Hellbound Lifestyle is a comic spawned from living in the 21st century, with particular emphasis on the direct relationship the writer shares with her phone. What was once recorded in a diary is now noted down in an app, written up in a Word document or photographed via the phone’s camera, cataloguing a life barely being lived.
For all it’s vivid four-colour glory, this is a bleak existence told with wry, dry humour and with mountains of cynicism. Kaeleigh Forsyth records her moments of oddity and desperation, sometimes not even finishing the observation, and Alabaster Pizzo then illustrates them in a strangely pleasing simplistic style. By and large, the strip is about Kaeleigh struggling to discover who she is, what she’s doing and where she’s going, and making a pretty bad job of it all, but like many a tale where the protagonist is so utterly hopeless we still connect with them through the reflections we see of ourselves.
A particularly enjoyable segment involves a brief to write some PR for some sunglasses. The brief is typically filled with nonsensical statements and detached expectations, and the resulting lines Kaeleigh comes up with perfectly sum up the absurdity of it all. It cleverly uses the medium of the phone as a shared portal into Kaeleigh’s life, something we’re all so very familiar with nowadays, so the strip, from the outset feels a very different proposition, although one I took a few pages to fall into the rhythm of. Also, I don’t think all the strips necessarily work, although as a collection those snippets make for a greater whole.
What it is is sufficiently different to make it worthy of your investigation. It’s a new voice in cartooning that has something fresh and amusing to say, even if that something is ‘I haven’t a clue where I’m going with this’.
And if you liked that: Try Roasted by Andy Riley