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Approximate Continuum Comics

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One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheims Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonists life. Trondheims typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheim’s Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonist’s life. Trondheim’s typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, while trying to maintain his rising career as one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists. Approximate Continuum finally brings American readers the first portion of the “Trondheim autobio trilogy” that also comprises the Eisner nominated “At Loose Ends” meditation serialized in Mome (which will be released as a graphic novel in 2012) and the ongoing “Little Nothings” series of short slice-of-life stories (three to date from NBM Publishing). This volume contains the first three chapters serialized in the Nimrod comic book, the last three (never-before-translated) chapters, and a hilarious “rebuttal” section in which Trondheim’s family and cartoonist friends (including Epileptic creator David B. and Trondheim’s mom) dispute (or ruefully agree with) Trondheim’s depictions.


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One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheims Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonists life. Trondheims typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheim’s Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonist’s life. Trondheim’s typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, while trying to maintain his rising career as one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists. Approximate Continuum finally brings American readers the first portion of the “Trondheim autobio trilogy” that also comprises the Eisner nominated “At Loose Ends” meditation serialized in Mome (which will be released as a graphic novel in 2012) and the ongoing “Little Nothings” series of short slice-of-life stories (three to date from NBM Publishing). This volume contains the first three chapters serialized in the Nimrod comic book, the last three (never-before-translated) chapters, and a hilarious “rebuttal” section in which Trondheim’s family and cartoonist friends (including Epileptic creator David B. and Trondheim’s mom) dispute (or ruefully agree with) Trondheim’s depictions.

30 review for Approximate Continuum Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I am always a fan of autobiographical comics, and this one is a solid entry. I like what I've read of Lewis Trondheim, but not much of his prodigious output has been translated and published in the US. I kept feeling a little led out of the crowd in this book, not bent familiar with many of the comics writers and artists in France who are depicted in this book. I did love their comments about how they were portrayed included at the end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Autobiographical comic about a navel-gazing neurotic guy who complains a lot. But wait: he's drawn himself as a bird! And his pals are other various animals! ....eh. Some people think their negativity/pessimism automatically makes them enormously interesting. No.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gijs Grob

    In de jaren negentig kwam de autobiografische strip op stoom, met in Nederland vooral Barbara Stok en Maaike Hartjes en in Frankrijk bijvoorbeeld Dupuy & Berberian met hun 'Dagboek van 'n strip' en, uit dezelfde scene, Lewis Trondheim met 'Net echt'. Trondheim is een enorm productieve tekenaar en zijn tekenstijl komt erg snel en losjes over, maar 'Net echt' is niettemin doeltreffend getekend en zeer geïnspireerd. Trondheim blijkt een echte mopperkont te zijn, nogal misantroop en vol In de jaren negentig kwam de autobiografische strip op stoom, met in Nederland vooral Barbara Stok en Maaike Hartjes en in Frankrijk bijvoorbeeld Dupuy & Berberian met hun 'Dagboek van 'n strip' en, uit dezelfde scene, Lewis Trondheim met 'Net echt'. Trondheim is een enorm productieve tekenaar en zijn tekenstijl komt erg snel en losjes over, maar 'Net echt' is niettemin doeltreffend getekend en zeer geïnspireerd. Trondheim blijkt een echte mopperkont te zijn, nogal misantroop en vol zelftwijfel. Hij verbeeldt zijn bijna continue monologue intérieur op aanstekelijke wijze, als kopie, als draak en als veelkoppig monster. 'Net echt' gaat dan ook meer over hoe Trondheim tegen dingen aankijkt dan over specifieke gebeurtenissen. Naast de innerlijke monologen zijn de hoogtepunten een beschamende jeugdherinnering, een uit de hand gelopen feest en Trondheim die probeert op te ruimen vlak voor zijn verhuizing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I really enjoy Trondheim, and particularly recommend Little Nothings. However, Approximate Continuum are early autobio strips he did a while back, mostly 1993 and 1996, and they're just okay. By the time he started Little Nothings, his approach to his life story is more refined, getting to the punchline quicker, focusing on the most important aspect of a particular scenario. By comparison, this book rambles a bit, and isn't focused as effectively. It's not bad, but it's not the first Lewis I really enjoy Trondheim, and particularly recommend Little Nothings. However, Approximate Continuum are early autobio strips he did a while back, mostly 1993 and 1996, and they're just okay. By the time he started Little Nothings, his approach to his life story is more refined, getting to the punchline quicker, focusing on the most important aspect of a particular scenario. By comparison, this book rambles a bit, and isn't focused as effectively. It's not bad, but it's not the first Lewis Trondheim book I'd recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bryanzk

