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Don't Go Without Me

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ShortBox is proud to present 'Don't Go Without Me' a triptych collection of comic stories from rising superstar cartoonist Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. 'Don't Go Without Me' contains 3 individual stories: the titular 'Don't Go Without Me,' 'What Is Left,' and 'Con Temor, Con Ternura' (With Fear, With Tenderness). 'Don't Go Without Me': Two lovers sneak out for a night out on ShortBox is proud to present 'Don't Go Without Me' a triptych collection of comic stories from rising superstar cartoonist Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. 'Don't Go Without Me' contains 3 individual stories: the titular 'Don't Go Without Me,' 'What Is Left,' and 'Con Temor, Con Ternura' (With Fear, With Tenderness). 'Don't Go Without Me': Two lovers sneak out for a night out on the town- a town where spirits and the supernatural exist as a realm within and alongside our world, with humans crossing over frequently. The lovers get separated, and must barter with stories in exchange for clues as to where the other may be. But, unknown to them, each time they gain a morsel of information, they lose something, too... 'What Is Left': A ship that runs on the memories of one of its occupants malfunctions and collapses in on itself in the dead of space. Alive but trapped, an engineer who survives the wreckage finds herself inside the reservoir of memories, stranded alone in a patchwork dream of someone else's life. 'Con Temor, Con Ternura': For years, the residents of a small, ocean-side town have been living in the shadow of the sleeping giant who is prophesised to one day wake up and lay their world to waste. As the foreseen date of their impending doom draws near, the town decides to put on a festival on that very same night, to celebrate their lives and face whatever fate awaits them together.


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ShortBox is proud to present 'Don't Go Without Me' a triptych collection of comic stories from rising superstar cartoonist Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. 'Don't Go Without Me' contains 3 individual stories: the titular 'Don't Go Without Me,' 'What Is Left,' and 'Con Temor, Con Ternura' (With Fear, With Tenderness). 'Don't Go Without Me': Two lovers sneak out for a night out on ShortBox is proud to present 'Don't Go Without Me' a triptych collection of comic stories from rising superstar cartoonist Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. 'Don't Go Without Me' contains 3 individual stories: the titular 'Don't Go Without Me,' 'What Is Left,' and 'Con Temor, Con Ternura' (With Fear, With Tenderness). 'Don't Go Without Me': Two lovers sneak out for a night out on the town- a town where spirits and the supernatural exist as a realm within and alongside our world, with humans crossing over frequently. The lovers get separated, and must barter with stories in exchange for clues as to where the other may be. But, unknown to them, each time they gain a morsel of information, they lose something, too... 'What Is Left': A ship that runs on the memories of one of its occupants malfunctions and collapses in on itself in the dead of space. Alive but trapped, an engineer who survives the wreckage finds herself inside the reservoir of memories, stranded alone in a patchwork dream of someone else's life. 'Con Temor, Con Ternura': For years, the residents of a small, ocean-side town have been living in the shadow of the sleeping giant who is prophesised to one day wake up and lay their world to waste. As the foreseen date of their impending doom draws near, the town decides to put on a festival on that very same night, to celebrate their lives and face whatever fate awaits them together.

30 review for Don't Go Without Me

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miruna Caragheorgheopol

    One brilliant Saturday, I went to pick up a package from the post office. I read the contents of said package in about one hour, just staring at the wonderful images and taking in the moody, tasty, lovely stories. I had wanted to read one of those three stories ("What is Left") for a long time, and I was impatient for the other two as well. And then... I loved this book so much I almost can't find suitable adjectives to express my glee. So let's try: each of those stories is a wonderful jewel, One brilliant Saturday, I went to pick up a package from the post office. I read the contents of said package in about one hour, just staring at the wonderful images and taking in the moody, tasty, lovely stories. I had wanted to read one of those three stories ("What is Left") for a long time, and I was impatient for the other two as well. And then... I loved this book so much I almost can't find suitable adjectives to express my glee. So let's try: each of those stories is a wonderful jewel, polished to perfection, with gorgeous and impressively elaborate drawings which border on Art-Nouveau illustrations at times, other times going the way of a game of panel geometry which serves the storytelling so well it makes you squee! The muted, subdued but eye-candy colour range corresponds perfectly to the narration: a walk on tricky ground with heavy, complex lava flows churning under the surface. There is also the business of rhythm: this book imposes its own movements on you (and it helps that the Kickstarter extra - the making-of zine - comes with a soundtrack for each of those stories), and each word balloon, each panel, each page lands like a precise beat in a piece of music. If, at the end of the book, you don't find yourself dancing in an undulating way, you ... probably don't dance much, I guess? Sorry, I am getting carried away. Now that I have thrown all pretense of objectivity out of the window, I can say that this is a fabulous book, from the cover to the content and the page grain, and I love it so, so much! I didn't expect those stories to leave me in a hopeful mood, but they did, and I love them even more for that!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cy

