Boundless
The cartoonist of This One Summer and SuperMutant Magic Academy explores the virtual and IRL world of contemporary women via a lens both surreal and wryJenny, post-breakup, becomes obsessed with the mirror Facebook of herself seeing a life that could be hers. An anonymous music file surfaces on the internet and a cult springs up in its wake. A group of city animals briefly open their minds to us. Helen finds her clothes growing baggy, her shoes looser, and as she shrinks, the world around her recedes. A lifetime of romantic relationships are charted against the rise and fall of the celebrity cast of a classic film.Jillian Tamaki brings her characteristic blend of realism and humor to her first collection of short stories. Boundless explores the lives of women and how the expectations of others influence their real and virtual selves. Mixing objective reality, speculative fiction, out-and-out fantasy, and a deep understanding of the contemporary world's contradictions, Tamaki shows herself to be a short story talent equal to her peers Adrian Tomine and Eleanor Davis. Tamaki's styles shift from story to story, each delicately setting the mood for her characters' inner turmoil: thick chunky blocks of ink become hyper-realist detailing which become brushy drawings of plants, all effortlessly rendered in Tamaki's distinctive hand."

Boundless Details

TitleBoundless
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 30th, 2017
PublisherDrawn & Quarterly
ISBN1770462872
ISBN-139781770462878
Number of pages248 pages
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Short Stories, Comics, Fiction, Graphic Novels Comics

Boundless Review

  • Kevin Kelsey
    May 19, 2017
    I want to thank Drawn & Quarterly for sending me a copy of this. I have to admit I was entirely unfamiliar with Jillian Tamaki going into it, but I love love love her illustration work here. I’m also a big fan of the way that the narration jumps around sometimes “documentary style” in these stories. Most of them are slice-of-life focused, kafkaesque, or modern fantasy, which are all genres I think graphic novels are particularly well-suited for. I’ve written about this previously in reviews I want to thank Drawn & Quarterly for sending me a copy of this. I have to admit I was entirely unfamiliar with Jillian Tamaki going into it, but I love love love her illustration work here. I’m also a big fan of the way that the narration jumps around sometimes “documentary style” in these stories. Most of them are slice-of-life focused, kafkaesque, or modern fantasy, which are all genres I think graphic novels are particularly well-suited for. I’ve written about this previously in reviews of other comic/graphic stories, and it’s still rings true here.Every story collection is going to be a little uneven to some degree, but most of these stories are solid, with just a couple that didn’t quite land for me. The artwork is always something to behold, and the characters feel three-dimensional and genuine.‘SexCoven’ is a definite standout; it alone makes this collection worth reading. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m around the same age as the author, but I feel like this story perfectly captures the late 90s / early 00s internet culture of niche communities and the ways that they almost universally disbanded in the mid 00s. I probably spent around 6 solid months on message boards dedicated to The Matrix when I was around 20 (please don’t judge me, I thought it was cool as fuck back then). A couple years later and all of those boards are just… gone. It seems like almost every message board or little niche community has been replaced by a subreddit these days, and that brings a whole other subset of problems along with it. Instead of communities of likeminded internet individuals coming together over some obscure cultural element, we have a subset of the already monoculture-prone redditors coming together over some obscure element of culture. It’s a slice of a slice of what it once was, and way more confirmation-bias enabling. I really do feel like we’ve lost something.I also particularly liked the story dealing with adultery/bedbug removal, and the one with the shrinking woman. There were so many cool things to read between the lines in all of these. I’ll definitely be checking her other work out
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  • Elyse
    June 8, 2017
    I purchased this book in Berkeley last weekend while attending the Bay Area Book Festival. Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Toronto. The vibe of the entire book awesome.... everything art: creative --and reflective. "Boundless" is a collection of short stories: "Jenny"... "Darla"...."Half aLife"...."Body Pods"....."Sex Coven"....."The ClairFree System"......and other stories touch on things familiar and not familiar.......Tamaki's imagination is original - edgy - messy - I purchased this book in Berkeley last weekend while attending the Bay Area Book Festival. Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Toronto. The vibe of the entire book awesome.... everything art: creative --and reflective. "Boundless" is a collection of short stories: "Jenny"... "Darla"...."Half aLife"...."Body Pods"....."Sex Coven"....."The ClairFree System"......and other stories touch on things familiar and not familiar.......Tamaki's imagination is original - edgy - messy - painful - sweet - funny - and absurd. Tamaki explores the myriad ways we try to connect with each other and to the sometimes cruel world around us. Each time you read these stories -and spend time being with the graphics it's easy to see something new. Jillian's writing and drawings include love, loss, death, happiness, nature, and philosophy ...... Jillian Tamaki has a wonderful gift for seeing through ordinary life and living soulfully. She urges us to delve deeper into the meaning of life ---This is not only an observation on human conditions, but its a tribute to the spirit of living and being. "For the first time in my life, I'm real"!!! HaHa!"
