To put it bluntly, 2020 was rather shit. Lockdowns, job insecurity, political insanity, public apathy and animosity, disease, death… Not exactly sunshine and rainbows. It was hard to smile at times, but one thing that made the pandemic easier to survive was Rachael Smith’s daily Quarantine Comix.

Originally shared over social media, now they are getting a physical release from Icon Books. The UK release will be 13 May 2021 with a US release June 22nd. You will be able to find it from all good online and offline retailers – including, and Waterstones in the UK.

Quarantine Comix cover

Breaking the news, Smith wrote, “Friends, I am absolutely delighted to announce that ‘Quarantine Comix: A Memoir of Life in Lockdown‘ will be published by Icon Books.”

She continues, “I’m just so excited to be working with the team at Icon to make this book a reality. Thank you all for being a part of this.”

Ellen Conlon, the book’s editor, told The Beat,

“…as soon as I saw it I was hooked. The comics are just so instantly relatable and I was really able to identify with the experience Rachael was sharing.”

©Rachael Smith "Quarantine Comix" 2020

“Quarantine Comix fits into our catalogue really nicely,” Conlon adds. “Our publishing house was founded on the Graphic Guide series, so we’re no strangers to graphic novels, but over more recent years we have broadened our focus, and like to think of ourselves as really solid publishers of a range of genres, including memoir and current affairs.

“Rachael’s book is just the perfect blend of all of this, depicting an experience which is at once so personal and so universal, and just beautifully drawn.”

Beginning 23 March 2020, Smith would post daily autobio comics of the UK lockdown on her Facebook, Twitter (under #QuarantineComix), and Instagram pages.

As the UK yo-yoed in and out of COVID lockdown restrictions, Smith would post to make us smile with her achingly honest thoughts, feelings, and anecdotes to remind us that we are not alone.  The comics are still going, albeit not as frequently as they were during the first lockdown (UK is still in lockdown number three).

The Beat gave it a nod as one of our 50 Best of 2020. Our own Philippe Leblanc said, “There’s a universality to this work that struck a chord with the pulse of society in this depressing year.”