The acclaimed Canadian comic artist Julie Doucet, author of Dirty Plotte, returns with a recollection of a whirlwind love affair she had in 1989 with a French soldier—one she got to know through mail correspondence, a common enough reality of the zine era, when comics were mailed from cartoonist to reader and close relationships were formed. Based on diary entries from the whirlwind romance, the passion and high emotions of youth—before you know the limits of love, before you know the difference between love and lust—seep through the pages.
... another intense, electrifying, diary-inspired autobiographical title ... her work is unpredictable—rarely are comics viewed so unconventionally. Even more striking is Doucet's flowing presentation, originally created in an accordion-style notebook: the result is that every panel-less, borderless page overlaps into the next so that if the pages could be lined up, long edge to long edge, the effect would be that of a long, continuous scroll ... Thirty-one years ago, Doucet won the 1991 Harvey Award for Best New Talent. Her reemergence makes her new all over again to another generation of comics fans. Savvy, knowing enthusiasts will have a field day reliving her past comics here. Both audiences can expect exceptional discoveries--equally disturbing and delightful.
Time Zone J abandons panel borders and any conventional presentation of setting and character, unfolding as one long continuous image that embeds the narrative in a sea of other drawings. The printing for Time Zone J is particularly distinctive because the pages are folded over and uncut, allowing the art to flow seamlessly across the page turn. The stream of consciousness is never interrupted, and it’s a prime example of how Drawn & Quarterly’s impeccable production design supports the artist’s vision ... reading Time Zone J feels like traveling to a place that exists on no map, pulling you into the chaotic landscape of Doucet’s mind. It’s an initially intimidating read, demanding that readers rewire their brains to process the rush of visual stimuli and Doucet’s rapidly shifting thoughts. The book was drawn from bottom to top and should be read accordingly, but even then, it’s not always clear which way the eye should move. That’s a feature, not a bug, and there’s a level of trust involved here that makes for an especially rewarding experience if you embrace the spontaneity of her work, which is driven by the mercurial sensations of memory.
... [a] brave and playful graphic memoir that lands as a full-bore visual assault ... The overall impression is one of a wave of dreams, memories, and associations pouring over the reader all at once ... this feels like a throwback to the 1960s underground and its trippy embrace of chaos. At the same time, it’s entirely her own statement. Both longtime and new fans will be rewarded by this frenetic missive that warrants multiple read-throughs.