Journey through the countryside in this magical realist debut from an underground Chinese cartoonist
In Night Bus, a young woman wearing round glasses finds herself on an adventurous late night bus ride that constantly makes detours through increasingly fantastical landscapes. Meanwhile a young cartoonist returns home after art school and tries his hand at becoming a working artist while watching over his aging grandmother whose memory is deteriorating. Nostalgic leaps take us to an elementary school gymnasium that slowly morphs into a swamp and is raided by a giant catfish. Beetles, salamanders, and bug-eyed fish intrude upon the bus ride of the round-glasses woman as the night stretches on. Night Bus blends autobiography, horror, and fantasy into a vibrantly detailed surreal world that shows a distinct talent surveying his past.
Nature infringes upon the man-made world via gigantism and explosive abundance-the images in Night Bus are often unsettling, not aimed to horrify, but to upset the balance of modern life.
Zuo Ma is part of a burgeoning Chinese art comics scene that pushes emotion to the forefront of the story while playing with action and dreams.