Ramsey Beyer moved to Philadelphia in April of 2011, for no other reason but the need for a change of scenery. With no job lined up, or a community of friends, Ramsey worried she may feel listless, so she created a project for herself to draw a page of comics each week about her life. In the end, she figured she’d have a 52-page comic about her first year in Philadelphia. What she ended up with was a 132-page book about finding oneself in a new city.
At its core, Year One is all about building friendships and community, whether it’s new ones Ramsey makes Philadelphia, or older ones she made in Baltimore, Chicago, or rural Michigan. She deals a lot with geographical restrictions between close friends, but also realizes how little geography affects her larger communities, as people she feels close to people from all over the country, and discovers that her circles often overlap. Two open long-distance relationships also develop, and sometimes conflict with each other. Of course, Rover, Ramsey’s dog is always around offering pearls of wisdom.
I always think a good journal comic reflects as much on friends in the community the author lives in, as it does the author itself. Ramsey’s Year One is an impressive undertaking, and feels like a whole telling of a single year in her life.