This month on The Spinoff’s Comic of the Month we meet Rufus, a chimp with anxiety issues.
If New Zealand treated the arts like we celebrate our athletes, Tauranga’s Ross Murray would be a household name. Over the last couple of years Ross’s clean steady line and masterful control of colour and composition have lead to him creating beautiful illustrations for global companies like Disney, Marvel and Lonely Planet as well as memorable cover illustrations for North & South magazine closer to home. He’s also a comic artist, creating more personal work like Rufus Marigold, a graphic novel exploring his own relationship with anxiety. Today we present an excerpt from that book.
Ross explains: “I used to suffer from social anxiety in a big way and the story of Rufus is an attempt to share what that felt like. To have social anxiety is to feel somewhat poorly evolved. Some amount of anxiety is a crucial part of being human, but having too much can feel utterly debilitating and often completely ridiculous so I really tried to reflect that.
Rufus Marigold is definitely not a constructive piece of work. A lot of the culture surrounding mental health seems condescendingly positive to me. Ultimately, I think that can serve to trivialise what a lot of people are going through. But hopefully something that is honest and offers some kind of insight has the capacity to at least build empathy.
Suffering anxiety can feel truly absurd and it can reach a point where there’s nothing left to do but laugh. Rufus and his miserable adventures are me doing exactly that.”