Approximate Continuum Comics by Lewis Trondheim

Approximate Continuum Comics
by Lewis Trondheim
Fantagraphics, 2011

Any new work by Trondheim is a joy, although this compilation was first published ten years ago and the six original comics were written during 1993 and 1994. Readers familiar with his excellent autobiographical graphic novels Little Nothings (sourced from his blog) will know what to expect: Trondheim represents himself as a grumpy, insecure worrier. And an eagle. His patient wife is also drawn as a type of bird. If you look at photos of the two of them, you can kind of see the resemblance.

He stresses about his cartooning career, his family and friends, and his own inability to relax or enjoy himself except in shamefully childish ways. Things haven’t changed much since the early nineties – except his worries in this volume are those of a cartoonist about to turn thirty who is at the stage of his career where he’s successful (he’d already coestablished L’Association and won the Alph’Art Coup de couer) but not yet in a secure position, that is to say, still working extremely hard while questioning the worth of it all. Despite a studio setup and support network which would be the envy of any contemporary New Zealand cartoonist, his frustration is palpable – by comparison, his stresses in Little Nothings are those of a successful, established figure in his mid-forties. And in colour, which helps make everything all better.

At the end of the book there’s a hilarious rebuttal section, where his friends (some annoyed, some ashamed) can present their version of events.



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