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Creatures with Purpose (review)

Soph Letizia, 2023

This zine, Creatures with Purpose, is described as an anthology, but in reality, it is a series of vignettes with the common theme of improbable creatures. The characters range from stereotypically lime green and big-headed aliens, to two brown ants grimly hanging on for life on the edge of a toilet roll, to a purple fanged beast visible only to dogs.

One of the stories is perverse. Captured in a single page is the tale of a green dragon with teats collared in a basement and milked for punch by a bar owner. “Milking time!” he yells, entirely reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrik’s 1980 film The Shining. The poor beast’s eyes boggle. The people in the bar above are completely unaware of the pedigree of their tipple. Writer/artist Soph Letizia’s artistic style is cartoon pop, a cute series of illustrations which makes the page even more icky.

Another story features a brother freaking out at his little sister’s obsession with a dark and ominous crack in the corner of a ceiling. This sort of behaviour by small children has been the subject of a very rational and patiently explanatory piece in The Washington Post and also some very unsettling stories on the likes of Reddit: Parents of Reddit, what is something your kids started doing/seeing that made you believe they were communicating/seeing ghosts? : r/AskReddit . Here, the happy child smiles at the crack in the wall, and the crack smiles back.

Between the vignettes like links between pearls is the story of a woman stood up on a date. A mottled, purple hand follows her sad walk home. The hand ends up being a friend, and as she holds it in comfort in the dark of her living room, we see that the hand is connected to a boneless arm, laying about the room like an enormous python.

It is wonderful stuff. Creatures with Purpose was available for sale at the 2023 Perth Comics Art Festival in Australia. Sadly, it does not appear to be available for sale anywhere online.