Night Bus by Zuo Ma / ISBN 9781770464650 / 412-page paperback from Drawn & Quarterly, just published.
"Night Bus depicts sleepy, starry, bug swarmed countrysides, far away from the turmoil I currently experience. The book sparked far off memories of catching bugs and chance encounters with strange kids and adults doing things I found puzzling and objectionable. These memories make me want to fall into a coma and escape the oppressive stress of city life. The depictions of mundane existence, concerns about the elderly, and Zuo Ma’s own career path drift seamlessly into moody creature fantasies that at times escalate into full-on kaiju sequences. The darkened, cinematic faces linger."―Jesse Moynihan, Forming, Midnight Gospel, Adventure Time
Journey through the countryside in this magical realist debut from an underground Chinese cartoonist
In Night Bus, a young woman wearing round glasses finds herself on an adventurous late night bus ride that constantly makes detours through increasingly fantastical landscapes. Meanwhile a young cartoonist returns home after art school and tries his hand at becoming a working artist while watching over his aging grandmother whose memory is deteriorating. Nostalgic leaps take us to an elementary school gymnasium that slowly morphs into a swamp and is raided by a giant catfish. Beetles, salamanders, and bug-eyed fish intrude upon the bus ride of the round-glasses woman as the night stretches on. Night Bus blends autobiography, horror, and fantasy into a vibrantly detailed surreal world that shows a distinct talent surveying his past.
Nature infringes upon the man-made world via gigantism and explosive abundance–the images in Night Bus are often unsettling, not aimed to horrify, but to upset the balance of modern life.
Zuo Ma is part of a burgeoning Chinese art comics scene that pushes emotion to the forefront of the story while playing with action and dreams.