HCZF MONTH! Over the last 18 months we have seen the emergence of a new sub-genre of graphic medicine in the form of the pandemic comic. So much so that we have created a tagged list of our coverage of them here at Broken Frontier so that those interested in this social documentation of these troubled times can easily access them. Approaches and formats have been varied and inventive, ranging from the autobiographical to the allegorical. Yu-Ching Chiu’s Lulu’s Flight finds yet another perspective from which to document the pandemic in a charming and all-ages short comic that explores events through canine eyes.
With her owner trapped in London due to the travel ban, a small dog named Lulu decides to take matters into her own paws and make the trip to the United Kingdom herself. With this objective in mind she begins the long journey by air to be reunited with her mistress, navigating the obstacles of our new pandemic landscape along the way…
Lulu’s Flight spans 28 wordless pages and can perhaps best be described as a slice-of-life fantasy. In an obvious sense this is a world one step removed from our own where dogs can book their own flights and travel solo but on the other hand it’s very recognisably our reality. The heart of the comic though is an examination of those feelings of separation, isolation and helplessness that will be familiar to so many who were isolated from loved ones in the early days of the pandemic (sometimes, as here, entire countries and continents away from them) and the joy of eventual reconnection when that moment arrived.
Chiu frequently adopts different page structures to take us from a dog’s eye view to a human one, with tightly panelled pages reminding us of Lulu’s vulnerability in the environment she is traversing, and wider panoramic images emphasising its comparative scope. There’s even a moment or two of slapstick comedy when turbulence hits the aeroplane she is a passenger on. This is an accomplished piece of silent storytelling that mixes gentle humour with carefully measured panel-to-panel pacing, and an undeniably endearing protagonist. You can find Yu-Ching Chiu in Hall One at Hackney Comic + Zine Fair.
Yu-Ching Chiu (W/A) • Self-published, £20.00
Review by Andy Oliver