RUFUS MARIGOLD by ROSS MURRAY

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RUFUS MARIGOLD by ROSS MURRAY

Those of us who have not suffered from anxiety cannot truly know how paralysing it can be. And the notion of “anxiety attacks” is something of a misnomer, the anxiety is always there for many people.

Tauranga-based writer and artist Ross Murray – whose beautiful hard-edge but warm style Elsewhere has has showcased in the past – suffers from anxiety (not as much as he once did, he says) and is courageous enough to admit that this episodic, graphic collection is “essentially the way I saw myself throughout a certain stage in my life”.

The titular character is a fearful primate Rufus who is an office worker (and artist) who struggles to speak when colleagues talk to him, stays awake at night crippled by anxiety about what might happen the next day, drinks to excess to hide his inadequacies then embarrasses himself, and weeps alone after a phone call from his concerned and caring mother.

Rufus_On_FireHis inability to act in some situations only feeds his fears.

Initially presented on-line but here slightly expanded and updated, Rufus Marigold now appears as a beautifully presented paperback where the images as much as the words convey Rufus' social anxiety with sensitivity but also wit.

This is a quiet graphic novel -– commenting cleverly on being an anxious graphic artist creating work on-line which is picked up by a publisher –  which Murray hopes will make those who have social anxiety feel less alone.

Mission accomplished I would think.

A gentle, truthful book of simple, clean design and elegant art.

Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray is available now through Earth's End Publishing $34.99.

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