“Did You See Me?” by Sophia Foster-Dimino
Shortbox is a small independent publisher out of the UK run by Zainab Akhtar. While they’ve branched out to sell their back catalog singly, and to kickstart a few larger books, their original model was a quarterly box of 5 or so comics, a print, and some form of strange British candy. I can’t recall if I’ve gotten 4 or 5 boxes thus far, but there has not been a bad comic in the bunch. And in every box, there is one that truly stands out. “Did You See Me?” is one of those.
David is an editorial assistant, and hosts a literary podcast. The story starts when somebody @’s him on twitter asking him to apologize for bumping into her the night before, causing her to drop her sandwich. He replies that he was home all evening. But she says, no, after that in her dream. David writes her off as a crank, but when telling his girlfriend about it, he recalls that something like that did happen in his dream. When he dreams that night, he apologizes to Emma (the girl from twitter). He still fights that this is reality, but slowly he comes to accept it, and their dream relationship continues to get more intimate. Finally, David breaks up with his girlfriend, and arranges to meet Emma in person.
The story is sweet and strange. Foster-Dimino uses three different styles. Twitter pages show the phone on a colored background. To prevent it from being entirely static, it switches from notification screens, to his typing, to DM’s. It shows him checking her page when he’s suitably intrigued. Then there is real life. Orderly boxed pages with a white outer border, the figures themselves with a black outline. The dream pages are an all white page, the figures with no outline, or just the lightest touch to distinguish white on white. Text feels crammed in, at times upside-down. The story navigates us through these three spaces, all of them are reality, but none of them are fully real.
Buy from Shortbox: https://www.shortbox.co.uk/product/did-you-see-me-by-sophia-foster-dimino