It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth Review

Writing, Art, Colors and Letters: Zoe Thorogood
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $12.99
Release Date: November 9th, 2022

Zoe Thorogood, artist of the Image mini-series Rain and the writer/artist of The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott has released her newest work:  the autobiographical graphic novel It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth.
It’s a lovely story focusing on 6 months in Zoe’s life, but also reflecting back on her childhood and her lifelong struggle with depression.  A wide variety of styles including black and white art, photography, and vibrant color art are used throughout the book, making it intriguing and very touching in places.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth Review.

The Story

I think most people will see themselves in Zoe Thorogood as they progress through It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth.  It’s a wonderfully simple story on the surface, but the complexities of suffering with depression, social anxiety and self-doubt make for an Odyssey-style tale. We follow Zoe as she prepares to visit America for the first time (leaving her home in England) to attend a convention and meet an artist who she’s started a long-distance relationship with.

Leading up to her departure for America, we get glimpses into Zoe’s childhood and teen years.  Depression looms over her in most scenes, represented by a monolithic figure wearing a terrifying mask and covered in a jet-black insect-style exoskeleton with Batman-type ears.  It’s the perfect visual representation for depression and wouldn’t be a bad version of Death either.  At times, it makes the scenes of her life almost seem like a horror film, with this horrifying towering figure always behind her like a creepy stalker from a slasher film.

There are so many things I loved about the book.  The first time Zoe awkwardly meets Izzy, who ends up being her dear friend, and their moments together.  The various avatars for Zoe’s psyche (including a young girl that seems like a character out of a Charlie Brown comic, who desperately wants Zoe to find love).  Zoe’s experiences at her first convention appearance.

She really puts the reader in her shoes and you feel the anxiety and awkwardness that comes with making an appearance and giving autographs.  Most of us have been to conventions but we’re the autograph requestors, not givers, and it’s a whole different experience to be the one handing them out.  These experiences run from hilarious to infuriating.

A good portion of the book documents Zoe meeting her long-distance boyfriend and the time they spend together while she’s in America.  Again, this part of the story is hilarious at times and heart-breaking at others. Love is the most complicated emotion, and Zoe captures the ecstasy and pain of it perfectly.

The Art

As mentioned above, Zoe’s art on It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth alternates between different styles throughout the book, making the entire work a visual feast.
The artwork in the bulk of the book is in stark black and white and when scenes with color pop up, they’re vibrant. I’ve always been a fan of Zoe’s artwork, I find it some of the most unique and brilliant work being done by any artist today, and her work shines here.

Final Thoughts

It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth is a beautiful book, giving us insights into Zoe Thorogood’s battle with depression and social anxiety.  It’s a fearless document of a time of change in Zoe’s life, raw, emotional and heartfelt.  This is easily one of the best books of the year, both in terms of story and artwork, and it’s highly recommended.


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