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The Comics Journal takes a deep look at Rabagliati's Paul books

Updated June 5, 2013


"One Life, Many Books: Michel Rabagliati’s Paul"

By Craig Fischer
The Comics Journal, June 3, 2013

I’ve been reading Michel Rabagliati’s comics since the beginning of his career. My first Rabagliati story was “Paul, Apprentice Typographer” (2000), his second-ever comic, and a look at the final panel of “Typographer” will unlock some of the feelings, past and present, I’ve had about his work....
 
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Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured products

Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul Moves Out
Paul Goes Fishing




  Doug Wright Award nominees reviewed by The Walrus

Updated March 30, 2009


The Walrus
Monday, March 30, 2009

A Wright Awards Run-Down

Last week the nominations were announced for the 2009 Doug Wright Awards, which celebrate excellence in Canadian cartooning. By no means are the DWAs the only Canadian comics awards, but they are certainly the awards whose nominees are easiest to review. Finalists for the more mainstream/genre-friendly Joe Shuster Awards are named next week, but these awards go to individuals rather than books, making capsule reviews a smidge difficult. Nominations for the Prix Bédéis Causa came out this week, but I have been a bad Canadian and an unlettered anglo and haven’t tracked down any of the nominated works. Enough with excusing my laziness, though—let’s start off by delving into the titles nominated for the Doug Wright Awards’ Best Book.

Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle. This latest in Delisle’s series of travelogues from politically restrictive countries, following Shenzhen and Pyongyang, finds him in Rangoon. While his career in animation led him to China and North Korea in his previous books, this time it’s his wife’s position with Médecins sans frontières that has the cartoonist and their infant son wandering the Burmese capital. Along the way they interact with locals and other expats, wrestle with arbitrary bureaucracy, and learn of the nation’s customs and recent history, all while remaining definite outsiders. Of course, they’ve been encouraged to remain outsiders—as with the other nations Delisle’s cartooned about, Burma comes off as friendly enough, but aloof, if not forbidding. Drawing from everyday life, the artist’s detailed anecdotes—about the different kinds of monks one encounters, or about bus trips to outlying regions, or about the enclave-ish existence of the expat communities—reveal nuances and implications about the culture that complement the bigger-picture information he conveys in quick, diagrammatic ways elsewhere. But his insights feel strictly surface-level, and the persona Delisle has created for himself never seems self-conscious or -reflective enough to move much beyond the ins and outs of baby-walking and air-conditioning, nor is he able to make those concerns seem any less trivial. His style, too, veers dangerously close to clip-art, especially now he’s abandoned his previous books’ hand-textured greys in favour of lifeless flat tones. Some silent sequences (Delisle’s real strength), and some architectural and landscape drawing, do lend the occasional bit of vitality to the page, but otherwise the look is hurried, static, utilitarian. Lucky for Delisle that a book dealing with daily existence in Burma can’t help but be of interest, just on its own.

Paul Goes Fishing, by Michel Rabagliati. The title’s a bit misleading—Paul, Rabagliati’s stand-in, does indeed go fishing in this volume, but only for a couple of pages. More important is the trip he takes to get to his fishing hole, an outfitter’s with furnished log cabins in the country north of Montreal. Along the way, the cartoonist’s eye for detail unfussily captures what it felt like to live in decades not long past, as well as the distinctive look of both urban and rural Quebec. The pace of life on vacation, too, gives Rabagliati multiple opportunities to drift off into effortless digressions from the leisurely main narrative. So, reading in his bunk, Paul will begin to meditate on why Catcher in the Rye resonates with him, or the sight of his brother-in-law fishing will lead Paul to think for several pages about corporate downsizing, or when leaving for the country he’ll launch into a jovial tirade about how he’s been complicit in helping computers ruin everyone’s lives. More cute than funny, it’s a pleasant stroll of a book, but it doesn’t shy away from any of the messy stuff of life. Rabagliati leads Paul through reminiscences of hit-and-run accidents and child neglect and miscarriages, too, but it’s all drawn in the same jaunty, imperturbable Franco-Belgian style, full of clear lines and mild caricature. The style so influences how we read the book—we don’t gloss over ugly events so much as we take them in stride, carried along by the smooth cartooning—that it rarely feels like anything of consequence goes on. But I’m not sure that same easygoing hardiness isn’t the whole point of the book.

