Carnet de Voyage

Craig Thompson, Author . Top Shelf $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-891830-60-0

"They say 'Wherever you go, there you are....' I thought with Morocco, I'd be setting out on some exotic adventure, but it turns out I'm just a simple, quiet fellow." So writes Thompson in this travel sketchbook chronicling two months of wandering through Africa and Europe, sometimes as tourist, sometimes as a famous cartoonist on tour. Rather than a narrative follow-up to the award-winning Blankets , this diary reveals both Thompson's creative strengths and weaknesses. Although more or less spontaneous, the book still shapes the material into something of a narrative, the continuing themes being Thompson's self-conscious love of beauty, his sense of isolation and the gradual physical deterioration of his hands due to arthritis and over-drawing. Thompson is honest enough to confront his own self-absorption (he makes constant references to his own whininess), but this recognition reveals that Blankets ' naïveté is more studied than it first appears. Many of the elements that made Blankets so successful are here, not least among them Thompson's incredible, lush line-work and telling detail. Every person he meets is captured with a keen eye and a lively brush, and entries such as one recounting his fascination with Gaudí's architecture in Barcelona, or a day spent with fellow cartoonist Blutch discussing artistic muses, are both thought provoking and touching. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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