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Sunny Side Down: A Collection of Tales of Mere Existence
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Sunny Side Down: A Collection of Tales of Mere Existence

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  269 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Lev is just like any other young, urban sub-professional who sees the world through inch-thick goggles of self-consciousness. Armed only with insecurity, doubt, and a seemingly inadvisable tenacity, Lev trudges through his days furiously analyzing himself and the world around him, desperately trying to figure out where he fits in.

If you have ever felt like a perpetual sq
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Gallery Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 19, 2009 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is utterly fun and an up-beat, with a side of depressing, read. I loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt that they have no idea what they're doing in life.
Lani M
Dec 31, 2013 Lani M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book coincidentally in my friend's house since I'm gonna spend NYE 2013 with bunch of friends here. This book is started with, "For the loners, the misanthropes, and the perpetually alienated", it punched me hard in my heart when I read it, because I'm one of them; the loner, that is.

Reading the book made me smile, giggle, even laugh out loud, not the kind of laugh at happiness, but bitterness. Apparently, we need it. To laugh at bitterness. Now, don't you forget about this capabili
The personal, idiosyncratic parts of the book are sad, funny and quite touching. The more generic pieces felt like unsophisticated MAD cartoons. I love Lev's narrated drawings on YouTube, so I mostly bought the book to help support him. He is right to say the end of the book isn't as coherent as the beginning. Still, the drawings are charming and the book does successfully reach out to fellow lonely people.
Maya Rock
Feb 15, 2009 Maya Rock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maya by: Cara
This book made me SMILE SMILE SMILE. Like hanging out with a really funny friend. But because it's just a book you don't feel overwhelmed and a little resentful that your really funny friend is dominating the conversation,
Jul 19, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a fun little look at life. Some of his caveats are laugh out loud funny. I'm not generally a graphic novel fan-- but his sense of humor and is his keen eye for irony appeal to me.

I picked this up at book store clearance event.
Feb 19, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Lev's "Tales of Mere Existence" videos on youtube fairly recently and fell in love with them, and so when I saw my library system had this book available for request I grabbed it as soon as I could. The book is a great little collection of comics, and I found them both hilarious and depressing...but only depressing because I feel like his writing comes right out of my own head sometimes. I identify so much with a lot of his insecurities, social shortcomings/awkwardness, anxieties and fea ...more
[*3.5] I have been following Lev Yilmaz's hand-drawn animation "Tales of Mere Existence" on YouTube for a few years now, always being amused by Yilmaz's blend of self-depreciation and quirky humor; having seen many of these pieces narrated by Yilmaz himself definitely helped, and I imagined his tone of voice as I read this comic collection. It is refreshing to see the everyday disappointments, anxieties, and naval-gazing of daily personal existence that we all can identify with expressed with su ...more
Like many indie comics writers, Lev Yilmaz is depressed and sad, and his comics are about that. That said, I didn't find much else to grab onto in this collection. The art isn't provocative, the depression isn't all that inspiring or interesting, and the tales are relatively limited in scope. I feel like Yilmaz's work falls somewhere in tone between Charles Schultz, Chris Ware, and Ivan Brunetti. But Ware brings poignancy and artistic prowess, Schultz brings ennui and biting social commentary, a ...more
Sunny Side Down collects moments from Yilmaz's childhood to adult years, all filled with disappointment, misunderstanding and false bravado. I could relate to a lot of the moments, the ways we try to 'grow up' (changing our hairstyles or clothing), or fool ourselves into believing that eventually all will be revealed, something will click and suddenly we'll be different. I felt that the comics that looked more inward were more entertaining (and revealing) than the ones that seemed to be more soc ...more
Nov 23, 2009 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic
Sunny Side Down is more a collection of comics than a narrative memoir, but Lev's observations about growing up and relationships are staggeringly accurate, precise, and personal. I actually wondered, reading this, if I had dated Lev. Flipped back, looked at his photo, was pretty sure I hadn't.. but really, is it possible that we've all had the gas station argument?

