They Let Me Use Their Road

Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2000
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of They Let Me Use Their Road Creator(s): Jesse Bochner
Publishers: Kobold Press (Self Published)

The buffalo who is driving a nifty convertible on the cover conveys the interesting view of the world that Jesse has, and the story presented in this comic lives up to the image. The plot follows the misadventures of First Nations man who finds himself being chased by a strange man who wears a gas mask, experiencing hallucinations concerning sailing ships and a captain's mad quest for Leatherback the tortoise.

It's all very strange. Half of it would fit nicely into the Terry Gilliam film Brazil, with the hero pursued by mysterious forces, letters delivered to the wrong people and a near empty city inhabited by people who don't know anyone else. The other hallucinatory half shows what might have happened if the rabbit hole that Alice went down had lead to the deck of the Pequod instead of Wonderland.

Some of the story has recently been reprinted in Fuse where it is described as touching on the ...anxiety that many First Nations people might share about the official 'status' of their identity in relationship to federal governments.

Jesse's art style is not immediately appealing, with some of the characters looking slightly deformed in their facial features, but the range of shading techniques on display and the fine work on the ships and military costumes of the sailors redeems the book.

In a Word: Psychedelic.

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