Kate Brown was one of a number of exciting and talented creators invited by Wicked Comics as guests for the Malta Comic Con 2011. Kate is becoming very popular in the UK and is a regular visitor and guests in many cons through out the year. She has published or contributed various works as well. She is known for being an exquisite artist as well as writer. Her latest work “Fish + Chocolate” is a compendium of three short stories. The stories revolve around the theme of motherhood, however they lack the joyfulness that such a state should bring. In fact Brown explores the other side of the coin, that is, the fear, the questions, the constant apprehension and concern that being a mother brings about.

The outer hardback cover and title are quite misleading. Bright yellow with a stripped woman blindfolded sitting on a chair have nothing really to do with the stories bound within the inside pages and this hard case provides a definate contrast with the stories. This publication by Self Made Hero is an interesting one nonetheless. Kate”s art is quite straightforward, vibrant and colourful. In its simplicity one can still notice details and the panelling brings forth a steady pace of the story even when words are almost nonexistent in certain pages. The narrative as well is quite simple but that is the focus of this book… being simple doesn”t mean it lacks depth, and these stories are ideal for group discussions.

I must admit that my favourite is Matryoshka which is the last story of the book and I think it is also the most powerful. Kate goes deep into the psychology related to loss, anger and depression in this story. Like a Russian doll, people have more than one facade and only when one digs deep into oneself can you eventually come to terms with the pain you feel.

Getting to know Kate during the con, the book seems to have nothing related to her bubbly personality however I must say I quite enjoyed it (and I read it all in about 15 minutes). The book is aimed at older teens and adults and I believe that a paperback version will soon be available as well.

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