It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Jillian Tamaki book, so this is certainly welcome. Boundless collects some of her shorter pieces, a number of which were first published online on Hazlitt.net. Sandwiched between a couple of pretty abstract side-on strips of double page single images is a varied collection of consistently excellent short stories with a focus on our cultural past, especially internet culture.
This book is worth buying for SexCoven alone, the exceptional piece published as Frontier 7, a skilful blend of internet legend and hippy cult. Recounting a youth craze that burns brightly before fading away to reveal the truly committed, huddling together in the desert in a commune squabbling over petty differences but delighted that the ‘jocks and teen queens’ have moved on to something else. However, that’s not to suggest for a minute that the rest aren’t of a similar standard. 1.Jenny, for example, explores the way we can get drawn into digital life to the exclusion of real life, posing questions about the extent to which it matters if the people we follow are real, and about how real our own online profiles are. Her ideas are first and foremost packaged in captivating narratives that entertain and engage readers in equal measure and leave us musing on what they say about our own lives.
These stories are each very different, but consistently richly thought-provoking, full of both cultural insight and believable characterisation. With fluid, expressive art, the images are sometimes laid out in a conventional grid but often unbordered, taking full advantage of the size of the page. This book serves as an excellent reminder of exactly why Tamaki is so highly regarded, and comes highly recommended.