The drawing is simple, at times the observations are trite, but it's a relief to finally read something by someone as optimistic as
Jan 01, 2016 Simone rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remember I used to watch and mostly enjoy this guy's youtube videos, and this wasn't all that different from those videos, so I guess my tastes have changed. There were some comics in this collection that I like well enough, there were some that were just 'meh', and then there were a bunch that I left a bad taste in my mouth. The world-view that's expressed is so incredibly negative, but in a way that seems to celebrate thinking everything is crap and looking down on everyone else as well as y ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found Lev through his animated shorts on YouTube. I loved them, so I ordered the book. I have to say, this book is a lot darker. It focuses a lot more on his depression, how he's not getting anywhere in life, he's a pessimist and he can't find the right girl. In his YouTube videos, there's more about all the things that everyone's thinking about, but no one talks about. Also, a lot of the cartoons in the book are the same as the YouTube videos. Over all, I would recommend just sticking with th ...more
Apr 09, 2009 Christiane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Thank god I read this in the spring with the sun shining; do not try this during one of our forever grey winters, when everything seems hopeless. Of course, nothing could possibly be as bad as Lev's life. Luckily, amidst the utter despair, is loads of humor and uncomfortable "I've thought that exact same thing!" moments (hopefully it's not just me...) And whatever you do, don't read "I'm not going to think about her" after you've just broken up with someone (or they've dumped you. Poor Lev!) :(
Sep 14, 2009 dara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "pessimists" aka people who realize the way things are
There's something charming about these simple drawings. If I give this book too much thought, I may get depressed because I can relate to it too well. Maybe if this were available to me at a younger age, I would have been more prepared for the disappointments of life. Actually, the word "prepared" implies that the book offers some countermeasure to disappointment; it doesn't. I just mean that children should read this so they know what to expect from life: failure and loneliness. :D
Jul 12, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, dark, graphic, favorites
This is a fantastic comic book of stories from the creator of Tales of Mere Existence. They're very tongue in cheek and representative of how many people probably feel already. It's down to earth and sometimes a little dark and always pessimistic.

It won't take long for you to read this cover to cover, but it's definitely worth reading through every now and again.
May 12, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FANTASTIC. This may as well be the my life - past, present, and future - all compiled collectively (and vicariously) into the miniature musings of Lev Yilmaz. Yilmaz's deadpan, self-depricating humour speaks to anyone who has felt out of place or as a loner at some point in their life. It's funny, and almost a little too honest at times, with excellent and unique art style. Definitely a gem.
Alan Hoffman
I'd consider giving this someone who felt depressed or had a bad breakup. Yilmaz is able to express his periodic feelings of futility while providing some laughs.

A little like Matt Groening's Life in Hell collections, though shorter and more personal.
Sep 09, 2014 Randi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of good comics from the web series from the author, but I found some new ones too. Read it with a grain of salt and try to keep in mind that life isn't all as bad as he makes it seems. A fun read but maybe a bit of a downer for those optimistic at heart.
Amy Wheatley
More on the mid to late twenty-something end of "young adult", this collection of comics begins with a contemplation of the meaning of life and ends with an understanding of why the author can't keep a girlfriend. Funny in parts.
Naz Chowdhury
this is piss
piss with ink
lev man
man lev

I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I just feel like I was pissed on with each word. And I feel like Lev would understand what I mean when I say his book was piss, piss with ink.
Sep 07, 2009 Constantino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great illustrations of what amount to be awkward social interactions, something many people (including me) can identify with.
Aug 15, 2009 Bess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that I've been really bored with navel-gazing "I was so weird in middle/high school" graphic novels lately.

But this I loved.
Apr 25, 2009 doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, graphic-novel
Enjoyable, apt and fantastic, Lev Yilmaz is able to find the best way to comment on relationships and life through his comics and illustrations.
Nov 28, 2015 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this quite a bit. Yilmaz writes the way many adolescents dream of writing except he does it well. There is a lot of resonance an truth in the sketches in this collection.
Cecily Robertson
Still funny, just not as selective as all the YouTube videos were. Almost everything I've watched by Lev has made me laugh or sigh. These strips were just a little hit and miss for me.
the only thing I accomplished today was to read this book between naps. A very useful day - this memoir of mere existence speaks to life on so many levels.
Jan 22, 2011 Joelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I liked it. Yilmaz has a really cynical take on existentialism, which I enjoyed. But at some point, it felt too much of an American lifestyle to relate to.
Aug 03, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The YouTube videos are hilarious, but seeing them in book-form somehow makes them incredibly depressing.
Kate rated it it was ok
Jan 05, 2014
KareBare rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2012
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Levni Yilmaz is a San Francisco based independent film maker, artist and publisher, best known for his “Tales of Mere Existence” animated comic series.

Each video in the "Tales of Mere Existence" series shows a series of static cartoons, which appear gradually as if being drawn by an invisible hand. Yilmaz' technique is inspired by the movie “The Mystery Of Picasso” (1956), which similarly shows Pi
More about Levni Yilmaz...

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