issues of Monty Comix (currently up to issue 5 available) to see if the thread of these themes is present or if others have emerged. Grade A-.