Ruts & Gullies: Nine Days in St. Petersburg

Philippe Girard (Conundrum)

Quebec artist Philippe Girard chronicles his first visit to Russia, for the St. Petersburg comic festival Boomfest, in this comic travelogue. Girard checks out Russian cuisine, living arrangements in formerly communal apartments, vodka, the Cyrillic alphabet and St. Petersburg’s elegant subway. On his journey he pays attention to coincidences and oddities: old ladies speaking in proverbs, travelling on the anniversary of a friend’s death, travel mate Jimmy Beaulieu finding a French edition of his book in an obscure place with a metro ticket dated on his birthday stuck inside. Girard’s travel experiences aren’t especially unusual and nine days isn’t quite long enough for deep revelations about the Russian psyche, but his storytelling is sincere, with a drawing style recalling France’s Dupuy & Berberian, and Russia remains off the beaten path for most North Americans

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