Trip is an interesting experiment in the world of comics. It’s written and drawn by two female creators: Kelly Matten and Walker Farrell. Their art interchanges throughout the story like a relay baton and like any good relay they are perfectly synchronized. It’s not that the creators share a similar style either; both styles are distinct but similar in fundamentals. By that I mean that the contrast isn’t so sharp that you’re put off by the change. Personally I enjoyed both styles, but I would bet that most people would favor one style over the other as per most people’s nature. The story kicks off at a house party. We meet one of our main characters, Vee, as she scopes the party out. She doesn’t really recognize anyone at the party and questions who they all are and what they’re doing there. Vee heads up stairs to find the host, her friend Leo. He’s loaded up on some psychedelic drugs so Vee doesn’t get much conversation out of him, but he invites her to partake in his “birthday cake” to which she gladly does. Vee snags a second slice of “cake” for later and heads back down to the party. It’s here that we meet our second main character Luna or Lou. She’s standing with the fridge door open looking pretty lost when Vee walks up to the fridge as well. It could be that Vee just senses how stiff and awkward Lou is at the party or maybe something else, but eventually she gives Lou her second pill aka “cake” and excuses herself.
The story follows Lou for a bit as she heads back to her friend that she came with. It’s a typical childhood friendship in which both people have outgrown the other, but neither is willing to admit it or aware of it. Lou becomes frustrated with her friend who is drinking and likely taken some “cake” of her own, because she was supposed to be the designated driver. Lou decides to leave and take the bus home, but when she reaches into her pocket to pull out her bus pass she also pulls out the pill. At this point her life comes to a fork in the road and she must decide if she’ll stay or if she’ll go.
The story is about self-discovery. The main characters of Vee and Lou are both taken on a metaphorical “trip” of sorts in which they both re-evaluate their lives. Now that doesn’t mean that they both have the same “trip” or come to the same conclusion of where their life is going. Quite the opposite really, but by telling you it wouldn’t be much fun for you to read and see how their paths differ.
The writing is solid. I don’t know if it’s due to the creator’s animated backgrounds or just the look of the series, but it comes across as an animated short adapted to comic form. That’s not a slam by any means, as that style has produced some of my favorite comics of all time. I liked the message and how the drugs were handled. By no means is the book saying “everyone do drugs and you’ll find yourself”, in fact at the end of the book they say the opposite; that this story is a possibility, but not the road map for every experience. The creators approach the subject matter responsibly and it shows. That’s not all the story is about though, there are plenty of other themes like: Friendship, respect and happiness to name a few.
The pacing of the story is fast. The book is over and done with before you know it and while that’s okay, I did want more time with the main characters. It’s in this weird cusp of either being just a few pages short of hitting the sweet spot or a few pages over. I couldn’t decide. The dialogue was very good throughout the story. It was believable and never was it annoying.
The art is definitely the strongest aspect of the book. As I said in the beginning I was partial to both styles as they fit their respected pages. In talking with Kelly Matten she told me that they each picked their pages that they wanted to illustrate and it shows. Each page really does have the same amount of care and attention. It’s a great reading experience because of it. Instead of filler panels or thumbnails that “just needed to be done”, you’re given a story that two people enjoyed creating from beginning to end. Again the book has an animated vibe to it that I think most comic fans would really enjoy.
Trip is a good read and I enjoyed it. I think the messages it delivers are ones that we always need reminding of and while I do think the narrative could have gone deeper, it didn’t necessarily hurt the story. There aren’t a lot of comic books out there like Trip and especially not ones that are aimed at women; for that reason I’m very glad that it exists and I hope the creators find other stories for Vee and Lou in the future because I can’t be the only one that wants to check in on them.
Creators: Walker Farrell & Kelly Matten Publisher: Solid Sauce Price: $15.00 Website