The first thing to note about Adventures of a Japanese Businessman is that it’s what we as comic readers call a silent story. There’s no words or dialogue to this strange and wonderful tale about a Japanese businessman that ends up having the an unexpected and bizarre adventure after leaving work one day. I’m not going to tell you what happens to him because I feel that it would be pointless. It would mostly be my interruption of the art and I think everyone that reads it will take subtle nuances their own way. The gist is that he goes on a seemingly endless trip after running from a Yakuza attack.
The art of course is doing all the work for this story and it does an amazing job. The best way I can describe it (as I did on this week’s podcast) is that of an old school RPG, think almost Final Fantasy, but with better art.
There is a natural flow to the book that also gives it a flipbook feel to it. Our businessman essentially stays in the center of the panel (there are four per a page) and the world moves around him for the most part. There is a strange sense of movement because of this and it controls the pace in which you read the book. Sometimes you’ll read quickly because there’s a frantic pace. Other times you’ll slow down as the character looks around and soaks in his new and crazy location.
The art is very detailed as well. There’s a great cartoonish style to the book. I can’t really peg any influences, but I can say that the panels are packed full of detail, characters and just things. In a way it reminded me a little of Where’s Waldo?, but only in the sense that creator José Dominco packs a lot into each panel. It’s never overkill, but there’s a lot to absorb and gaze upon.
The book itself is massive. I don’t have the exact measurements, but I’d say it’s 11’x14’ just to give you an idea. It’s a book that stands out, but the impressive size really is the best way to enjoy the artwork. That and the paper stock is perfect for the book, not too heavy and easy to flip the page. If like me, you sniff your books then you’ll love the inky smell that it has as well. I’m not kidding either, I love the smell of this book and I don’t care if that makes me weird.
There’s really nothing else like this in the world of comics. It was a first for me and that’s saying something. I mean I don’t know many comics I’ve read, but it’s safe to say that the number is extremely high and probably frightening to non-comic readers. The point is, this was a first for me and it was an incredible reading experience and truly, an experience. There’s not many comics that are actually an experience to be had, but Adventures of a Japanese Businessman is definitely one. Have an adventure of your own with this fantastic work.
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