In middle school, Kate Isaacs, a fifth-year in English, and her friends would pass around notebooks. They would draw themselves facing various adventures and challenges — one being a villainous pop tart.
The unpleasant pastry now has its own comic titled, “Melancholy Evil Poptart,” on sale and display at Kafe Kerouac under Isaac’s pen name Kate E Lore.
“I decided to bring him back, but we’re grown up now and don’t need him so he’s depressed and alcoholic and searching for a meaning in life,” Isaacs said.
Isaacs was a Fine Art major at Sinclair Community College before transferring to Ohio State. She said the comic is a way to bridge both worlds — the artistic and the literary.
“I wanted (the comic) to be short and strip-based because I was sick of things that took forever. But it ended up taking me three years and being 40 pages,” Isaacs said.
She said she didn’t always work consistently on the “dark comedy” comic, sometimes not touching the piece for weeks. Subject matter would depend on how she was feeling and what she was going through in life.
“It reflected my life at the time … Some (strips) are preachy and some are stupid and some are for humor … If I was having a really bad week, there’s some depressing ones — especially towards the end it got pretty sad,” Isaacs said.
The introduction, written by Isaacs, touches on some of the challenges — such as close deaths in the family — she faced growing up and how she used silence, books and comic books to cope.
At the end of the comic, there are scanned-in copies of the drawings she and her friends made of the pop tart in middle school. Isaacs said that her friends aren’t associated with the project anymore as some of the subject manner — religious questioning and references to marijuana — are not what they would approve of.
“I like that pop tarts seem to represent something innocent in a pastry and he’s a cherry pop tart so he’s pink so all aesthetics he should be a nice pastry. But he’s really a bitter alcoholic,” Isaacs said.
“It’s kind of like as you get older things get more serious and you realize what life really is.”
Panels of the comic are on display and copies are available for $5 at Kafe Kerouac. The comic can also be accessed on Isaac’s website katelore.com