I hadn't heard of Between Gears before last week, I wasn't anticipating its release, but something about it drew me in when I saw it sitting on the shelf of my comic book shop with the "New This Week" label below it. I grabbed the book, took a seat and flipped through. Between Gears is an autobiographical comic by Natalie Nourigat covering her last year of college in the University of Oregon. The black and white art inside appealed to me as I took note of some panels reminiscent of Anime or Manga style bringing a level of the fun and fantastic that offered an intriguing twist to this real-life comic. I noted that she was a fan of Hayao Miyazaki (this is a HUGE plus in my book).
I bought the book and brought it home.
For the next 24 hours I spent every free moment with my head in this book. Starting with September 17th of her senior year of college and ending on June 14th, Nourigat dedicated one page to the events of each day (except for June 14th where she stretched the rules to give us two pages) to take her readers on the journey as she shifted between gears of childhood into adulthood. It was a fascinating ride.
You may wonder what would be so fascinating about some girl's senior year of college. Well, first of all there is the simplicity in the fact that college is an exciting time for anyone who lives through it, and Ms. Nourigat had the foresight to capture it all - the big things all college students remember of the experience and even the small things that can be easily forgotten once adulthood sets in. In addition to the mundane magnificence of the college experience we can all share, Natalie Nourigat's senior year is filled with the excitement of a young girl who is majoring in Japanese, taking courses about super heroes and working on breaking into the world of comics and sequential art. I found myself on the edge of my seat, worried about the Natalie's thesis, hoping she would get to all of the conventions in her area and sweating over her deadlines. I felt like yelling into the book every time Tally (as she was known to her friends) would worry about completing Between Gears pages, "You did it! It's OK! I'm reading it and it's awesome!" but I think she knows that now. I just wanted to make sure you did too.
This is Natalie Nourigat's first book published by Image Comics. It is available now in your comic book shop or can be ordered online via Amazon. In the trade paperback readers are treated to bonus material including a description of the process behind the creation of the book.
This review was also shared on Word of the Nerd.