Journey

 JOUR   (Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1983-1986)

™ and ©1984 Bill Loebs

(From the Slings & Arrows Comic Guide)

The life of early-19th-century frontiersman Wolverine MacAlistaire wasn’t obvious subject-matter in 1983, but the deft writing and Eisneresque art of William Messner-Loebs make for a fine comic, with the entire series occurring over a year. From the extraordinary sixteen-page opening sequence of a bear chasing MacAlistaire, Journey stamps itself as unique. In the same issue he agrees to deliver a package to a community called New Hope, thus starting the journey of the title. MacAlistaire is fictional, but you wouldn’t know it from the depth of research Loebs brings to Journey, conveying both historical accuracy and a real feeling for the knowledge of a trapper. Fanciful intrusions such as Sasquatch in #3 and a crossover with Normalman in #13 jar. A winter stopover with an old companion whose marriage is wilting through lack of communication in #8–11 is subtle and insightful while also harbouring some dangerous adventure: it’s the highlight of the run. MacAlistaire’s participation in #14–17 is minimal as the series concentrates on Fort Miami, an outpost precariously close to falling to Tecumseh, and the series is weaker without him. The predicament of folk at Fort Miami becomes dull, and Loebs seems to recognise this by an abrupt change of direction with #18, as MacAlistaire again takes centre stage. Refined Bostonian poet Elmer Alyn Craft plays an increasingly important role from 18, acting as narrator, foil to MacAlistaire’s rough-hewn ways and partner as they reach New Hope in #20. The community seemingly belies its name, and conceals several deep secrets that begin to emerge once the package is handed over. The final seven issues are a dark and separate journey which considers just how much is acceptable in protecting a utopian vision, as Craft and MacAlistaire play a deadly game of truth and consequences. Journey is best read as a series from the start. There are few concessions to new readers and issues from #8 on are more or less one continuous story, although #12, 18 and 20 just about qualify as jumping-on points. A follow-up series titled Wardrums picks up on some of the supporting characters from the Fort Miami issues, and seemed very promising, but lasted only two issues of a proposed six, as more lucrative assignments came Loebs’ way. ~FP

Recommended: #1, 2, 4, 5, 7–12, 21–27

Collections: Tall Tales (1–3 plus Cerebus 48 & 49), Bad Weather (4–7)

Jump to issue:
  NotesWriterArtist

#1

  3/1/1983
  $1.60
  $3.00
4 copies available from $3.00
1st appearance Wolverine Mac AlistaireWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#2

  5/1/1983
  $1.60
  $3.50
2 copies available from $3.00
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#3

  7/1/1983
  $1.60
  $3.25
2 copies available from $3.00
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#4

  9/1/1983
  $1.60
  $3.00
3 copies available from $1.99
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#5

  11/1/1983
  $1.60
  $2.25
2 copies available from $1.25
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#6

  1/1/1984
  $1.70
  $3.00
3 copies available from $0.96
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs, Chuck Austen

#7

  2/1/1983
  $1.70
  $2.00
5 copies available from $1.00
Story chapter is mis-numbered (two Chapter 8’s in series)William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#8

  3/1/1984
  $1.70
  $3.50
3 copies available from $1.50
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#9

  4/1/1984
  $1.70
  $3.00
3 copies available from $1.25
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#10

  5/1/1984
  $1.70
  $3.25
7 copies available from $1.25
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#11

  6/1/1984
  $1.70
  $2.25
5 copies available from $1.25
 William Messner-Loebs, Randy ZimmermanWilliam Messner-Loebs, Randy Zimmerman

#12

  7/1/1984
  $1.70
  $2.25
4 copies available from $1.00
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#13

  8/1/1984
  $1.70
  $3.00
3 copies available from $0.96
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#14

  9/1/1984
  $1.70
  $2.50
5 copies available from $1.25
One page strip on inside back cover by Sam KiethWilliam Messner-Loebs, Sam KiethBill Loebs, William Messner-Loebs, Sam Kieth

#15

  4/1/1985
  $1.70
  $2.75
3 copies available from $1.25
Series moves to FantagraphicsWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#16

  5/1/1985
  $1.70
  $2.00
4 copies available from $0.96
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#17

  6/1/1985
  $2.00
  $2.50
5 copies available from $1.00
Includes one letters page illustration by Rick TaylorWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs, Rick Taylor

#18

  7/1/1985
  $2.00
  $2.75
7 copies available from $0.96
Story chapter mis-numberedWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#19

  8/1/1985
  $2.00
  $3.00
5 copies available from $1.65
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#20

  9/1/1985
  $2.00
  $1.75
4 copies available from $1.00
B&WWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#21

  10/1/1985
  $2.00
  $3.25
3 copies available from $1.50
B&WWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#22

  11/1/1985
  $2.00
  $3.00
6 copies available from $0.96
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#23

  12/1/1985
  $2.00
  $2.75
1 copy available for $1.99
Wolftimes continues (no title in issue)William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs, Larry Marder, William Reinhold, Sergio Aragonés, Jill Thompson, Bill Willingham, Mike Grell, Terry Beatty, Randy Zimmerman

#24

  1/1/1986
  $2.00
  $3.00
8 copies available from $2.50
 William Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs, Joshua Quagmire

#25

  2/1/1986
  $2.00
  $3.00
4 copies available from $1.75
Chapter misnumberedWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#26

  3/1/1986
  $2.00
  $2.75
2 copies available from $1.75
Chapter misnumbered againWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

#27

  7/1/1986
  $2.00
  $10.00
2 copies available from $2.00
Last issue; Chapter misnumbered yet again; Wolverine MacAlistaire next appears in Anything Goes #5, then Journey: Wardrums #1William Messner-Loebs, Mike KazalehWilliam Messner-Loebs, Mike Kazaleh

Book #1

  7/1/2008
  $19.99
  $28.00
1 copy available for $28.00
Collects Journey #1-16; Published by IDW; Introduction by Sam Keith; B&WWilliam Messner-LoebsWilliam Messner-Loebs

Book #2

 
  $19.99
  $19.99
No copies available
Collects Journey #17-27; ca. 2009William Messner-Loebs, Mike KazalehWilliam Messner-Loebs, Mike Kazaleh