Jean Tripier’s Travelogue is sort of a gag strip for smart people. The comics are thoughtful as well as funny, and they come with little explanations on the side. Each one is a single concept—changing times as embodied in a series of airline announcements stretching from the present to the future, for instance—so they are quick little reads, like sequential Minute Meditations. Tripier’s art is anything but cartoony; he favors a textured watercolor-and-ink style that stands on its own very well. The one thing I don’t like about these comics is the way they are presented: Each comic is in a little window that only shows half the panel. Clicking on the image brings up a small version of the whole comic; clicking on that brings up a bigger picture, which is an awful lot of work for the reader—I would rather see the comic fill as much of the browser window as possible, especially because Tripier’s art is worth a good look.
Tripier also has three longer pieces online, all still relatively short (6 to 16 pages) and all worth a look. They use a standard full-page display, which makes them easier to read. Absurdia, which 13 pages long, is the story of the last man to die in World War I (but of course it’s really about more than that…). London, at only 6 pages, is Tripier’s memory of the London subway bombing of 2005. A Close Shave is my favorite, for both the art and the story—I won’t spoil it by telling what it is.
These short comics are quick to read—you could easily go through all of them in less than half an hour—but they have a way of staying with you. I’d like to see more of them; fortunately, Tripier seems to be updating Travelogue pretty aggressively, with five comics so far this month. And for one more bit of long-form Tripier, check out Elodie Goes Surfing, a slice-of-life comic from an unusually interesting life.
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