Drawn to Comics: Aatmaja Pandya’s “Travelogue” is the Most Chill, Adorable Fantasy Comic Online

Described as “a fantasy diary comic,” Aatmaja Pandya’s webcomic Travelogue shows the adventures of three wizards, Nana, Adi, Emerene and Princess the goat as they travel through a beautiful and wonderfully realized fantasy world. In Pandya’s own words, you should read Travelogue “if u prefer side quests to the main story, or if you’ve always wanted to try the fruit from animal crossing.” Honestly, the more I read this comic, the more I love it. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite webcomics.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

This comic is mostly about two things: the way Nana sees the world and the way the three friends care for and relate to each other. While it’s often fun to read exciting and thrilling stories with action around every corner, Travelogue is a welcome change of pace. Nana is small, and frankly, adorable, but they’re also a powerful magician, and since the whole thing is told from their point of view, we know that they care deeply about Adi and Emerene. We don’t know quite as much about the others, but there have been hints about their backstories that I can’t wait to learn more about.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

The writing in this comic is really soothing, and really quite different from a lot of other similar stories. While it is a fantasy comic, there doesn’t seem to be any grand quest or even really any bad guys. It’s just a nice story about a group of friends travelling together. It’s like coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal made with love by your mom after a long day wandering through the forest. It feels comfortable, it feels cozy, it feels like a story you’re hearing from your great auntie, the one in the family who knows all the history and all the good secrets.

I also really like the way Pandya goes around all the tropes of usual fantasy stories. This isn’t Tolkein or King Arthur or Game of Thrones — the characters are people of color and the rules aren’t the ones we’re used to. Like, instead of calling Adi an elf, she’s a Northerner, and instead of calling Nana a halfling or brownie, she has one of the villagers call Nana a Baccha child. It’s a really refreshing change of pace.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

It’s weird, because these comics seem so cute and adorable on the surface — and they are, Pandya has learned well from her anime influences — but it’s also really beautiful and well-built fantasy. The magic and culture is thick and rich and seems ancient and real. She makes you desperately want to live in the world of Travelogue, and to be honest, Pandya’s art is so gorgeous that sometimes I feel like I’m getting lost in it. Like in one comic when Nana dives into an open plain after leaving the woods, it looks like you could join in with them and swim through the grass. I could stare at this page forever. I may be a little bit in love with the way Pandya draws scenery.

Pandya has plenty of other terrific comics available to read online. Baker’s Dozen is beautiful and brilliant and is a personal favorite of mine. “a coming-of-age story set in a South Asian fantasy world.” It’s about a young, clumsy girl named Radhika who discovers her place in the world on the night of a festival honoring the mother goddess. Again, Pandya has shown that she’s a master at spinning tales of magic and the people who use it.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

Art by Aatmaja Pandya.

Travelogue isn’t very long right now, so that makes this the perfect time to jump on board. If you’re interested in buying her comics, she’s currently sold out of Travelogue (but said on twitter that she’s working on another printing), but you can buy physical or digital copies of Baker’s Dozen. She also had a comic featured in the anthology Chainmail Bikini, which I previously featured here. You can also follow her on tumblr and twitter.

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Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.


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Mey is a bisxual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. Her areas of expertise include comic books, witches, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a twitter that she uses a lot and a tumblr that she only uses occasionally.

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11 Comments

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    ooh, travelogue is way cute. do you know if nana is canon agender/nonbinary? i was thinking it might be a good recommendation for my sister-in-law’s 12-year-old, who just came out as agender. i couldn’t find a reference to nana as “they” in the comic, and i don’t want to show them this cool agender representation if nana might be referred to as he or she down the line.

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    There are 3 new comics out this week that might also be worth checking out.

    Clean Room #1 (DC/Vertigo) – This is by Gail Simone and is about a woman who investigates a guru (also a woman) running a popular self-help organisation after her fiance commits suicide after reading one of the guru’s books.

    Cognetic #1 (Boom! Studios) – A powerful physic being from the dawn of time that once controlled 1/3 of all human minds returns to take over people’s minds again and make people jump off buildings. The protagonist, FBI agent Annie, is married to another woman married lesbian and has a young daughter.

    Sunflower #1 (451 Media Group) – A woman whose 9-year-old daughter and husband apparently died in a car accident 10 years earlier receives a letter that tells her that her daughter is still alive.

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    I am absolutely in love with this comic. So captivating! I especially like the scene in the shop. One of my favorite parts of fantasy games is the richness of items available. This really captured that feeling for me.

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