    what, this?? oh, just one of the best comics i've ever read, nbd!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    Read my full review at FANBASE PRESS. Review Excerpt: "Across all three stories, we find overarching themes of intimacy, memory, and loss. The tone is suitably romantic and melancholy. We find ourselves wanting to linger in places that are both profoundly sad and beautiful. Valero-OConnell has succeeded in creating utterly new worlds inhabited with strange, new creatures and technologies, yet the reader is able to always find familiar ideas and emotions to center themselves. All three tales end Read my full review at FANBASE PRESS. Review Excerpt: "Across all three stories, we find overarching themes of intimacy, memory, and loss. The tone is suitably romantic and melancholy. We find ourselves wanting to linger in places that are both profoundly sad and beautiful. Valero-O’Connell has succeeded in creating utterly new worlds inhabited with strange, new creatures and technologies, yet the reader is able to always find familiar ideas and emotions to center themselves. All three tales end with open questions, reminding us that resolving the questions these themes introduce is an ongoing process."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Valero-O'Connell is the artist with the most recognizably dynamic style as a limited-run contributor to the widely distributed western comic Lumberjanes. Rounded character models with cunning smiles, vibrant eyes, and hair so lively it's damn near prehensile . . . Valero-O'Connell's art bends and curves with every curious breath. But DON'T GO WITHOUT ME isn't about good art, it's about identifying the melody of heartbreak and the timelessness (or perhaps timeliness) of a tender voice in the Valero-O'Connell is the artist with the most recognizably dynamic style as a limited-run contributor to the widely distributed western comic Lumberjanes. Rounded character models with cunning smiles, vibrant eyes, and hair so lively it's damn near prehensile . . . Valero-O'Connell's art bends and curves with every curious breath. But DON'T GO WITHOUT ME isn't about good art, it's about identifying the melody of heartbreak and the timelessness (or perhaps timeliness) of a tender voice in the dark. This is a collection of three short stories, each with different narrative styles and each with differing arcs of character growth. It's rather unfortunate readers have little context for how these three stories fit together (if at all) -- since there are no author notes -- but the bounty and depth of information crammed into each story is sure to conjure an array of discussion all their own. In the titular short story, two young idealists cross over and into a parallel world completely unprepared for the responsibility of testing their wits against the fantastical creatures there. People with owl-masks for heads. Talking snakes. Translucent god-beasts. Demons and yokai of all known varieties. The two young women are immediately separated, and must learn the hard way that human memory is fluid and unreliable. Finding peace and love amid uncertainty is best learned in a foreign land after one has forgotten exactly what brand of peace and love one is searching for. As such, any truth discerned thereafter shall be all the purer. In another short story, "What Is Left," the author muddles through a 10-page amalgam of poorly rendered sci-fi before getting to the heart of the matter: an astronaut encounters catastrophe and is left with nothing but the reminiscences of a young woman whose neural patterns serve as a propellant for their fated ship. Whenever "Kelo," the young woman, reminisces about being a child, being a teenager, or her current adulthood, and whenever the young woman reminisces a moment of adolescent joy, brutal heartache, or adult indifference, the astronaut walks in her shoes. DON'T GO WITHOUT ME generally prioritizes the emotions beneath the surface. Wandering in search of friendship unearths new forms of loneliness. Loneliness in spite of the atmosphere and health of others begets uncertainty. And uncertainty bred by the curious and eager unknowing that percolates and permeates every waking breath yields, again, a sense of wandering. Readers had best learn to be comfortable with a lack of resolution, otherwise, this will be a tough read. Valero-O'Connell's art is fantastic. Sometimes, it gets in its own way. But on the whole, it's fantastic. The artist plays with composition as a vehicle for different, twisting, discretions of character to such an extent that it's a bit more than necessary. For example, when a character makes an attempt to describe her lost friend, the author conjures a two-page spread with four consecutive, horizontal panels. Decorated throughout are word balloons, each asynchronous with the visual information at play. Readers see and re-see the art, therefore digesting and re-digesting its meaning. Clever? Very. But is it an effective trick? Not really. More successfully, Valero-O'Connell uses split panels and layered keyhole art to show readers what lies beneath (the psyche, different presumptions of reality, et cetera). When the astronaut wakes and views her surroundings through her shattered helm, the jagged glass edges delineate, in a fraction of a moment, the life she once knew (hers) with a life she does not yet understand (Kelo's). Further, the author's application of various shades of pink and purple drive reader interest ever closer to the edge. Clever? Very. Effective? With patience, yes. DON'T GO WITHOUT ME is a nice experiment. The book not entertaining as a mass-market graphic novel but it does hold its own as a confident (if tangled) expression of one artist's wayward flirtation with the mysterious power of aloneness.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Don't Go Without Me (2020) by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell is a triptych collection of three comic stories. In "Don't Go Without Me" there is a rumor that when you stand in a certain place at a certain time, you can be transported to a different realm--one that exists next to ours in secret. When two lovers cross over, they find themselves separated and forced to barter stories in exchange for clues that might bring them back to each other. But when every trade costs something, how much do either of Don't Go Without Me (2020) by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell is a triptych collection of three comic stories. In "Don't Go Without Me" there is a rumor that when you stand in a certain place at a certain time, you can be transported to a different realm--one that exists next to ours in secret. When two lovers cross over, they find themselves separated and forced to barter stories in exchange for clues that might bring them back to each other. But when every trade costs something, how much do either of them have to lose? "What Is Left" starts when a ship crashes. The ship runs on memories, but when the engine malfunctions the lone surviving engineer finds herself awash in memories of someone else's life. For years in "Con Temor, Con Ternura" (With Fear, With Tenderness), a small ocean-side town has watched the sleeping giant at the edge of their town. While they wait for the predicted date when the giant is supposed to wake, the town decides to greet their future head on with a party. But they soon learn that preparing for an expected outcome is not the same as meeting it. Don't Go Without Me is an excellent collection of speculative fiction graphic novels exploring human relationships stretched outside of typical norms. Unique restricted color palettes differentiate between each story here and allow Valero-O'Connell's distinct style to shine in each panel. Intricate backgrounds and lush artwork offset characters dealing, in each story, with themes of isolation and connection as best they can. Although Don't Go Without Me can be grim, it is also beautiful and meditative. Valero-O'Connell continues to demonstrate that she is an artist and author to watch.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ferret_kiing

