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February 20, 2009

Book Notes - Matthew Forsythe ("Ojingogo")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published books.

Drawing from Korean influences, Ojingogo is a magical dreamscape of a comic involving a young girl, her squid, and their adventures. With the mostly wordless panels Matthew Forsythe has crafted a story to be enjoyed by all ages.

Quill & Quire wrote of the book:

"The black-and-white pencil drawings are fun and bizarre, the tone often reminiscent of the "just accept it" dream-logic of a Miyazaki film (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle). It’s likely that the majority of the book’s readers will be post-secondary hipsters and comics enthusiasts, but it works perfectly for the tween and teen set."

In his own words, here is Matthew Forsythe's Book Notes essay for his book, Ojingogo:

I just tried to think of a few songs that I was listening to around the time I started the comic. I was living in Korea teaching English and at the end of a long, mostly-lonely stretch of traveling.

"No Cities Left" by The Dears

The words "no cities left" were kind of a mantra for me on this trip. I knew Murray and Natalia from the Dears through some friends I had been living with in London and I had a No Cities Left t-shirt I wore everywhere. I had been traveling and working in Europe and Asia for effectively for five years. And there was something about Korea that made me feel like I was finishing something.


"Odalisque" by The Decemberists

Strangely can't hear this song without thinking of the strange little room I lived in in Korea. My mattress on the floor, bars on the windows.


"Oh Channon" by Drunken Tiger

This song takes me back to Dongdaemun night market in Seoul. Oh Channon basically means 'five bucks' in Korean. For some reason everything costs five bucks in the street markets of Seoul, so you'd be walking around hearing all the old fishmongers shouting, "Oh Channon!"


"Slow West Vultures" by the Mountain Goats

I hate the gloss of over-produced music; so the Mountain Goats' rough, sketchy, poetic songs resonate strongly with me. I like my comics the same way, scratchy - not overlaboured - but with lots of heart.


"Words that Saved" by Chris Appelhans

Again, super lo-fi, really basic rough sketches of songs - probably recorded in his bedroom on the first take. But if you're open to it, there is a lot of heart. Chris is also an amazing artist - a concept artist for films and a regular contributor to Flight comics anthologies which I had a comic in around the same time. Chris made a little animated video for the song here:


Et aussi l'éclairage de plastique au centre de tout ces compartiments latéraux by Fly Pan Am

I'm thrilled by how many people connect with Ojingogo despite the fact that it is basically a wordless comic. Sometimes we say a lot more without words.

Matthew Forsythe and Ojingogo links:

the author's website
the book's website
the book's page at the publisher
Goodreads page for the author
Goodreads page for the book

High-Low review
Quill & Quire review

The Coast Halifax profile of the author
The Comics Reporter interview with the author
Hello Nekko interview with the author
McGill Daily profile of the author
Newsarama.com interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Largehearted Boy Favorite Novels of 2008
Largehearted Boy Favorite Graphic Novels of 2008
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Why Obama (musicians and authors explain their support of the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2009 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2008 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)

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