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Book Review: The Inevitable June

The artwork found throughout Bob Schofield’s The Inevitable June only hints at the kind of imagery the words actually create. That’s not to say Schofield writes lazily, or relies on the black and white illustrations to pick up the slack for work he’s unsure of. The prose that creates the erratic, decidedly non-linear plot stands fine on its own. So do the illustrations. Either could exist just fine without the other. We’re still better off for having Schofield bring them together to create the disarray of The Inevitable June’s landscape.

Although the book takes us through each day of the month of June, it’s not a straightforward journey. You can look at the prose and artwork that contend to make up a young man’s journey into the cloudiest, least reliable parts of his mind in a number of ways. What you’re not going to do is look at The Inevitable June as simple.

“June 6th” relates a strange encounter with an old woman. “June 7th” describes a surreal, distant thought about paintings. And then we’re suddenly faced with a character that has put a box on his head, and taken to a scene of stairs and shadowy doors, as someone along the lines of M.C. Escher might have dreamt up. Dreams are actually quite important here. They figure prominently into the destinations Schofield brings us to. Thinking of the book as a series of dreams that each believe they represent the one true reality can be useful. Consider the idea of going to sleep on an airplane, waking up, and thinking that you must have only been asleep for a few moments. Everything is the same. And then you realize it isn’t. Everything you took for granted about physics, your past, the present, and even the future are suddenly subject to catering to their own disorganized whims, rather than what you thought you had always known. Schofield seems to operate under a mindset that thinks in these terms. There are moments in The Inevitable June that are oddly funny. “June 17th” is something straight out of a Kafka novel, but not in a derivative way. And then you realize that nothing was funny after all. The next day can reveal something that’s tragic and permanent. It’s impossible to go through the book with a strong, singular connection that links each day to the other. To call Schofield’s work here unpredictable would be an extreme understatement. The world here is not a violent one, or even a particularly dangerous one, but it’s not something you’re going to want to trust to be consistent. The Inevitable June is a search for stability. That doesn’t mean it’s ever really found.

Image © Bob Schofield and The Newer York Press

Image © Bob Schofield and The Newer York Press

With this unique, appealing approach to the graphic novel concept, it is perhaps best to not try to make sense of it all. That doesn’t mean Schofield writes in such a way as to demean even the idea of interpretation. It just might be a better idea to enjoy the ride over the destination. The Inevitable June isn’t really about finding answers, although the book certainly has a clear, distinct ending. It’s about the capacity of a person to go further into their own minds than they ever imagined they could. Certainly, it’s about going well past the comfort of everyday, trivial thoughts. It’s a process that moves, you guessed it, to the tune of one day at a time. Every day has the potential to showcase something different, but only if you can cut away things like what Miley Cyrus is up to, or whether or not your neighbors think you’re weird. Bob Schofield takes that minimalist philosophy, and translates it into gripping words and sophisticated, complex illustrations. You can honestly consider the book to be one of the most original approaches to the adventure story model that you’re ever going to come across.