I think there’s always room to explore other peoples’ autobiographical stories. Especially now when we are primarily keeping to ourselves, stories about folks pasts are a good way to connect with others, albeit indirectly. Of the personal stories I’ve had the privilege of reading, I found a lot of connectivity in Square Head! by Jep (aka Jep Comix).
Square Head is the story of Jep participation in a cultural exchange program circa 1983. The trip took him from Ontario (English speaking) to Quebec (French speaking), introducing him to his brief childhood nemesis Raymond. As Jep soon learns, visiting a province where everyone speaks different language is a challenge, almost moreso when you’re an awkward teen (surprising right?). Not helping is the “too cool for his own good” Raymond, who is amused by Jep as a curiosity but soon decides that the novelty has worn off, making him cold and effecting not only Jep’s trip, but the opinions of those around him as they pertain to Jep. Until the tables turn, of course.
This minicomic was not only a travelogue of a middle school trip but also a brief historical recounting of the history between Ontario and Quebec and how they get along now. We also see some of Jep’s experiences with girls and how his current situation calls back to those experiences. I found Jep’s storytelling style relatable, and some of the situations and adolescent uncertainties were all too familiar. He has a way of storytelling that makes you feel like he’s directly telling the reader a story.
This was a great mini. The pacing and way Jep speaks to the audience is well played, very inviting. There’s a good dose of humor, which makes it all the more understandable as a story about a teenage boy. If you’re looking for a nice slice of real life while everything else is so bizarre (or just for fun), check out this and the rest of Jep’s titles here.