Pluralistic: The Tamakis' "Roaming" (11 Sep 2023)

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The cover for the Drawn and Quarterly edition of the Tamakis' 'Roaming.'

The Tamakis' "Roaming" (permalink)

Cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki are a graphic storytelling powerhouse, and their latest title, Roaming (from Drawn and Quarterly) is a stunner:

Roaming is the story of three young Canadian women meeting up for a getaway to New York City. Zoe and Dani are high-school best friends who haven't seen each other since they graduated and decamped for universities in different cities. Fiona is Dani's art-school classmate, a glamorous and cantankerous artist with an affected air of sophistication.

The three young women check into a youth hostel for a hotly anticipated long weekend, which turns into a complicated and moody marathon of debauchery, bonding, feuding, flirting, resentments and wonders.

The Tamakis' specialty is capturing the charged sexuality, subtle friendship power-moves, and intense but brittle friendship between young women. They're very good at it, which is why they won a Governor General's prize for their 2014 blockbuster This One Summer:

With Roaming we get a dizzying, beautifully wrought three-body problem as the three protagonists struggle with resentments and love, sex and insecurity. The relationships between Zoe, Dani and Fiona careen wildly from scene to scene and even panel to panel, propelled by sly graphic cues and fantastically understated dialog.

Meanwhile, NYC looms large as it only could in a story about young Canadians in the City. It's hard to overstate the glamour with which New York looms in the imagination of (many) young Canadians. Hence the old joke: "How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb? Two: one to change the bulb and one to go to New York and make sure lightbulbs are still cool." Or: "Toronto is New York run by the Swiss; the city that never sleeps…in."

I was one of those Canadian adolescents drunk on New York, on several occasions, and even today the City can just floor me. The Tamakis nailed this, from the facial expressions to the body-language of their characters, the push-pull of wanting to go to all the tourist traps and not wanting to be the kind of rube who goes to all the tourist traps.

All my female friends have stories of growing up in intense, three-way friendships that were forever turning into two-on-one fights, with allegiances shifting from moment to moment. Roaming tells the story of one such triangle, forming and shattering and re-forming in a sorefooted, exhilarating weekend in the greatest city in the world (TM). It's a love story about friendship and the transition from adolescence to adulthood, perfectly precise in its depiction of very specific people in a very specific time and place, and yet absolutely universal in the truths it reveals.

Hey look at this (permalink)

A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Help pay back the RIAA’s 12-year-old victim

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#5yrsago 2018’s Blue Wave needs to take down Trump, and the right-wing establishment of the Democratic Party

#5yrsago History’s solutions to runaway inequality: warfare, revolution, state collapse and plague

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#1yrago American healthcare did a fuckery: A trillion prices can't be wrong

#1yrago The White House has a plan for Big Tech: Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and Joe Biden all agree

Colophon (permalink)

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