Review: Ghosting by Debbie Jenkinson

By James Bacon: One of those incredible comics that brilliantly captures everyday things, while beautiful winding in a mystery, suspense and a lot of humanity into a fantastically drawn story, making me smile, laugh, hope and hold my breath. 

Steve, a pleasant hard working Bus Eireann driver from Dublin meets and becomes very attached to Monica who travels on his bus and they spark a bit and obviously there is potential for a relationship, but then this  Italian lady seems to disappear out of his life, with a strange message perhaps in error and no contact, as one of his pals explains, he’s been ghosted. It’s a bit if a mystery to Steve.  

Anxieties and self doubt intertwine with the realities of life, we make a connection, but it is not to be, for one it is amazing and the other, well, life is busy and there’s so many other things to be doing. This is natural, and Steve is perplexed and confounded, if a relationship ends, even suddenly and for no reason, you wouldn’t want to go round to their place else as Steve  eloquently points out, you’d look ‘like a saddo’. Fortunately for our story Stevo as one of his pals calls him, is decent but the story is more complex than his pals in Busrus reckon and what is it to be courageous, to accept despair and move on or to figure it out with the risk of being back to square one.  

This is a wonderful comic, working myself in public transport (Trains) the realities of colleagues, the way driving can seem boring to some, and the dangerous way that any distraction can put people in danger, all felt right. Fellow drivers, diverse and genuine, passengers, although more familiar to Steve who drives a regular route, and Steve’s Dublin Mam, all, just felt perfectly right. 

The challenges of how one manages a potential breakup, the darkness a person feels with the loneliness and loss, of what could have been, or might have been, is so completely human and of course, the highs and lows of life, and loss are something everyone knows and feels, and wonder about, and yet somehow, often wordlessly, we see emotions captured and watch on as Steve is challenged, inquisitive and in a dark place.  

The art though, has to be seen to be believed, there is a level of accuracy and detail here, that is astounding, the architecture and streets of Dublin are captured so well, it is easy to track the city, Jenkinson has a skill at drawing away from the scene to allow one a street view, or the view of the bus in the countryside, and with varying angles, offers the reader a pleasure in cartographic and visual storytelling. The use of colour is limited but used to great effect and the overall use of blue and greys of the cities nicely contrasts with the more green countryside  and whizzing red and white bus.

There were so many moments where I laughed, finding many interactions hilarious, found the emotional and rational contrast brilliant, while at times I was tense and indicatively reading quickly. Eager to see which route the story went. 

 There is a lovely video preview here: 

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