    More like 4.5/5 stars. Consisting of three short stories, Dont Go Without Me is going to struggle to be absolutely perfect when there are several narratives to deal with. PROS: 🍊 The first two stories are genuinely engaging, focusing on relatively complex female protagonists. 🍊 The art is, of course, absolutely stunning CONS: 🍋 In my complete, and honest, opinion, the last story is really... nothing. Its an illustrated poem written by OConnell, but (perhaps going over my head) only one basic theme More like 4.5/5 stars. Consisting of three short stories, Don’t Go Without Me is going to struggle to be absolutely perfect when there are several narratives to deal with. PROS: 🍊 The first two stories are genuinely engaging, focusing on relatively complex female protagonists. 🍊 The art is, of course, absolutely stunning CONS: 🍋 In my complete, and honest, opinion, the last story is really... nothing. It’s an illustrated poem written by O’Connell, but (perhaps going over my head) only one basic theme was explored, and it didn’t need twenty odd pages to cover it. So, the book contains two out of three stories that I enjoyed with great art attached. It’s a good Kickstarter project, and I’m happy I decided to pledge.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Dont Go Without Me - 4 stars What Is Left - 5 stars Con Temor, Con Ternura - 4 stars A beautifully illustrated collection of three different stories about primarily connection and love, framed through different genres. Theyre all bittersweet and very moving. I found the second one impacted me the most and I got a bit teary while reading because loss and memories all wrapped up in sci-fi is a niche that hits me hard. The first and second are also very unique stories and the way the panels are done Don’t Go Without Me - 4 stars What Is Left - 5 stars Con Temor, Con Ternura - 4 stars A beautifully illustrated collection of three different stories about primarily connection and love, framed through different genres. They’re all bittersweet and very moving. I found the second one impacted me the most and I got a bit teary while reading because loss and memories all wrapped up in sci-fi is a niche that hits me hard. The first and second are also very unique stories and the way the panels are done by Valero-O’Connell do nothing but support the emotional storytelling. The third is a lot more hopeful and it works so well as the send-off. Also did I mention it’s beautiful?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    3.5? Got this through the Kickstarter on a whim, and while I really enjoy Rosemary's environmental design and general aesthetic (not to downplay that, the book is gorgeous, and I'm particularly fond of her paneling-- excellent stuff), I wasn't hit very hard by any of the stories. I liked them all fine, but I guess I didn't really feel connected to the characters. I'm gonna give this another go, though, maybe I just wasn't in the right headspace?!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elena Varg

