Big Scoop of Ice Cream

By Conxita Herrero Delfa: translated by Jeff Whitman (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-294-6 (PB) eISBN: 978-1-68112-295-3

Comics are a nigh-universal, extremely powerful medium that lends itself to a host of topics and genres, but the area where it has always shined brightest is in its chimeric capacity for embracing autobiographical self-expression. Whether through fictionalised narratives or scrupulously candid revelation, imaginative forays into self-realisation and self-expression frequently inevitably forge the most impressive and moving connections between reader and author.

Conxita Herrero Delfa’s vibrant collection Gran bola de helado was originally released in 2016, containing lifestyle short stories crafted before COVID changed the world. She is Barcelona born – in 1993 – and studied Fine Arts, but found another outlet for her artistic and raconteurial tendencies by publishing fanzines exploring aspects of free discourse, tireless observation and personal introspection. If you’re open-minded and well-travelled, you may have seen her follow-up work in various magazines and collective books. She’s also a singer, so look out for the album Abducida por forma una pareja by Tronco, if you’re so inclined…

Big Scoop of Ice Cream sees Conxita explore in compelling detail her metamorphic life via comic strips, with what appears to be relentless honesty and inspired veracity. Gathered here is a broad menu of experiences true, slightly true, made up, tedious, meta-real and maybe even a bit untrue, made in response to an ineffectual youth becoming – in fits and starts – a grown up. Everyday tasks, major achievements, personal breakthrough and moments without merit jostle beside strange days and minor miracles in ‘Resolutions’, after which we survive spectral invasion ‘Ghosts’ and learn what “adulting” means in ‘The Bathroom’.

The significance of playing alone shapes ‘Talking’, and perhaps a hint of potential romance looms in ‘The Couch Cushion’, before ‘The Arrival of Spring’ induces travel and causes a mini crisis. Sex happens in dusky pink monotones while ‘Relating’ before solitude returns, sparking thoughts of ‘The South of California’ and triggering ominous internet hook ups in ‘Enter’

Acquiring an item of furniture attains the status of ‘The Metaphor’ for her and her friends whilst a beach break with Ricardo in ‘Alghero’ turns into a partial break with reality before ‘The Castles’ sees perspective restored – and endangered – by an over-sharing drinking buddy and other travelling companions…

A temporary liaison doesn’t pan out, but that’s okay because of what Conxita carries in ‘The Pocket’, and there are always marvels in abundance when ‘Looking Up’ or finding someone who will play ‘The Game’

Visually experimental, the eponymous ‘Big Scoop of Ice Cream’ contrasts flavours and relationships without reaching any useful conclusions but segues neatly into a strange encounter in a bar with ‘The Reject’ before the ruminations conclude with confirmation that ‘People are Only Human’

Boasting quotes from Marcel Proust, José Sainz, and Conxita herself, this whimsical confection is uplifting but never self-deluding, wryly inviting and features a breakout performance by pet cat Julia and a recurring box of toffee apples.

These 17 slices of Latin soul are delivered with verve and gusto in a minimalist cartooning style afforded surprising depth by swathes of flat colour: stylishly masking earnest inquiry and heavy introspection with charm, wit and carefully ingenuous nonsense. Big Scoop of Ice Cream is a book to delight and enthral and get in your head, and should be there with you wherever or however you holiday and forever after when you get back to mundane reality.
© 2016 Conxita Herrero Delfa and apa apa comics. © 2022 NBM for the English translation. All rights reserved.

Big Scoop of Ice Cream is scheduled for UK release July 14th 2022 and is available for pre-order now. For more information and other great reads see Most NBM books are also available in digital formats.