Keiler Roberts’ comics have a simple facade. Minimalist and realistic drawings of people and places in thin black lines against uncoated white paper. Matter-of-fact records of events in Keiler’s life told either through a dry humor, or a sober drama. Most of the pages are taken up with silly things Keiler’s daughter, Xia says or does.
But behind this simplicity and perceivably “easy gimmick” of “kids-say-the-darndest-things” is highly skilled cartooning. Keiler’s austere joke delivery will make you laugh out loud (so be careful where you read this), and her observations on life are sharp and nuanced.
The longest story is a complex tapestry of memory, fantasy, and reality. Keiler tells recalls watching “The Little Man Who Couldn’t Read,” a film strip she once watched in school about illiteracy, which branches off on tangents, only to be shaken by the reality that Keiler’s own memory of the cautionary tale is completely wrong. It’s a fun and funny rabbit hole in the middle of shorter vignettes about raising a child.
“It is this kind of innovation that really makes her work stand out in a crowded field of autobio and memoir comics.”
-Rob Kriby, The Comics Journal
“There’s so much to enjoy in Miseryland…”
-Brian Cremins, comics scholar
“The simple, direct art makes for an intimate, personal journey through Roberts’s life as a mother and creator.”
-Book Life, Publishers Weekly
“Where Roberts excels as a storyteller is in the subtlety of her observational thoughts on motherhood.”
-Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
“The result is a story of a complex woman and her family trying to make it through life in mostly one piece, grilled cheese and all.”
-Alex Hoffman, Sequential State