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  • David Schaafsma
    June 12, 2017
    Skim and This One Summer are two of my favorite graphic novels, by artist Jillian Tamaki and her writer cousin Mariko Tamaki. In Boundless, a collection of short stories, Jillian writes in a variety of tones and styles, with drawing styles to match the content. Sometimes you see or read an author or artist, and can recognize their “signature” style, but it is clear to me Jillian does not have that, or at least not yet. She has multiple voices. She can be hilarious in writing for young people, as Skim and This One Summer are two of my favorite graphic novels, by artist Jillian Tamaki and her writer cousin Mariko Tamaki. In Boundless, a collection of short stories, Jillian writes in a variety of tones and styles, with drawing styles to match the content. Sometimes you see or read an author or artist, and can recognize their “signature” style, but it is clear to me Jillian does not have that, or at least not yet. She has multiple voices. She can be hilarious in writing for young people, as in The Supermutant Magic Academy, or in Indoor Voice. This collection is more absurd, edgier, more impressionistic, showing off her varied interests: love, loss, death, nature (she likes to draw birds!), science fiction, philosophy.My favorites include “Sex Coven,” about the effects of a weird and ethereal MP3 that produces an euphoric sensation in the listener and begins to make its way into society. I also very much liked “Half Life,” about a shrinking woman, becoming ever smaller and smaller.It is clear Jillian Tamaki can draw anything.
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  • Book Riot Community
    May 31, 2017
    In this marvelous graphic novel, Tamaki delivers several stories: Jenny discovers a Facebook-type better version of herself; a mysterious file brings happiness – or is the end of mankind; Helen literally begins to shrink; humans can suddenly see into the minds of animals. Tamaki tackles self-image, perception, and social media in this wonderful send-up of our virtual lives.Backlist bump: SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian TamakiTune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, A In this marvelous graphic novel, Tamaki delivers several stories: Jenny discovers a Facebook-type better version of herself; a mysterious file brings happiness – or is the end of mankind; Helen literally begins to shrink; humans can suddenly see into the minds of animals. Tamaki tackles self-image, perception, and social media in this wonderful send-up of our virtual lives.Backlist bump: SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian TamakiTune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allt...
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  • Sara
    June 20, 2017
    A beautiful series of provocative short stories from one half of the team behind This One Summer. With a touch of dark whimsy Jillian Tamaki examines the intricacies of relationships, identity and connection through a series of very brief, but very lovely illustrated vignettes. Its hard to describe them in the way its hard to recall a dream you really loved. It feels a bit like reading someone's journal, very intimate but a little wrong too. If you're a fan of surreal fantasy that tackles very r A beautiful series of provocative short stories from one half of the team behind This One Summer. With a touch of dark whimsy Jillian Tamaki examines the intricacies of relationships, identity and connection through a series of very brief, but very lovely illustrated vignettes. Its hard to describe them in the way its hard to recall a dream you really loved. It feels a bit like reading someone's journal, very intimate but a little wrong too. If you're a fan of surreal fantasy that tackles very real world issues give this a shot.
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  • Val
    March 21, 2017
    Review to come!
  • Liz Yerby
    June 18, 2017
    She's good
  • Irena Freitas
    June 16, 2017
    Deus sabe que eu amo a Jillian Tamaki, mas essa coletânea de histórias curtas, com algumas exceções como 1.Jenny e Darla!, não foram muito a minha praia.
