How 'Deep Dark Fears' Made Me a Little Less Scaredby by Thea Voutiritsas
Strange, hilarious, and sometimes even gruesome, illustrator Fran Krause's Deep Dark Fears transforms readers' innermost fears into comic strips. From playing Bloody Mary in the mirror to contemplating one's own funeral, Deep Dark Fears has been exposing our insides since 2014, and sometimes, it gets pretty ... dark. Bravely, Deep Dark Fears brings to light the intimate fears we all tend to hide — and helps us laugh at them instead.
It's no secret that kids tend to have a pretty vivid imagination, but some images are hard to leave behind. Sure, adults might tell little white lies to get kids to behave, but this belly button conspiracy scarred me for life. My mother really told me that if I untied the knot in my belly button, my insides would come out (she left out the laundry basket part). Even today, I can't go near my belly button without having a brief but terrifying picture of it unraveling. Of course, adult me never mentioned this fear to anyone. I mean, why would I? But when I saw this strip, I couldn't help but laugh out loud— despite the gruesome illustration.
Why do high schoolers have so many parties? Being a teenager is hard enough as it is. Your body is changing, your hormones are raging, and you're more self-aware then you've ever been before. While going through those awkward stages, it was easy to imagine that everyone was making fun of me (even though they weren't). One of the most anxiety-inducing activities for me was going to parties — not that that's changed much. If I showed up too early, would I look over-eager? If I showed up too late, would the host be mad? What if no one comes at all? This comic was a good reminder that everyone wants to be liked, even the cool kids.
One of my favorite things about Deep Dark Fears is that it helped me laugh about things I wouldn't normally find funny, like what to do with my life. In the past, I've felt like everyone around me had a plan and I was being left behind. Sure, careers are serious business, but it's easy to forget that no one actually knows what they're doing. Being an adult means just pretending to know what you're doing. Then, you figure it out along the way. Also, try not to think about the fact that you don't know what you're doing. It'll make you panic.
While Deep Dark Fears does a good job making light of the serious things, it also makes fun of the seriously silly things that cross our mind. Absurd as they may be, we all have those thoughts like, "Maybe Santa is deflate-able," or "What if I trip on the open dishwasher door and stab my eye on a fork?" Besides placing my forks prong-side-down in the dishwasher, these fears really have no impact on my day-to-day life ... as far as I know. It can be embarrassing to admit that sometimes we're irrational, unreasonable, and even illogical in the face of everyday fears.
In the end, though, Deep Dark Fears wouldn't be the sensation it is without taking on the most difficult subject of all: death. Rather than shying away from submissions that deal with death and the afterlife, Krause turns them into endearing, relatable comic strips. No matter what the subject matter is, these comics remind us that, yes, life is scary, but everyone else is just as afraid as you are. Ultimately, I think Deep Dark Fears is comforting because it highlights our humanity. It points out the idiosyncrasies (and similarities) that make us, us.