    This art and these colors are so incredible! I hadnt known about Valero-OConnell before Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me and Im so happy everyone in my circles kept talking about it so I got to be familiar with Valero-OConnells other work! When this graphic novel was announced as a Kickstarter, I backed immediately and it didnt disappoint! This art and these colors are so incredible! I hadn’t known about Valero-O’Connell before ’Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me’ and I’m so happy everyone in my circles kept talking about it so I got to be familiar with Valero-O’Connell’s other work! When this graphic novel was announced as a Kickstarter, I backed immediately and it didn’t disappoint!

  10. 4 out of 5

    From-B612

    An ethereal, subtil, absolutely stunning comic. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone asking for my opinion. Everything is magnificently crafted and, while nostalgic and doomed in all the right ways, it never becomes a tragic, hopeless despair. You will cry (that's a promise), but never suffocate. This is everything I have ever wanted a comic book to be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    I want to reread this collection every moment my eyes are open - I want it read to me as I fall asleep. I absolutely adore Valero-O'Connell's illustrations, her lettering is so evocative of the worlds she's creating.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Juliette Hut

    I dont know why, but dont go without me is like nostalgia wrapped in a life i havent lived yet. I cried for the loss of a person I dont know, I long for a lost romance i havent lived yet. The drawings bring emotion, every page is an art piece fit for a museum. Im in awe, honestly in awe. I don’t know why, but don’t go without me is like nostalgia wrapped in a life i haven’t lived yet. I cried for the loss of a person I don’t know, I long for a lost romance i haven’t lived yet. The drawings bring emotion, every page is an art piece fit for a museum. I’m in awe, honestly in awe.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Etola

    Beautiful, weird, insightful, painful, poetic, lovely.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Lovely short story comics with absolutely stunning art.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    Beautiful and perfect

  16. 5 out of 5

    isabella

    YES. I WANT IT. GIVE IT TO ME.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Dickson

    So beautiful! I love how detailed the art is. I like that the characters all have distinct faces and body types. I especially like the different colour palettes for the different stories.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Her art and writing style are perfection. Every panel could be a print

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Lång

    Lovely art and deep, philosophical storytelling in an easy to digest presentation. I found myself spending a long time on each page just to appreciate the art and flow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ra

    I will never get enough of this art style, get it in my eyes now and always! Dont go without me was definitely my favourite story of the three but holy heck the art the stories; beautiful. I will never get enough of this art style, get it in my eyes now and always! Don’t go without me was definitely my favourite story of the three but holy heck the art the stories; beautiful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Em

    Three beautiful short stories all on the theme of connections between people. A little hauntingly sad.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kaye

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful!! I'm so happy I backed this kickstarter and even happier to own more work by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nell

    This was beautiful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    André Silva

    A masterpiece, specially the first story. The drawings are full of details, and the stories are really very well written.

  25. 4 out of 5

    sen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Pannenberg

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aude

  29. 4 out of 5

    ewa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Winchester

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