  • Matt Graupman
    May 24, 2017
    "Skim" and "This One Summer," two graphic novels by artist Jillian Tamaki and her writer cousin Mariko Tamaki, are among my absolute favorite comics, largely because of Jillian's beautiful work. With "Boundless," her new collection of short stories, Jillian shows off the full range of her drawing talents as well as her own distinctive storytelling voice. Her comics tend to be a little more "Twilight Zone"-y than her collaborations with her cousin, which is totally cool with me. And though I pref "Skim" and "This One Summer," two graphic novels by artist Jillian Tamaki and her writer cousin Mariko Tamaki, are among my absolute favorite comics, largely because of Jillian's beautiful work. With "Boundless," her new collection of short stories, Jillian shows off the full range of her drawing talents as well as her own distinctive storytelling voice. Her comics tend to be a little more "Twilight Zone"-y than her collaborations with her cousin, which is totally cool with me. And though I prefer her more polished style, the sketchier, more impressionistic drawings in this collection are still pretty remarkable. "Boundless" pretty much proves that there's nothing Jillian Tamaki can't do.FAVORITES:"Half Life" - A young woman finds herself steadily shrinking, possibly into oblivion."Darla!" - A television producer reflects on a hybrid sit-com/porn series he developed."SexCoven" - A mysterious MP3 that produces an euphoric sensation in the listener begins to infiltrate society.
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  • enricocioni
    June 10, 2017
    In her new graphic short story collection, Boundless, Jillian Tamaki explores the ways humans can stretch beyond the bounds of our bodies and minds, and connect with the rest of the universe. Through social media, the imagination, pop culture, weird internet cults, pyramid schemes, appeals to a shared sisterhood, bed bugs, and even, in one story, by disintegrating into nothing/everything.Many of the stories are surreal, verging on eerie. Jenny becomes obsessed with a strange phenomenon called "m In her new graphic short story collection, Boundless, Jillian Tamaki explores the ways humans can stretch beyond the bounds of our bodies and minds, and connect with the rest of the universe. Through social media, the imagination, pop culture, weird internet cults, pyramid schemes, appeals to a shared sisterhood, bed bugs, and even, in one story, by disintegrating into nothing/everything.Many of the stories are surreal, verging on eerie. Jenny becomes obsessed with a strange phenomenon called "mirror Facebook"--a sort of parallel-universe Facebook where people can find their bizarro doubles, both similar and diametrically different from what they are like in this universe. Helen finds herself literally, physically shrinking a little bit every day. Young people the world over connect through their mania for a "wordless, six-hour atonal drone" titled Sexcoven, mysterious as to its origins and its exact nature. A curse hits a well-loved 80s kids' fantasy film--over a period of years, some of its actors die in ways reminiscent of their characters' deaths--as well as a woman's romantic life, as every single person she dates happens to be a fan of the film.Some of the stories are more mundane. A woman tries to recruit another woman onto a pyramid scheme for skin care products. A college professor and her new husband, an ex-student of hers, battle bed bugs. A tv writer reminisces about a short-lived tv show he worked on in the 90s, which has found new fans after the episodes were uploaded online. And, at the back of the book, a woman gives a weird TED-like talk about the importance of feeling sadness and pain.And some are not quite stories, more like flights of fancy. The first chapter stars a woman singing about a "world-class city", apparently inhabited by sentient tentacles, and people with wings on their chest or skulls instead of heads or octopus backpacks. The final one is told from the points of view of a bird, a squirrel, and a fly.In the hands of another author, the more surreal stories could have been spooky, unsettling. But the women in Tamaki's stories are not spooked or unsettled by the strange circumstances they encounter, so neither is the reader. Some are curious and want to figure it out, some are bemused, some a little inconvenienced but they'll be ok. And the style Tamaki uses to illustrate these stories is simple and cuddly and grounded in reality, a less spectacular but no less charming version of her beautiful work in This One Summer.In the hands of another author, the more mundane stories could have been too mundane, verging on boring. And, in truth, I didn't find the one about the bed bugs incredibly compelling, and the one about the tv show was charming but not particularly memorable (except for a recurring panel showing a close-up of the show's main actress's smiling face, which is absolutely gorgeous). But the pyramid scheme one--every story in this book is illustrated in a different way, and here Tamaki opts for large black and white panels, usually only one per page, containing images that aren't always obviously linked to the text--a woman's naked hip next to some floating spheres, what looks like a scene from a Greek play, the long body of a naked woman curled around a small suckling child--or that are more obviously connected to the text but display some uncanny, over-intense quality--a full-page close-up of a woman, shrouded in darkness; three tall women, soberly embracing; a huge naked baby, dozing in his crib. Paradoxically, the most mundane story becomes the creepiest, strangest one--perhaps it's a commentary on the cult-like nature of pyramid schemes, or on the almost-religious worship of beauty and female fertility, or perhaps it's an interesting attempt at representing what the listener sees with her mind's eye as the would-be recruiter tries to get her on board.This book will probably not overwhelm you with emotions or earth-shattering concepts. But it will infect you with its quiet curiosity for the stranger aspects of existence and human culture and the universe.For more reviews like this, check out my blog, Strange Bookfellows: https://strangebookfellowsblog.wordpr...
