tisdag 13 september 2011

Lewis Trondheim: Little Nothings Vol. 4. My Shadow in the Distance.

Lewis Trondheim is one of the modern biggies in French comics, and justly so. Not only is he very productive, he also maintains a high quality on his output. He may be best known for his Dungeon series, but he has done so much more, in a variety of genres (indeed, even the Dungeon series may perhaps be said to contain several different genres). The Little Nothings (Les petits riens) series collects his autobiographical, comics-format blog posts in a 126-page books.

The theme for this book – a theme is discernible – is Trondheim's travels to various comics events all over the world and his parallel problems with polyps and the nasal and even eye complications they cause, eventually leading to an operation. Trondheim tells about his various worries (especially in connection with his health problem and the unpleasant operation) and reactions to the vicissitudes of life and travel, and also references the somewhat odd discussions he has with colleagues on the science of zombies – like how could zombies survive if they went for cows instead of people and how Peyo's The Black Smurfs was in fact the first "living dead" story.

These one-page little vignettes are drawn in a simple, clear style that gets the point across in an effective manner, and beautifully painted in watercolors. They range from personal semi-philosophical observations to semi-sarcastic comments on everyday occurrences and set-backs. A lot of it concerns Trondheims own little neurotic tendencies; my favorite is probably his running gag about how he while packing for each voyage feels that he's getting to be a rather experienced, savvy traveller, and how he then invariably fails to pack something he needs to bring with him. (Yes, I do in fact at times get some almost Peanuts-ish vibes from this book, why do you ask?)

In fact, I love this – it's simple and clear (due to a combination of the ordinary-life subject matter and the clear line drawing style) and beautiful while not lacking depth (those lovely watercolors… plus some of Trondheim's observations are quite good). It's also at times quite charming, and a joy to read. Warmly recommended.

Get a peek at the contents via Amazon.

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