A Few Perfect Hours
National Geographic Traveler (October 2005, p. 17)
[BookMark] Comic Books On the Move
Comic book heroes aren’t just superhumans and talking rabbits. They can be a backpacker battling stomach flu in Nepal or a Marrakesh tourist leaping over language barriers in a single bound, as the growing number of travel comics show.
Take Josh Neufeld’s A Few Perfect Hours (2004, self-published), depicting his travels through Southeast Asia, including a harrowing cave expedition in Thailand and a surreal gig as an extra in a Singaporean soap opera. “These are stories the authors felt the need to tell,” says Johanna Draper Carlson, editor of comicsworthreading.com. “That’s why they tend to be so honest and authentic.”
Heather Roberson, who is teaming up with Harvey Pekar (whose life and work were the subject of the 2003 movie American Splendor) to create Macedonia (2006, Random House), notes that “one of the great things about the comics format is that text can be overlaid with maps and scenery, allowing readers to step right into the adventure.”
Peter Kuper’s Comics Trips (1992, Tundra), set in Africa and Asia, was one of the first travel comics to be published, but Craig Thompson’s recent Carnet de Voyage (2004, Top Shelf), a lushly drawn journal of the author’s tour through Europe and Morocco, may be the first to attract mainstream attention beyond graphic novel fans.
Like many of the genre, Shannon Brady’s Misadventures from the Diaries of Marco Solo (self-published) deals in adult themes as it follows a flame-haired hero and his sidekick chameleon Cham through Nepal. More kid-friendly is the comic strip 3 Knights in India, by John Steventon (www.happyglyphs.com/31nights.html), about a New Jersey family’s trip to Bangalore. The Rivers of the Mandala (2004, Thames & Hudson), by Simon Allix and Benoit de Vilmorin, points to the next-generation graphic travel book. Its pages depict two brothers’ journey through Tibet, in a rich collage of illustrations, photos, text, and scrapbook items like ticket stubs and stamps.