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  • Blue
    June 11, 2017
    Although a few of the stories offer the satisfaction of a well-crafted short story, most in this collection do not go beyond vignettes. Granted, Jillian Tamaki always offers something to think or muse about and the range of her cartooning styles is impressive. Still, the collection as a whole feels a bit like Supermutant Magic Academy without the continuity in characters and location to give a more in-depth and mature feel to the work. I am beginning to think that Tamaki should focus a bit more Although a few of the stories offer the satisfaction of a well-crafted short story, most in this collection do not go beyond vignettes. Granted, Jillian Tamaki always offers something to think or muse about and the range of her cartooning styles is impressive. Still, the collection as a whole feels a bit like Supermutant Magic Academy without the continuity in characters and location to give a more in-depth and mature feel to the work. I am beginning to think that Tamaki should focus a bit more on solid story and plot, and character development or collaborate with someone who has the story and focus on the illustration aspect (a la SKIM and This One Summer). I also suspect that this is a millennial shift in the types of graphic works that are being published: short, evocative, emotionally ambivalent or troubled pieces, rather than longer, more complete stories. Regardless, even the millennials will appreciate, I think, a graphic novella or novel or even short story with a full story arc rather than one that just expounds on an idea or emotion for a brief while. At times, Tamaki's work feels very real, which is a good thing, but it is also a problem in this instance. Writing is an art form (and as my cartooning teacher would say, cartooning is a writer's medium). Though a story of a short story, novella or novel does and can drive from real life and might aspire to reflect real life, the writer has to do more than just tell what happened in real life: everything and every character should serve a purpose, there should be a premise, there should be conflict and resolution, something (just some thing) to make it all tick. And Tamaki's work in vignette/short story form here is missing that something. Stories like Halflife and Sexcoven feel more complete, while others, like Darla! and bedbug seem like unfinished chapters in a larger work. The title story, Boundless, is perhaps the least satisfactory of them all; why we move from a bird to a squirrel to a fly is unclear.Recommended for those who like celebrities, Edgar Keret, nurseries, swimming, and animals.
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  • Derek H
    May 27, 2017
    Jillian Tamaki is an undeniably talented illustrator who could stand to take more risks in her comic writing.Boundless' stories rest too comfortably on a detached/cool/ironic-or-is-it? documentary-style exposition (already well-trodden territory in recent alternative comics). One story exploring a "mirror Facebook" would have been revelatory several years ago, but now also feel extensively explored, and with more ambition and audacity, by other authors.The most compelling and fleshed-out story i Jillian Tamaki is an undeniably talented illustrator who could stand to take more risks in her comic writing.Boundless' stories rest too comfortably on a detached/cool/ironic-or-is-it? documentary-style exposition (already well-trodden territory in recent alternative comics). One story exploring a "mirror Facebook" would have been revelatory several years ago, but now also feel extensively explored, and with more ambition and audacity, by other authors.The most compelling and fleshed-out story in this collection is the reprinted "SexCoven" from the Frontier series. Had the spirit of this story carried through the rest of "Boundless", we could have had a truly groundbreaking work. Instead, as a whole, it feels comfortable, and unchallenging. Tamaki has a sharp mind, and I know she's capable of offering more.