    the way the story told is really amazing, like the underground river running slowly but forcefully

  6. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    I had to warm up to this one. I feel like I know a lot of men (yes, mostly men) like this. Gloomy, low-self esteem, grouchy, pessimistic, self-identified pains in the ass. They wear it like a badge of honor -- they see the world the way it really is and don't sugarcoat anything in life. And at first, it was tiresome to read the all-too-familiar lines in comic book form. But as I went, Trondheim unpacks those elements in himself. I suspect it's a consequence of doing an autobio comic in serial I had to warm up to this one. I feel like I know a lot of men (yes, mostly men) like this. Gloomy, low-self esteem, grouchy, pessimistic, self-identified pains in the ass. They wear it like a badge of honor -- they see the world the way it really is and don't sugarcoat anything in life. And at first, it was tiresome to read the all-too-familiar lines in comic book form. But as I went, Trondheim unpacks those elements in himself. I suspect it's a consequence of doing an autobio comic in serial form like this - he even says something to that effect in his peripheral material. The short turnaround time made him more vulnerable. According to the description here on Goodreads, this is one of the first autobio comics to come out of France, which is somewhat surprising to me. I especially appreciated the segments covering (or not covering) Trondheim's trip to amerika. He dances around his trip, explicitly saying that he is having a hard time talking about it. I really enjoyed how he talked about his stereotypes of what amerika would be like, and how it met and didn't meet those expectations. They're short sections, and I want more, but I dug them. I think I liked how he chronicled his trip because it's more or less similar to how I chronicle my experiences. I don't like feeling obligated to chronicle my activities (though my FB friends will object and say that I obsessively take photos with my phone), and I've never finished several photo albums. He talks about not talking about the trip almost more than he talks about the trip. :) I would give four stars to the travel parts, but since that's only a very small portion of the narrative...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Groenink

    A wonderful album by Lewis Trondheim, showing us all how much of a grouch and generally unpleasant person he is. Fortunately for him, it's impossible to take him seriously in that regard. The loose and seemingly improvised drawings are simple and elegant and show just how good an artist he is. The free structure of the book, which depicts a period of his life in which he for lack of a better expression is settling down, sometimes makes a few jumps in time. And Trondheim sometimes springs A wonderful album by Lewis Trondheim, showing us all how much of a grouch and generally unpleasant person he is. Fortunately for him, it's impossible to take him seriously in that regard. The loose and seemingly improvised drawings are simple and elegant and show just how good an artist he is. The free structure of the book, which depicts a period of his life in which he for lack of a better expression is settling down, sometimes makes a few jumps in time. And Trondheim sometimes springs information on you. This is probably because originally the book was published as a miniseries. The advantage of this is that sometimes the people in his life comment on the way he's portrayed them in a previous episode. All in all, this is not the best or most significant of his works, but it's a charming insight into the life and selfimage of what is surely one of France's most important contemporary comicbook artists.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    What can I say, I like Lewis Trondheim. This autobiographical work covers an important transition in Lewis's life. During this time, he grew in notoriety as a cartoonist, got married and moved from Paris to the country. It's an interesting look into his life during this period and of his friends and their adventures. There is also a lot of introspection that goes on that was enlightening, as I identified with some of his struggles. An interesting extra is that at the end of the book, his friends What can I say, I like Lewis Trondheim. This autobiographical work covers an important transition in Lewis's life. During this time, he grew in notoriety as a cartoonist, got married and moved from Paris to the country. It's an interesting look into his life during this period and of his friends and their adventures. There is also a lot of introspection that goes on that was enlightening, as I identified with some of his struggles. An interesting extra is that at the end of the book, his friends who appeared in the book, get a chance to speak their minds about events in the book and how they were portrayed. An interesting read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carles Muñoz Miralles

