One of my best hauls from Leeds was a fantastic minicomic from the equally fantastic Sarah McIntyre, a comic based on her trip to China. Sarah herself did very well at Leeds; her book Verne and Lettuce won the Leeds Graphic Novel prize! Congrats, Sarah! I enjoyed Please Be Moral: Do Not Spit so much that I wrote Sarah a short review which she posted on her blog! For more info on Sarah's work and some neat bookbinding tips about how she put the minicomic together, check out her blog!
Recently I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Sarah McIntyre's China Travel Diaries at the Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds.
I'm not entirely sure what I expected, but it blew me away from the very start. Drawn whilst on the road, Sarah dutifully documents the travelling adventures and mishaps that are an essential part of any holiday, but also focuses on the broader themes of "family". After meeting with her parents in Beijing, Sarah and her husband embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that takes them from the peacefulness of Buddhist monasteries to the bustle of the Shanghai Promenade. Along the way, we get to know her tour group and they become something of a family themselves!
I found the actual story itself incredibly moving. It was as complicated and nuanced as China itself, and managed to give a very touching account of everyday life in the People's Republic. More than anything, it was the kind of story that I love, one that swings back and forth between jaunty comedy and more sombre topics, that manages to pull at the heartstrings with well-observed dialogue and warm relationships between the characters!
"Please be Moral: Do Not Spit" is also attractively hand-bound in a traditional Chinese style with a really fun cover design. Sarah McIntyre breathes new life into a tired TV cliche, transporting us on an "emotional journey" with an emotion and vigour that is refreshingly genuine. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to tear up slightly at the ending!
Overall, a brilliant minicomic, and it's one of my favorite things I got from Leeds!