Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mini-Kus! Wednesday: Alice Socal's Junior

Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, I'll be taking a look at a recent issue of the excellent Latvian anthology series mini-Kus! This week's entry is mini-Kus! #75: Junior, by Alice Socal. This is a witty comic about an anthropomorphic cat and dog couple. She's pregnant, and he's taking care of her by reading to her and otherwise pampering her. She invites him to feel her belly because the baby's moving, but he can't quite feel it. 

This launches an extended reverie where he fantasizes about being pregnant. That reverie includes him thinking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Junior, wherein Arnold somehow gets pregnant. Then it flips into fantasizing about meeting a pregnant version of himself in the "Jungle Animals" book he was reading. Slipping a pillow under his shirt, there's a sweet and funny scene where he's talking to his "baby" and making cat and giraffe figures out of clay. 

When his partner emerges, seeing him on the floor clutching the pillow, she simply offers him breakfast and suggests they eat it together. This comic is so funny because it's inspired by a level of jealousy over an experience he just can't have. It's also amusing because it's an attempt to center the experience of the pregnancy around himself. The bug-eyed features of the dog-man lend itself to his over-the-top emotional state. That's in stark contrast to her cooler nature, and her being a cat is a nice visual shorthand for this. It brings up the question of if men could get pregnant, how would that change society's view of the experience. If the patriarchy was still dominant in such a scenario, it's easy to imagine prioritizing and supporting childbirth financially and culturally in a way that's not allowed for women. Socal gently points this out while also even being somewhat sympathetic to the fact that most men (assigned male at birth, though not trans men) cannot give birth, though she can't help teasing the dog character a bit.

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