Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Little Nothings, Vol. 2: The Prisoner Syndrome by Lewis Trondheim

Sometimes I write about a book thinking it might influence some people to read it - this is especially true if the book is new, or has something flashy that will be attractive to a large number of readers.

But sometimes I write about the second book of a series of diary comics - seven published in French, only four in English - which is a decade old, deeply out of print, and never was or will be fashionable. And then I know I'm writing mostly for myself: so I can read this, some time in the future, and remember what I thought, and wonder about that guy's thought processes and judgements. If there are any similar folks along for the ride: well, that's good, too, I guess.

So today I have Little Nothings, Vol. 1: The Prisoner Syndrome, from Lewis Trondheim. The strips collected here appeared, one by one, on his website - the last twenty or so are still there - and then were collected into book form in French about 2008, and translated into English for this edition in 2009. As I said, the English edition is out of print, though you can find it the usual ways if you want to.

I read (and wrote about) the first book in the series a month ago; if I remember, I'll drop a link in here once that post goes live. Prisoner Syndrome is mostly the same kind of thing - what I said there is just as true about this book.

Well, there's one difference: Prisoner seems to be even more focused on vacations and festivals than Umbrella was - it feels as if these are the comics Trondheim made when he was away from home. Maybe that was the point? These were the exercises to keep those muscles moving - observation, drawing, turning little moments into comics pages - when he was doing other things, and not caught up in his major work.

Trondheim is one of the greats of world comics, and these are some of his most personal, interesting, quirky comics. I can't pitch it any more strongly than that: if that's not appealing, move on to something about spandex-clad psychopaths pummeling each other instead.

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