The autobiographical webcomic Between Gears by Natalie Nourigat is being released by Image Comics this February and chronicles the authorâ€™s life as a senior in college. Each day of her final year at school is given a full page that deals with Nourigatâ€™s trials, accomplishments, and social experiences with nothing held back.
Nourigatâ€™s writing is hand-lettered and very personal. The entire book feels very conversational, as if you were having a phone conversation with her about her day. The only thing that falls flat about this is that it is more of a journal styled narrative, so there isnâ€™t one ongoing story and itâ€™s pretty fragmented. This is a pretty typical staple in the autobiographical comic book genre, and itâ€™s not really one Iâ€™m a fan of. I couldnâ€™t really get into the book because I wasnâ€™t really invested in reading someoneâ€™s day to day life. I love slice of life stories; I just donâ€™t really care for this type of narrative.
The artwork I have a completely different opinion on. Her pages start as very light and fun and the drawings slowly evolve into a more concise and clear style. By the end of the book Nourigatâ€™s voice through ink on the page has changed just as much as she has as a person at the end of her senior year. Itâ€™s a wonderful process to see someone grow as an artist over time and reach the end of a very important part of their life.
Itâ€™s these two conflicting aspects of the book that didnâ€™t really appeal to me. As a daily webcomic Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s entertaining and fun to take a look at every day or so on her blog (also called â€œBetween Gearsâ€), but I just donâ€™t see it as something Iâ€™d want to read again and again as a trade. It has a definite audience with other artists and people in school, but not a wide reach to fans outside of the autobiographical genre.
Overall Iâ€™d recommend this book for people who want to see into the life of a young woman perfecting her art and chronicling her life at school. But for people looking for fictional comics or a solid narrative Iâ€™d stray away from it. The artwork, again, is worth at least giving it a glance over.