Notables 2010: Travis Dandro’s Journal

Travis Dandro, Journal, 2009

I’m going to have a hard time describing Journal properly because, first of all, it’s a very had-to-describe work (Dandro said, “Half of the book documents my exploration of an area in Maine called Ryders Bluff while the other half is more of an exploration of the psyche”), and secondly, the book itself never came back to us from Neil Gaiman. I have no direct evidence of this, but I’d like to think that’s because he enjoyed it so much!

There’s an epic quality to the journey through Ryders Bluff (and Dandro’s psyche) that recalls Dante’s journey into the inferno, if not quite so dire. The art is beautiful, and done justice by a very large format. It took me a while to get find my footing, reading the very lovely outdoor scenes of snowy Maine, interspersed with the surreal and opaque actions of an underpants-clad man, but eventually I got into the flow of it and the internal logic took hold.

The Journal link, above, is not for the book itself, but for a blog where Dandro has been posting his regular strip, as well as pages from his Journal project. You can buy Journal, now reduced a bit in size and cut into two parts to make it more affordable, via Dandro’s website.

Age: adult, mostly because it takes a certain level of attention and close reading to get a lot out of it. Certainly more sophisticated teens might like it as well.

What is this Notable thing? Read the intro to the Best American Comics Notables of 2010 here.


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