“TJ and Amal” Turns a Road Trip into an Unforgettable Journey
If you’ve spent any time in the webcomics community, chances are you’ve heard of The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal. Praised for her cinematic art, poignant storytelling, and irrepressible humor, author E.K. Weaver has created a tour-de-force of sequential art, a visual reminder that any journey worth traveling is one worth being shared.
At its core TJ and Amal is a love story. Two wildly different men drive from Berkley to Providence for very different reasons and proceed to eat bad Chinese food, make copious pop culture references, get chased out of a Goodwill, start a fight in a Waffle House, and fall in love, among other things.
After a disastrous evening in which Amal Chakravarthy simultaneously cancels his arranged marriage, comes out to his disapproving parents, and is subsequently disowned, he wakes up with a hangover and a house guest: the eccentrically genial vagrant TJ. An arrangement is made between them; Amal (desperate to attend his sister’s graduation in Rhode Island) will drive TJ across the country. In return TJ covers all expenses, though as circumstances unfold it becomes apparent that the source of TJ’s mysterious wealth is not entirely innocent.
What follows is an emotional look at family, friendship, and the choices that define us as we grow, as well as the solace and courage we can find in the love of others. TJ and Amal are not only characters, they are believable, deeply relatable people, each with their own strengths, flaws, and demons they are desperate to outrun (or perhaps running straight toward). Accompanying a lovely and engaging plot are Weaver’s masterful and stunning illustrations, including full color panoramas of North American vistas that will take your breath away. Weaver’s dedication and research are apparent throughout, as well as her commitment to telling the most sincere and emotionally honest story she can. The result is a comic that will move you to laughter and tears, and leave you feeling confident that love exists even in a cynical world like ours.
Currently 42 chapters and reaching its conclusion, now is an excellent time to catch up on The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal and experience the journey for yourself.