Newsarama reviews Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

“Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow” / Newsarama / Michael C Lorah / January 8, 2007

“Comics are just words and pictures.” It’s a truism that has been quoted by more than I can guess, and despite the truth, comics rarely move away from combining words and pictures as a grid of pictures with boxes or balloons pasted onto the images. Anders Nilsen’s Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow takes the juxtaposition of words and pictures to a different place, using something resembling a found-art approach to creating a narrative.

Don’t Go tells of the love and relationship of Nilsen and fiancée Cheryl Weaver prior to Weaver’s tragic death of lymphoma. Nilsen’s mix of writing and art from their time together satisfies the most basic description of comics – words and pictures – but provides a far greater insight into their relationship and love than traditional comics could ever hope to offer.

Using postcards that they’d sent to each other during their courtship, Nilsen shows the early stages of burgeoning love. A letter, written to his sister about a camping trip gone comically wrong, shows how Nilsen and Weaver bonded through adversity and laughter. Captioned photographs of a shared trip to France spotlight romance, travel and shared experiences. Illustrated journal entries explore the confusion and uncertainty of dealing with a loved one’s sickness. Finally, traditional comics sequences cap the France trip with another comic misadventure and, later, show the Nilsen’s isolation following Weaver’s passing.

The objects of their time together mark the moment with a clarity and believability that pulls you into the reality of their lives together, allowing Nilsen to share the reality of his life and his loss. Don’t Go is the type of comic that will potentially leave readers in tears and longing to appreciate every moment with their own loved ones.

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