The Stars are Back is a full colour 14cm x 18cm comic about the impact of toxic relationships and how life-changing it can be to develop a healthy relationship with yourself as well as with another person.
There is a trigger warning for a suicide mention in this zine.
Oh my goodness, this zine got me right in the centre of my heart and stayed there the whole way through.
The Stars are back starts in a dark place with one of the hardest ordeals a friend can deal with. From there, the author writes about bad relationships and friendships in their life that were toxic for various reasons. But there is light to be found in the darkness and reasons that the stars come back to light the universe. This isn’t a story that ends up in a neat little happily ever after bow, but rather a story of real life that ends with the unknown future looking positive.
“But one day, I tried to stop lighting myself on fire to keep them warm.”
There are so many different things that I like about this zine, but this quote really stuck out to me. As someone who deals with PTSD and still has nightmares thanks to other humans, this zine spoke to me so much. Also, as someone who only recently found someone who makes their heart shine in that special way, it resonated. I think a lot of people will identify with this zine on a number of levels. Bad relationships are something many have struggled with, and I can only wish that everyone will find someone who makes their stars shine brightly again. This comic zine definitely give that hope.
I can’t write a full review without mentioning the quality of this zine. It’s lovely! From the cardstock cover to thicker inner pages to the to-the-edge colour printing, it’s simply a beautiful comic. Bern’s art style is colourful and intense with so much visual interest. Yes, there are dark elements, but the art style itself and later panels show an artist with such a fun and bubbly personality underneath all the bad things that have happened.
All up, I think this is a wonderful zine. If you don’t mind what’s noted in the trigger warning, this is definitely one to check out.