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Yuichi Yokoyama: Travel Paperback – December 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. One of the weirdest and most startlingly original volumes of manga yet published in America, this wordless graphic novel has no plot to speak of: three men board a train and walk through it until they find seats, then ride through changing scenery until they reach their destination, a waterfront. That's it. The point of the book is Yokoyama's outlandish, hyperstylized designs for characters, architecture and landscapes. Everything and everyone is abstracted until nothing is left but a few identifying features; some sequences, as when the train passes through a rain shower, are almost pure pattern. (No other cartoonist likes drawing antislip flooring as much.) Read it quickly, and it zooms by like light poles past a speeding train's window. Linger over any page, though, and Yokoyama's diagrams of antiwind cigarette lighters and 20-lane highways, symmetrical buildings and identical trees start to make a bizarre kind of sense. His visions all seem invented rather than observed—they're a blueprint for a more orderly reality, rather than an interpretation of something that already exists—but there's something riveting about his endless, madly energetic variety of environments and perspective. And his end notes are hilarious, interpreting almost every page as if he's not certain what he drew: The landscape seems to symbolize something. (Nov.)
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Review

"A train journey becomes a madly energetic blueprint for an alternate reality in this abstract, experimental manga." --Publishers Weekly

"Few cartoonists of the moment are weirder or more original than Yuichi Yokoyama - his work obsessively diagrams architecture and design. TRAVEL is remarkably entertaining." -- Douglas Wolk --The New York Times Book Review, December 12, 2008

"elegant, wordless work of art. " --New York Magazine, December 8, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: PictureBox (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981562205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981562209
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Randall on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Manga for the BLDGBLOG crowd, Yokoyama's second book just seems like it's from 2053. A handful of his doll-like characters go on a train trip through radically terraformed landscapes. He riffs on the small things, like a coffee dispenser, and the large, like Tokyo's traffic. 200 pages race by. And the silent journey ends with a droll payoff.

I wrote about Yokoyama for the Comics Journal in 2004 and 2006; in both cases, I struggled to find comparisons. It's manga, but not like any other I've read. While he shifts between art gallery and comics page like some American and European cartoonists, his work doesn't look like theirs. It's handmade but sharp; deadpan but open; and it has ducks.

For a reader searching for the new, it's a thrill. And well adapted by Picturebox. I can't think of a better home for Yokoyama's work, outside an architectural press. And Travel has a special appeal if you've seen Japan by rail. The snapshots are just a touch more constructivist than laconic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erik Ketzan on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Travel is a wordless graphic novel by Yuichi Yokoyama. The plot is extremely simple: three men get on a train and ride it.

What makes the book interesting is Yokoyama's dreamlike, surreal imagery and his inventive use of camera angles and perspective. A single page will portray something as mundane as a character reaching into his pocket for change and buying a train ticket, but the way Yokoyama draws it makes it a fascinating experience. His characters are reminiscent of Matisse and Picasso paintings, and in my 20 years of reading comics I've never seen a drawing style quite like it.

It's hard to describe Yokoyama's work; check out some of the sample pages in the customer images above. Suffice it to say that fans of extremely experimental, artistic comics will enjoy this work, something quite new and unique in the world of comics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is manga, but unlike you've ever seen before, with its wordless tale of three men taking a lengthy train trip. There's no further plot, no astonishing twists ... but it's always a constant surprise & delight. Creator Yuichi Yokoyama concentrates on the journey of these three men & the seemingly mundane details of their surroundings, both the train & the passing scenery, often going into such tight focus that the simplest thing becomes an object of abstract, geometrical beauty, something that invites you to linger over it, and lose yourself in it. That's the mesmerizing power of this story -- it draws you into the fascination of the everyday, and makes what you might consider trivial into something new & marvelous. Highly recommended!
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By Edit on June 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a newcomer to the manga experience, I was intrigued by Yuichi Yokoyama's book Travel. It is a multifaceted exploration of travel, time and human interaction with an increasingly technologically dependent society. The artist's work leaves ample room for the viewer's own responses and interpretations. As I "read", I became interested in why there were no female characters included in this work. Surely women ride trains in Japan. Given the artist's attention to detail, this must have been a choice. Once again, this work has me thinking, but this time about what has been left out and its significance. All in all worth a look or two.
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