In 2008, Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota launched the auto-bio webcomic Johnny Wander. Eight years, four cats, and three moves are chronicled in this gorgeous hardcover omnibus, which includes a foreword by Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Ghosts). Hirsh and Ota's charming reverie about new adulthood will appeal to fans of Kate Beaton, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and Jeffrey Brown—along with anyone who's just winging it.
This sometimes-charming collection of the autobiographical web comic Johnny Wander presents the lives of creators Ota and Hirsh as a series of brief comic strips capturing their daily activities. One peril of this type of comic is that the effort to portray yourself and your friends as very charming or very quirky or very silly might feel self-referential as the entries pile up. In such a thick volume there are plenty of moments where this happens, with some gags that feel like personal jokes that a reader wasn't even meant to get, or entries in a diary that are helpful to the diarist in dealing with something but less so to a reader. At more than 400 pages, there is need for a more careful curation of the contents in order to craft a more intentional narrative. If the parts played off each other better, it would add a lot more impact to the admittedly sweet ending.