- Posted by Johanna on December 4, 2007 at 10:12 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Joey Weiser
- PUBLISHER: AdHouse Books; $8.95 US
The Ride Home is Joey Weiser’s solo debut. (He’s previously contributed to anthologies, including Flight 4 and SPX 2004.) It’s a charming all-ages fable about a van gnome who gets lost. Nodo the gnome tries to keep his mini-van home tidy, but one day, the family cat chases him out mid-trip. He’s left behind in a city he doesn’t recognize, and he doesn’t have a very good sense of direction in the first place.
Weiser’s work is simple and inviting. His straightforward grid of panels makes for an easy read, where the story flows directly, and his characters are solid and expressive. They’re classic folk figures, repurposed for the modern era. Along with Nodo, there’s Ferdinand the Sewer Dragon, who used to work in a river until he was reassigned, and a whole gallery of cameos. These include a fuzzy-looking mailbox dweller and what resembles a butterfly-winged commuter, demonstrating Weiser’s imagination.
Recently, in a discussion of film clichés, an online friend suggested that he’d like to see a movie where the lead returns home and instead of reaffirming the values of her childhood, discovers that the new place she lives and the new attitudes she’s learned are where she’s meant to be. There’s something of a similar flavor here, with the message that sometimes we’re taken places we didn’t expect, and we can find joy in the new situation if we don’t spend all our energy trying to find our way back to where we were.
It takes time, of course, and the aid of a good friend. That’s Flora, in this case, another van gnome from a different area of town. There’s also excitement and humor and danger from junkyard trolls, making this a wonderful, engrossing all-ages story for anyone adapting to a new environment. It’s a lovely reminder of the importance of friendship, too.