- Posted by Johanna on August 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm
- Category: Minicomics
I enjoy comic travelogues. It’s a great match of content and form, since the pictures allow you to vicariously experience somewhere you may never otherwise go, while the text gives you insights from someone who was actually there, and the selection of what to show makes the experience individual.
The latest one I’ve read is Thoughts From Iceland, a series of three minicomics by Lonnie Mann. He went to the remote country in 2012 and captured, in the form of short diary strips, his experiences. They originally ran online, and they can still be read there, but the print versions have some amount of extra content, I’m told. I’m guessing that’s the photos he includes at the back, which make for a fun comparison with his illustrations.
With two strips per page, the books read as a series of key moments and memories. “Day 1″ shows the flight over, the hotel, a museum visit, and some shopping. Given my interests, I was thrilled to see Mann capture most of his meals, particularly the unique ones or those representative of the country. I was also tickled by the strip laying out how he stayed warm walking around. The various layers reminded me of a paper doll. Because the comics are full-color, the tones add another layer to the experience, with the shades mostly blues and greys, suited to the cold weather climate.
“Day 2″ tackles a glacier hike, with a brief folk tale, and Lonnie gets lost at night. Mann’s got a very friendly style, slightly cartoony, particularly when exaggerating the eyes to express delight (in a manga-like way) or uncertainty. It makes any experience more fun and welcoming, so instead of worrying too much for him, lost in a strange city in the dark and cold, it seems like more of an adventure with a layer of humor.
“Day 3 + 4″ is more touristy, with more shopping, including a comic store, and museums. The treats sound delicious (or exotically weird), while the purchases indicate that consumerism is what drives the world all over, without as much distinction as there used to be. There’s a celebrity cameo (although I had to look up who it was), as well as some interesting images of art installations and some notes on the language.
I want to visit Iceland after reading these, so they serve as a great brochure for the country. Thoughts From Iceland can be bought in print form from Lonnie’s etsy shop or digitally at ComiXology. (The artist provided review copies.)