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  • Colleen
    May 30, 2017
    I enjoy this and I'm glad I read it and that it will sit on my shelf beside it's Tamaki peers. However, I found this very underwhelming. There were I think two stories in here that I were excited by. It's not a "bad" collection by any means. It's a really lovely object in its design and Tamaki's drawing style is all sorts of expressive fun. But considering how much I adored Skim, Super Mutant Magic Academy, and This One Summer, I'm left with no choice but to 3*** this one.PS The two stories I lo I enjoy this and I'm glad I read it and that it will sit on my shelf beside it's Tamaki peers. However, I found this very underwhelming. There were I think two stories in here that I were excited by. It's not a "bad" collection by any means. It's a really lovely object in its design and Tamaki's drawing style is all sorts of expressive fun. But considering how much I adored Skim, Super Mutant Magic Academy, and This One Summer, I'm left with no choice but to 3*** this one.PS The two stories I loved were about shrinking Helen and the culture around the SexCoven audio file.
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  • Mel
    June 27, 2017
    I didn't know Jillian Tamaki before reading this, and plan to seek more of her work out because of this book. It's a quick read of short, graphic stories. Interesting & weird, I loved the art, and the writing. The stories would rope me in, and I'd forget about the art, and go back and discover cool background pieces I'd missed before. Great for people who like weird sci-fi, surrealism, and Black Mirror (the TV show). A lot of similar themes, but all surrounding women.
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  • Derek Parker
    May 17, 2017
    I enjoy Tamaki's work, but I'm not as enamored of it as I think many people are. Perhaps I would have enjoyed and appreciated this collection better had I not read it in PDF. But that's what the publisher sent for our preparation to discuss this on The Comics Alternative podcast. This work, I feel, is meant for printed consumption.
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  • Ashley Campbell
    June 6, 2017
    I absolutely loved Jillian Tamaki's illustrations. Many of them were so raw and made the stories come to life. This was captivating in an almost sad, yet witty way. The various stories touch on things that are happening in our world and certain fads. Some of these really hit home for me, which is probably why I read the whole thing in an hour. Amazing work from Tamaki!!
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  • Sandra
    June 11, 2017
    jillian's my best gal! can always rely on her to deliver that introspective femme existentialism along with some funnies! so much reread valueeager to see how she explores her many art styles in the future
  • Jessica
    June 16, 2017
    Ummm, lovely. "Sexcoven" was great because I just love any stories about teenagers doing things that adults hate and finding naughty stuff online. Artwork is gorgeous too. Ugh, transcendence.... somehow Tamaki fits it all in here.
  • Michael
    March 24, 2017
    Very impressionistic selection of short comic stories - Tamaki avoids the short story O Henry twist ending in favor of emotional beats, anticlimaxes and reflective denouements. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but well drawn and effective in its aims.
  • Nicole
    June 18, 2017
    I want more graphic novel short story collections. Also, Jillian Tamaki is one of my fave people and creators ! 💛
  • Myrna
    May 20, 2017
    I think SexCoven and Half Life were my favourites of the collection, but I found something to love in almost all the stories.
  • Chris Burkhalter
    June 28, 2017
    Really enjoyed this collection. I'd read some of it before, but there easily two or three five-star gems in here that were new to me. Viva Tamaki!!
  • Erin
    June 4, 2017
    Every inch of this is beautiful and brilliant.
  • Jene
    June 23, 2017
    Not a fan. I had read a great review but felt it read like something I would have written/drawn in high school.
  • Sam Mullins
    May 10, 2017
    I love Jillian Tamaki's collaborations with Mariko so so much, but very few of these comics grabbed me like her other stuff. I remain a big fan and admirer, though.
  • Matt
    June 25, 2017
    Fantastic. D+Q scores again.
  • Comics Alternative
    June 2, 2017
    http://comicsalternative.com/episode-...
  • Vanessa (splitreads)
    June 23, 2017
    This was a weird one, with Tamaki bending genres, styles, and ideas. Sadly, I think the fact that they were short stories limited my enjoyment.
  • Dylan
    June 5, 2017
    I just didn't get most of the stories...World-Class City: 1/5Body Pods: 2/5The ClaireFree System: 2/51.Jenny: 3/5Half ZLife: 3/5Darla!: 3.5/5Begbug: 2/5Sexcoven: 4/5Boundless: 2/5
  • Mike
    February 21, 2017
    An uneven collection that reads like a compilation more than a cohesive work. The best parts make for a great read. "Sexcoven" was the highlight and reminded me, strangely, of "House of Leaves" - a fictional work (in this case a six hour drone song) creates a subculture of fanatics. I didn't want the story to end, which is a rare (and special) reading experience for me.Reviewed from an advance reader's copy.
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