Going to Print: Taxi by Aimée de Jongh

It’s been a few months since our last Going to Print blog post but, behind the scenes, we’ve been busily firming up contracts for exciting new work by some incredibly talented comic artists. Today, we’re excited to announce that in September 2019, we’re publishing Taxi: Stories from the Back Seat, a brand-new graphic novel by award-winning Dutch cartoonist Aimée de Jongh. Read on for more details!

An homage to the taxi driver in the age of Uber

Aimée de Jongh, one of the brightest new talents in Europe, creates her first autobiographical work, focusing on taxi rides from four cities: Los Angeles, Paris, Jakarta, and Washington, DC.

Despite the stunning and detailed streetscapes she passes, de Jongh discovers she’s more interested in the cab drivers than the view from the backseat. As the drivers slowly open up about their personal lives, de Jongh does too — even when it means challenging her own ideas and prejudices.

Through these vulnerable — and often humorous — moments, de Jongh finds common ground with the people driving her. TAXI is an ode to taxi drivers everywhere.

Twenty 2 Questions with Aimée de Jongh

1. Why did you decide to create this comic?

I’ve been keeping drawn journals for many years now, in which I collect funny conversations I’ve had or interesting people that I’ve met. Sometimes I just want to remember the beautiful things people say (though they’re often unaware of it), and sometimes things are just too funny to be true. Having several journals full with these observations, I had been playing with the idea of re-drawing and publishing the entries in a comic book. Somehow it struck me how often there were taxi drivers involved in the drawings.

Once you’ve passed the obligatory “Where to?”, and they open up about themselves, they turned out to be great people. They are really a mirror of the culture and the traditions of the country that they are driving you through. With this in mind, I decided to focus only on four taxi-related anecdotes. Taxi drivers have a particular role in our society. People tend to see them as some kind of employees, who drive us from one place to another. Like they are the “extras” in the film of our lives. I think the opposite is true: Taxi drivers are the quiet observers that see the real faces of people. In the backseat of taxis, people show who they really are, because they think nobody is watching. Taxi drivers see more of the world than just the streets they are driving through.

2. This is your first graphic novel written originally in English. How do you feel about it?

My previous publications were originally Dutch and French, so this is a big deal for me. In the Netherlands, we all speak English fluently. It’s taught in schools and most movies are English-spoken. It made sense for this particular book, too, because the conversations I had with these drivers were all in English as well. It’s simply the first language that I communicate in with someone in a foreign country. So it would have been strange to write this book in Dutch; that wouldn’t have been true to the facts. I’m thrilled to work with Conundrum Press, and I hope this is not the last book I make with them.

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