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Red Eye, Black Eye Paperback – February 13, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Alternative Comics (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891867997
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891867996
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 4.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

September 2001, New York City: in the space of a few days Jensen loses his girlfriend, his apartment, his job, his grandmother and a local landmark. He decides to buy an Ameripass on Greyhound and travel around America by bus for the next two months, staying with people he knows only via the Internet, in a bid to find himself... or at least the secret of life. Instead of any such easy tropes, Jensen finds "the common man" of today—an America of decent enough Gen-X and Gen-Y slackers. This graphic novel is mostly their little oddball stories—a woman whose co-worker wears her aborted fetus as a necklace; a childhood quest for Bigfoot that turns up a bum; a sloppy roommate from hell. Jensen's own quest is mostly a litany of uncomfortable bus rides and the constant need for a shower. His journey is portrayed as surprisingly mundane except for a surreal stop in a Southern town whose residents amuse themselves by pulling flaming sofas behind trucks. Jensen resists all attempts at sentimentality; similarly, the rough, blocky art makes no pretense at beauty for its own sake, but gets across these sympathetic, quirky tales with brisk efficiency. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—Jensen, a New Yorker, went through a lot in the span of a few short days: the turmoil of 9/11, losing his apartment, getting dumped by his girlfriend, and getting fired from his job. Instead of falling into a depression, he saw an opportunity. Dubbing himself a professional hobo, he bought an Ameripass and journeyed from New York City to Seattle and back, making stops in just about every major city along the way. He used the Internet to find people to stay with, and he retells the stories of the Gen X slackers who hosted him. Jensen shies away from idealizing anything or anyone, but gives odd anecdotes about those he met. Jensen went through plenty of adventures of his own as he discovered the local color of each city. Slightly edgy in content, with a number of references to alcohol, drugs, and sex, the story is best suited for mature readers who like the same free-wheeling spirit of Jack Kerouac's On the Road (Viking, 1957). With its hard outlines and slightly cartoon faces, the drawing style is deceptively simple. Subtle details are skillfully worked into the background, lending his adventure-memoir an odd sense of realism. Originally published online as a serial comic, Red Eye, Black Eye lacks the large narrative arc with a strong ending many readers crave, but lovers of well-crafted indie-comics like Craig Thompson's Blankets (Top Shelf, 2003) will find much to enjoy here.—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fluffy on February 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started reading it, I couldn't stop until I was finished. The artwork was extremely well-drawn with wonderful backgrounds which keep the eyes demanding more and more, and the stories, both encountered by the cartoonist and retold by his friends, are entertaining glimpses into the lives of people from all around the country in a whirlwind tour on an unlimited bus pass.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Collins on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The realities of my situation are catching up to me a little," says the author's character mid-way through the book. "No money, no home, no job, no future... In all the books, you travel and you have these grand epiphanies about your life and your place in the world... but none seem to be forthcoming."

Shortly after 9/11, Thor Jensen's prospects in New York dried up. What does he do? He buys a Greyhound Ameripass (the one which allows a passenger unlimited travel for x number of days) and travels from sea to shining sea (and back again) with a few bucks in his bank account and whatever he could cram into a backpack.

And, similarly to Kerouac's On The Road (written shortly after World War II), Red Eye, Black Eye is a veritable celebration of the underbelly of America from one who has been there. There are no "grand epiphanies" along the way, either. No, this is a real-life travelogue situation, with no solid plans or manufactured excitement along the way. It truly is a book about a guy on a Greyhound Bus for two months.

Yet, anyone who has traveled across this country by bus can tell you - it just ain't as simple as it sounds. There are thousands of people riding the buses each day, and travelers will have to interact with some of them in some manner whether they want to or not. And, at each stop-over point, there are peculiarities unique to the location and the "culture" as well. Mr. Jensen hits as much of this as he's able.

But this isn't just a book about the adventures of Thor Jensen - not by a long shot! Though told from his perspective, Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Chesbrough on March 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Red Eye, Black Eye. I liked traveling vicariously through the U.S.A via bus with K. Thor Jensen. Lord knows I wouldn't do it myself. I became so engrossed in the book that I had to put off sleep and read it in one long entertaining jaunt. I recommend it to anyone who has a good sense of humor and a bit of travel bug.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on November 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to read some websites that K. Thor Jensen worked on in the early 2000s. I remember seeing a message board post from him saying he was going to travel around the country on a bus and asking people if he could stay at their places. I thought, "Wow, that's a pretty cool/crazy idea." Little did I know that he was going to turn the experience into a comic.

And that's pretty much it. He travels around the country with almost no money and just tries to find stuff to do. What makes this book work so well is that K. Thor and the people he encounters are pretty interesting. Every person he stays with has an interesting story to tell, which Jensen turns into a comic. Jensen also has a unique (to say the least) sense of humor which can be seen throughout the book. His drawing style is also really nice and one of a kind.

While Thor makes a couple of observations about his situation, the book never turns into some mopey dopey introspective BS. There's no epiphanies and, as far as I can tell, no real moral to the story. This is a breath of fresh air in a time when a lot of alternative cartoonists seem like they're trying to take their life experiences and turn them into some terrible indie film. Thor just lets his and the other "characters'" experiences speak for themselves and that's what makes the book so good.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DThomops73 on July 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this collection with low expectations, but it disappointed me more than I ever though possible. Other works by the author are weak as well he tends to dive in to subjects that he is not prepared for or talented in. Do not order this book!
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