Graphic Novel Review: Eight-Lane Runaways by Henry McCausland

Eight-Lane Runaways by Henry McCausland. Fantagraphics, 2020. 9781683963110. 96pp. Taller than your average graphic novel.

Eight people run on a track that winds through the woods (and other places). Soon after they start, a runner from another group steals the running stick from Mykol and Bruce goes to get it back (which is weird because he may have planned on betraying his teammates). Natalie is running to earn her last badge. Oplo is looking for his cats. Freddo (with the head scarf) can’t talk because he’s a frog. Bobby says he isn’t wearing a mask, though it looks like he is. Blaise is working on the train while running the race. And Khoklakola’s coat talks to her. These characters stories and conversations weave back and forth as they run together on and off and sometimes in search of the track.

I’m sure folks will call the narrative experimental, and it probably is because it feels unstructured and magical and unlike anything I recall reading. It holds together really well, though; the art is fun, the layouts delightful, and it made me laugh several times. This is a beautiful book that continued to defy my expectations and that left me with a pleasant feeling. I’m buying a copy for myself as soon as I take it back to the library.


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