By Woshibai. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Softcover, 376 pages, B&W, 2023
A slow-motion drive-by view of a collapsing universe meant to sit in the palm of your hand
How fast can you go in a buggy drawn by the flap of a butterfly’s wings? How do you measure the speed of waking from a dream? Such abstract inquiries into the unrelenting absurdity of contemporary life make up this omnibus of meditative vignettes from one of mainland China’s most prolific and recognizable—yet anonymous—new underground cartoonists of the current generation.
Every story in 20 km/h toes the line between pun and poetry, and lands somewhere just short of a zen koan: come back to it as often as you like, it will never quite read the same way twice. A nondescript figure awakes from an assembly line of identically-fashioned companions and boards a rowboat destined for the unknown. A man holds the key to sleep in his hand and uses it to disappear into his mattress. The moon is plucked from the sky and fed into a vending machine for a can of soda.
Woshibai’s minimalist renderings are a startlingly delightful cocktail of existential dread and silent slapstick that arrest the mind’s eye with equal parts humor and grace.
"This off-kilter collection from one of the rising stars of Chinese alternative comics is perfect to leaf through and ponder on a quiet afternoon."—Publishers Weekly
"Woshibai’s work is poised to leave a lasting impression on both fans and newcomers to the world of surrealist comics."—China Underground
"Woshibai's minimalist style invites us to project ourselves and our own perspectives into these meditations on existence... 20 km/h will not disappoint."—ComicBook.Com
"There is humour here, and pathos, and a quiet nudging of attention to the magic that lies around us if we stop to look."—Broken Frontier