cover image Bubbles & Gondola

Bubbles & Gondola

Renaud Dillies. NBM/ComicsLit, $16.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-56163-611-2

A certain magic is demonstrated when an artist, unfettered by perceptions of comics being for kids, uses the full paint box of tools available to him. Few American artists, tainted by memories of Mickey or Maus, would cast a mouse as their hero these days, but for Dillies’s protagonist, the lonely Charlie, it’s a marvelous choice for his personality and journey. Author Charlie deludes himself that he’s loving his solitude as a way of ignoring his writer’s block. The town where he lives, preparing for Carnival, is full of wonders, but Charlie focuses on his pain, even when given the chance to escape through riding a Ferris wheel. Then his gondola flies him to a wonderland reminiscent of the classic strips Little Nemo in Slumberland and Krazy Kat in a palette of reds and browns. Through encounters with his family and other city inhabitants, Charlie rediscovers imagination in a story that has the crazy patchwork feel of a hallucinatory trip. Dillies’s gorgeous art is more than up to the task. The wild imagery, wandering through parties and dreamland alike, transports the reader in an emotional way that propels the practical mind into the escape of art. (Oct.)