I’m continuing with my exploration of great graphic novels and picture books. This week, I’d like to spotlight Snug: A Collection of Comics About Dating Your Best Friend by Catata Chetwynd. Chetwynd is the creator of Catana Comics, which are based on her relationship with longtime boyfriend now fiancé, John Freed. She has a sizeable following on Instagram at about 3.1 million followers as I write this review.
Snug is her second book and was released in February 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing. The book runs well over 100 pages and about half of the drawings are new. Each page is a tight and amusing vignette told within three to six comic book frames. You don’t necessarily have to read the Snug comics in order because the adventures are self-contained snippets about their life together. While Catana and John are in their mid-twenties, I didn’t see anything that indicated that the comics were geared toward a particular subset of adults.
The drawings are done in grayscale. Other colors like red and yellow are used sparingly. Red makes an occasional appearance in a touching way, as when John is staying elsewhere and sends a text to Catana. We don’t get the words of the text, but a simple heart emerging from her cell phone screen is enough to convey the meaning.
Most of the comics contain dialogue or captions that are hilarious in the build-up of the scene, depicting a wide range of quirky and fun things that can happen in a great relationship. There are a couple that I expected to see, like ordering your usual on a date at the restaurant and someone invariably stealing the covers while asleep. Those are always fun, but I was often startled and really amused by the other plot points. For example, John finds a note on the fridge from his love that says, “I ate your leftovers. Sorry.”
Wait in anticipation for John to have his day, such as when he says he’ll find a use for the paper Catana was going to throw out. He uses it to throw paper airplanes at her. The rivalry continues as both keep adjusting the thermostat throughout the day, setting up a fun moment as they get to the thermostat at the same time. However, their interests are not always diametrically opposed, such as the time that they buy a large cookie mix and relish the challenge of eating the baked cookies in one sitting.
If you have a significant other, you probably want to read the book together and say, “That’s like us!” when there’s a comic you can relate to. If you are a singleton like me and still searching for the one, it’s a lovely book to read and share with your singleton friends. You might find yourself thinking, “Oh, I should totally do that prank” when you do embark on a relationship with a special someone.
That being said, it’s not all about pranks or surprising your significant other in Snug. There are instances when one character is having a bad day with work or the world, and the other steps in to lift that partner up and support them. These are all healthy behaviors in a relationship that we should all strive towards. There are also plenty of quiet moments of just being together while dating a best friend and enjoying a warm hug from that person: in other words, feeling snug and safe.
So when we are under unique stresses during this pandemic or any other complicated world event in the future, the book serves as a reminder of the strong friendships and relationships we have. Find those quiet and meaningful moments and hold onto them.
For a sample of what you’ll find in Snug, here’s a trailer below for the book. If you would like to see more of Catana Comics, there’s a new book coming out in February 2021 that you can already pre-order. It’s called In Love and Pajamas.