The Abominable Charles Christopher is one of those rare comics that I recommend to absolutely everyone regardless of their age, genre preferences or comic reading habits. It’s also one of the hardest comics to describe in a way that fully conveys the beauty and genius inside, as it is essentially the tale of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman and his woodland friends.
Which sounds ridiculously twee, but the rich cast, realistic art, and huge emotional depth will have you hooked from whatever strip you first glance at. Karl Kerschl is a famous name of course, having worked on Adventures of Superman, Majestic, Teen Titans, as well as being part of the ace Transmission X collective.
Charles is on a journey, and without a clear destination in sight it is very much the tale of journeys – not just Charles’ journey, but the life journey of every animal (and god) that crosses the page. We can break away from our hero for days at a time, watching the birds deal with their marital problems, the rabbit who yearns to be an actor, the D&D troupe, the cat who would be king, mathematical otters, gossiping bees, and many more.
“Life is a journey, not a destination” is an oft used quote, (mis)attributed to everyone from Emerson to Aerosmith, but this comic is the one piece of literature, art or any media in fact, that has really helped me to enjoy the ride rather than worry about the far off goals. The Abominable Charles Christopher is both soothing and challenging, reassuring and devastating – particularly in the side stories of Townsen and Vivol.
The Abominable Charles Christopher has been collected in two gorgeous deluxe limited hardcover volumes, with embossed faux-suede covers. Volume one has also been published in paperback. The website shop appears to be down at the moment – Volume 2 just arrived with me this week after pre-ordering last year (sketch edition!) and I was lucky enough to find a rogue copy of Volume 1 hiding at the back of a Forbidden Planet last year (which resulted in a rare public performance of my Snoopy dance of utter joy).
Kerschl has won one Eisner Award, been nominated twice, and has also won a Joe Shuster Award for the comic. And as with all webcomics, the entire series can be read for free at the website – so indulge yourself today!
Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible. Her writing is indexed at comicbookgrrrl.com and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.