750cc Down Lincoln Highway
In this lo-fi graphic memoir by Chambaz, drawn by Barroux (Alpha: Abidjan to Paris
), the classically blasé Frenchman arrives in New York to run the marathon only to discover two problems. First: “I hate running.” Second: “My girlfriend has just dumped me.” So he does what any jilted guy with a lot of energy and no easy outlet for it would do: rent a Shadow 750 motorcycle and hit the road. Following the Lincoln Highway across the country, Chambaz has no real escapades, but dispenses some new-millennium-lite Alexis de Tocqueville observations along the way (“Americans love rankings”) and undertakes rather sad one-night stands. The trip is related tersely, with some intermittent navel gazing, though hinting at a deeper darkness and desperation pushing him down the highway. More often, the writing allows the strung-together scenes to exist on their own, such as when he sees people lined up for a free dentist as an illustration of the nation’s poverty or when he flips a coin in Reno to decide which way to go. The splotchy, black-and-white art is vague on facial expressions, but sometimes quite effectively renders the scope and wonder and weirdness of the American landscape. Like a Gallic Jim Jarmusch road movie (though shorter), this slim motorcycle diary has its moments, but it zooms by too quickly to leave a lasting impression. (Jan.)
This review has been updated.