Face Fatigue by Tia Roxae is a short, sweet and creepy kind of story. The comic opens with the 21st birthday of the protagonist. She is a young woman who feels as though her “youth is slipping away,” and spends her time on online forums venting these frustrations with others. After taking into a mirror, she notices little spots showing up in her eyes. At first it look just like any sporadic acne, but it starts to grow and grow, and everyone around her shrugs it off as something normal. These spots grow worse and worse until finally, the protagonist isn’t the cute and pastel woman we met in the first few pages.
A short comic, the art and storyline of Face Fatigue do wonders on the emotions of the reader. With the cute pastel colors juxtaposed with images of blood, knives, and a specific scene where the protagonist gets catcalled, Tia Roxae’s art reminds me a lot of the cute horror aesthetic we see in a lot of Japanese manga and anime. Although we don’t get to know much about the protagonist’s age or interests, the comic is very much a weird and fantastic type of coming of age story.
Face Fatigue takes our fears of growing up and expands them in the metaphoric physical change that protagonist experiences. In my interpretation, all of the ugliness about the world and fear of becoming an adult is just spreading onto the young woman’s face. The plot of the comic flows seamlessly along with the art, and the drawings the artist left on the last page of the comic were also very enjoyable. There is something so interesting about the cute horror genre, and Tia Roxae nailed it not only with their pastel cotton candy yet creepy, bloody, bubbly imagery, but also with a character and scenario that is a very great encapsulation of what the entire cute horror genre is about.