    Cada vez que me alejo un poco de La Mazmorra, Trondheim me decepciona. Esta, que consideraba una de sus grandes obras, me ha aburrido bastante; la sucesión de episodios cortos, sin un hilo argumental (ni siquiera temporal) que los enlace , me desconectaba constantemente de la lectura, y las anécdotas narradas no han llegado a calarme ni a identificarme. Ni siquiera le he encontrado gracia al personaje semineurótico que interpreta él mismo, a años luz del divertido fotógrafo de Los combates Cada vez que me alejo un poco de La Mazmorra, Trondheim me decepciona. Esta, que consideraba una de sus grandes obras, me ha aburrido bastante; la sucesión de episodios cortos, sin un hilo argumental (ni siquiera temporal) que los enlace , me desconectaba constantemente de la lectura, y las anécdotas narradas no han llegado a calarme ni a identificarme. Ni siquiera le he encontrado gracia al personaje semineurótico que interpreta él mismo, a años luz del divertido fotógrafo de Los combates cotidianos. Seguramente no seguiré con el resto de obras autobiográficas del autor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sonic

    Autobiographical romp through the world of Trondheim. Full of ponderous musings, humorous asides, witty self-deprecations, and tangents of day-dreaming. The author also has fun portraying other french comics luminaries from Trondheim's circle. This book stands in stark (and wonderful) contrast to the wretched "Reunion" by Pascal Girard, which I was reading (until I drew to a stop) at the same time. That book exemplifies how NOT to do autobiographical material, and this book shows how it can be Autobiographical romp through the world of Trondheim. Full of ponderous musings, humorous asides, witty self-deprecations, and tangents of day-dreaming. The author also has fun portraying other french comics luminaries from Trondheim's circle. This book stands in stark (and wonderful) contrast to the wretched "Reunion" by Pascal Girard, which I was reading (until I drew to a stop) at the same time. That book exemplifies how NOT to do autobiographical material, and this book shows how it can be done well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom Gaetjens

    Autobiographical writings are incredibly varied and can cover any number of topics. The only subject that never seems to be missing from these books, though, is the feeling of self-absorption and meritlessness that writing autobiographical works seems to engender. Trondheim gives us glimpses, here, of transcendence, but the book rarely moves past the mundanities of the facts of each episode.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bria

    I was a little disappointed to find out this was autobiographical, since I love his imagination so much in the Dungeon series, but pleased to be introduced to what I now consider an absolute necessity for anything autobiographical ever published: the other people featured in the work have to examine it and include their comments and responses at the end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kean Soo

    Weirdly, I think I like this better than his later (and prettier) Little Nothings autobio series. Seeing Trondheim go off on his bizarre, dreamlike rants is a neat change of pace, something you can afford to do if you're working in a longer format, as opposed to Little Nothings's four-panel strips. Oh, and the dirt he has on all those other French cartoonists! Guilty pleasure there for sure.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Couldn't get interested in the protagonist flights of introspection and self doubt. No real interest in his career developments either. Not sure if the busy graphic style hurt or helped. There are better graphic novelists out there.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liz Yerby

    i love autobio, but this dude's life was a little boring. there was some depictions of inner monologue that was interesting and the art was very consistent and clean.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    you complain too much.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

    More Trondheim ASAP please!

  18. 4 out of 5

    amy boese

    While I couldn't see the appeal of LT and his grousings, it is well written and drawn. Certainly groundbreaking at the level of what a graphic novel could be for the mid-90's.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Suescun

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sergio Fernández García

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emre

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric Vincent

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Girard

  26. 4 out of 5

    Iñaki Perez De Albeniz

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Burkhalter

  30. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

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