Melissa Mendes’ grandfather, John Albert Ridgeway wrote a short autobiography at the end of his life. It chronicled a long life of hard work, and inspired Melissa’s minicomic series, the Weight.
In issue one, a child is born. Young Marian is pregnant, she and her husband live on her parents’ farm in upstate New York. As soon as we meet Marian, she goes into labor, and gives birth to a quiet baby girl, as the conflict between her father and husband crescendos into a fist fight.
Melissa’s strength lies in quiet subtleties. Brushing over details to move a plot along is not her style. Instead, Melissa takes time to make each moment in the Marian’s labor important. Marian’s mother unbuttons Marian’s blouse to make her more comfortable, a page is devoted to Marian’s father putting water on the wood-burning stove. This intimacy with the characters makes you invested, and eager to know what happens in the next chapter.