A Review By Greg Driver Twitter: @Battou
Every so often, a book comes along and in perfect, stark clarity and accuracy mirrors feelings or experiences from your own life.
All The Places In Between is one such book. A piece of sequential art, that perfectly describes and distills feelings or thoughts that can often be difficult to communicate clearly and can seem cryptic to someone looking in from the outside.
This Beautiful piece of work by John Cei Douglas Is a journey through emotion. It is a depiction of the cyclical nature of poor mental health episodes and the thought processes that come along with that.
The book takes you through the tranquility of outer space, the chaos of a tempest, the anxiety of a timed exam and also the safety and comfort found in companionship. A lover or a friend as a rock or a lighthouse to guide you through a storm to safety. The book also explores themes of isolation and navigating shared isolation as the characters explore daunting wastes and ruins together (which I find especially relevant in the current state of things!).
The book is presented mostly in a 4 panel page layout and is entirely silent. The square format accentuates the beauty of the work in its simplicity with its fluid forms and whimsical scenes. The fact that it is also presented in black and white adds to this. With the comic being silent it leaves space for the reader to interpret the work based on their own experiences with the subject matter more clearly. I especially love the rendering of the night sky in certain scenes throughout!
My favourite part comes in the portion of the book that deals with Anxiety. The pages depicting a solitary character filling out an exam paper. With fine lines and sparse details, panels depicting clocks and a break in form from the square 4 panel page layout, the passage of time is felt presently and more intensely as forms loosen.
The wide eyed panic of the page layouts as panels overlap in various sizes, really capture those anxious moments in the throes of an anxiety attack. Those heightened feelings of panic and racing thoughts as you catastrophize, it's all there in these wonderfully crafted pages.
Needless to say this book really did resonate with me. The book opens with an appropriate quote from Tove Jansson whose whole influence can be felt throughout the art and in the gentleness and mindfulness of the work:
"There are empty spaces that must be respected, those often long periods when a person can’t see the pictures or find the words and needs to be left alone."– Tove Jansson, Fair Play
This really is a book to add to your collection if you have ever struggled with your own mental health or if you know someone who is struggling. Especially important right now is the message I took from this book that there is a light at the end of the cave and calm after the storm.
We were given a review copy of this book by publisher Liminal 11.
“All The Places In Between”
By: John Cei Douglas
Available for pre order from www.Liminal11.com
published/ released April 2021