I just discovered that Matthew Forsythe is prepping the sequel to Ojingogo for later this year, so in honor of this fabulous news, a brief review of that first inestimably influential (for me at least) book in addition to some of Forsythe’s magical illustrations.
From the outset, just know this: if you have any interest in graphic novels or the comic format whatsoever, Ojingogo is essential. The book, in its second beautiful printing by Drawn & Quarterly, is pulsing with imagination and invention. I would go as far as placing Forsythe’s creative vision in the visual realm of legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and narrative realm of Lewis Carroll. Still, for all its bizarre and charming characters and quirky narrative twists, Ojingogo is a simple book. Void of any text/dialogue (that’s not quite true, there is some patches of dialogue scribbled in varied versions of otherworldly gibberish (and I think some bits of Korean in there too)), the basic plot follows a nameless, young, black-haired girl through a series of increasingly surreal encounters. Simple as that.
I suppose there's the narrative catalyst of the girl’s camera being stolen, but that’s neither here nor there. Ojingogo isn’t really about the hows and whys. Ojingogo is about the poetry of Forsythe's sequential art. It’s pure pictorial imagination free from the standard comic framework (the sequences are framed mostly with white space or the edges of the page), flowing majestically and freely, unhindered by the weight of anything that’s preceded it. The book is original in the truest sense, and a must read for anyone even marginally interested in pictorial story telling.
Here are some images from off his website below, some from the upcoming sequel to Ojingogo.