Morton: A Cross-Country Rail Journey

David Collier. Conundrum (Consortium, dist.), $20 (160p) ISBN 978-1-77262-012-2
Most readers outside of Canada, where Collier is considered a national treasure, will not be terribly familiar with his work, but that won’t stop them from enjoying this unexpectedly engrossing and almost off-handedly poignant graphic memoir. The story starts at a clanging intersection of tensions, including agitation over relations with Collier’s publisher (Drawn & Quarterly) and the death of his grandmother. Attempting to smooth things out and reconnect with his past (his Nana loved trains, as did his younger self), he takes his wife and son on a long, looping, ad hoc railroad odyssey across Canada. As they ride the rails through Quebec and Ontario, into northern Manitoba and far west, Collier is a chaotic planner yet a stingy taskmaster—hotels are spurned in favor of crashing with friends at the last minute or camping rough; even his son’s request for a $1.50 funicular ride in Quebec City is rebuffed as too extravagant. Collier’s love of historical sidebars, easygoing narration, self-deprecating humor, and a slightly askew Crumb-inspired drawing style overcome the occasional self-absorption of this quirky tale. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Comics
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