Bubbles and Gondola


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Bubbles and Gondola


  • Words: Renaud Dillies
  • Art: Renaud Dillies
  • Colors: Christophe Bouchard
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing
  • Price: $16.99
  • Release Date: Oct 1, 2011

French cartoonist Renaud Dillies pays tribute to Krazy Kat and The Little Prince in this whimsical exploration of the solitude of writing.

Anyone who has ever attempted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in an effort to tell a story or express an opinion knows the double-edged sword that is the act of writing. It’s a medium of art that requires a lot of alone time. In the broadest sense, discounting editors, agents, and publishers, writing will never be a team sport. At the same time that it requires an often selfish amount of “me” time, writing also requires an audience. In fact, writers crave an audience the way a starving man craves a cheeseburger.

Angouleme award-winning French cartoonist Renaud Dillies understands the unique juxtaposition of the writer’s warring needs. His anthropomorphic exploration of writer’s block chronicles the whimsical journey of self-discovery of a mouse named Charlie, as he struggles desperately to break out of his sudden creative rut. Plagued by self-doubt and a fear of realizing his dreams, he encounters a blue bird aptly named Solitude, who proceeds to lead him down a path of self-realization.

With an artistic style recalling Herriman’s Krazy Kat and a fanciful imagination evoking St. Exupery's simple, elegant flights of whimsy, Dillies takes his audience on a strange trip through Charlie’s fears and inadequacies. Billed as an all-ages book, the plot and narration are simple yet crafty, the real storytelling technique coming through in the visuals. Dillies' transitions are particularly slick, as he moves between the real world of Charlie’s humdrum, lonely existence and the vast, dreamlike realms of his burgeoning imagination.

A wonderful, if somewhat superficial, excursion into the fitful imagination of a struggling writer, Bubbles and Gondola might fail to register with a North American comic book audience raised on a solid diet of spandex and capes but it deserves a look nonetheless. Beautiful, textured artwork by Dillies and his brilliant colorist Christophe Bouchard, coupled with the accessible plot, make this a perfect book with which to introduce younger readers to the wider imaginative landscape of modern comic books.

Heck, they might even get it more than their parents.

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