Review by Frank Plowright
Diana Bennett produces comics calling herself Shazzbaa, and began Today Nothing Happened when assigned to keep a journal in comic form for a month. Those entries start this small paperback book, and as she was doing the work anyway, Shazzbaa decided to publish her strips as a webcomic. It ran for four years at Shazzbaa.com, and if you’d prefer to sample, it’s still available as of 2018.
When first handed the assignment Shazzbaa is confident that she can find something of note to record in her journal every day. Given the title, it’s difficult to avoid the easy option setting up the mean-spirited reviewer, but as Shazzbaa discovers, real incident is almost entirely absent from everyday life. Occasionally life takes a dump on you, and occasionally it compensates via a day of chocolate ice cream with honey sprinkles, but it’s generally pretty routine, and there’s not enough wit or insight to raise such ordinary occurrences into anything transcending the circumstances. Five strips considered at random involve her grandmother’s dog crapping in the house, queuing for the new iPhone on day of release, Shazzbaa heading out for the geek dance, a new fridge being a tight fit in the kitchen and a free shake earned by a friend’s ability to solve Rubik’s Cube in three minutes. It’s only the last strip that has any structure or surprise to it. The remainder are like wandering into the room, hearing part of a conversation and wandering out again, which sums up so much of the book.
The one element that does have some resonance is the cartooning. There’s visible progress over the first few faltering efforts, and then Shazzbaa settles into a well defined and personality-driven style that serves the purposes well. These look like appealingly dashed off diary entries.
Some people must have liked this collection, however, as two more followed, beginning with Cat-Astrophe! 2009-2010.