“The Tour” by Andi Watson
#BD Polar with its absurd humour, populated by anti-heroes with an unknown writer caught in a serial killer case as a leading figure, La Tournée installs its Kafkaesque universe in bookstores. The British cartoonist’s fifth album published in France, by an author who explores human and family relations, draws engaged and lively social chronicles with a very refined graphic bias. Here he explores a whole new register: solitude, adding a high dose of humour to accompany this new direction in his work.
G.H. Fretwell, a novelist on tour signing his new book, finds himself suspected by the police because his itinerary and encounters coincide strangely with those of the “Suitcase Killer”. From this suspicion and the confidential nature of his book, a strange atmosphere will settle around this very solitary tour. His arrival did not attract crowds, his publisher snobbed him, critics made him wait and his wife did not answer his calls: Fretwell’s tour took on a surrealist character in the middle of books. The reference to Kafka and this lack of control over reality, for this writer who sees himself tossed around by all his interlocutors, from the police to booksellers and hoteliers, are announced on the first page with the title of his novel Sans K. This filiation infuses the whole album where the life of this minor writer will become a permanent struggle, if only to exist.
Very light and iconic, working on symbolism rather than representation to install his characters and moods, Andi Watson’s line in this book has something of a Quentin Blake grown up with these sets that evoke rather than show. The squares disappear and the bubbles are absent to underline this in-between state that the character lives in. The whole book is visually constructed to accompany this floating.
The framework allows the author to talk about the condition of a writer, with very successful dialogues and scenes on the artist’s place, as seen by the rest of society. A meaningful mise en abîme at a time when the status and working conditions of authors are becoming increasingly difficult. A reflection on the importance of creation in the life of a creator, which often represents many sacrifices over several months or years for a critical & public reception that can be very weak. A real challenge for this passionate profession that pays little. Black humour, irony and nonsense make these observations a component of this burlesque drama. A very beautiful contemporary fable that renews a little the genre of literary satire. Very fine, we live with pleasure the character’s slow descent into hell in a hushed and policed setting like these rebellious English, but polite, frozen in the collective imagination.
The English humor literary version digs its groove in comic strip, after the fascinating albums of Tom Gauld, this book by Andi Watson settles down as the new nugget of the genre.
Andi Watson’s Tour, Here and there
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