Next up is the Pigskin Peters Award, which continues to puzzle me a bit. The award verbiage claims this category “recognizes avant-garde comics and other non-traditional works” but I don’t really see how, say, pantomime strips (Ojingogo) or gag panels (All We Ever Do…), both formats commonly used since the early 20th century, fall under the banner of experimental work. In any case, I haven’t snagged a copy of nominee Small Victories by Jesse Jacobs yet, and I’m a little surprised not to see Marc Bell’s Illusztraijuns for Brain Police among these titles, but for the moment I’m pretty comfortable with singling out the next book as the best of this lot.

Ojingogo, by Matthew Forsythe. The monster-battle/video-game narrative has almost become its own comics genre in recent years. Forsythe’s wordless book, which follows a tough but eensy girl as she searches for her camera among mummies and squids and other beasties, is another entry in that canon of work guided by dream logic and structured according to inscrutable goals. It’s a zippy run through the type of stuff we usually see in these comics—creatures ingest strange objects and shrink or grow or transform or multiply, then chase or fight or eat each other until it all happens again. Forsythe’s creature designs can be fun—I like his lanky furry men, or the box-thing with the gaping mouth—and his rugged inkwork lends them a strong physical presence. Still, nothing seems at stake here, and the world of Ojingogo doesn’t feel especially concrete or self-contained—qualities which the best dumb monster comics are able to achieve with intensity.

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood, by Tom Horacek. The cartoonist fills this slim collection of neatly drawn and shaded gag panels with hydrocephalic adults and animals cracking wise. The gags are clever enough, turning convention on its head—the driver in a car tells his passenger, “Sure I enjoy being in traffic, but what I really want to do is direct it,” or a man at a dinner party says, “All my puns are intended”—but their execution feels overdetermined, the amount of thought and effort that goes into the cartooning incommensurate with the quick rimshot we get from reading it. Horacek’s style may have something to do with this, in that his rounded, fully-realised, big-headed drawings impose funniness in big bold letters on the events he depicts, rather than letting it evolve naturally out of the situation. In the right hands this imbalance could prove wry or unsettling—Chris Ware and Mark Newgarden have done just that, with panels where copious text or big noses overwhelm every other consideration—but Horacek doesn’t quite pull it off.

A couple final thoughts: First, in the Best Emerging Talent category, I’m only glancingly familiar at best with the others’ works, but man, isn’t Kate Beaton something else? Her dashed-off, devil-may-care lines seem put to paper by the ghost of a harried Al Hirschfeld, while her banter is currently snappier than anyone’s in comics. That so much of it is a loving piss-take on Canadian history only makes it the more endearing. Second, two of the best Canadian comics from 2008 that I read were Seth’s slow-motion lament “Thoreau MacDonald” and Shary Boyle’s serpentine, unnerving “Grow Old”—both mere two-page strips, in the new Kramers Ergot volume, and neither of which the DWAs would be able to call attention to. Not that those artists are in desperate need of more plaudits, but as with my favourite Canadian comic of 2007, I’d love to see the few strips that are getting ghettoized thanks to our current mania for book-length works share way, way more of the spotlight. Maybe when Kate Beaton’s webcomics win that award it will help me sleep easier with it all….
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Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Guy Delisle
Matt Forsythe

           Featured products

Paul Goes Fishing
Burma Chronicles
Ojingogo




PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by The Library Journal

Updated February 27, 2009


Reviews - The Reader's Shelf
Edited by Neal Wyatt
15 December 2008
Library Journal

Paul Goes Fishing (Drawn & Quarterly. 2008. ISBN 978-1-897299-28-9. $19.95), the latest installment in Michel Rabagliati's semiautobiographical comic, finds Paul older, married, and contemplating impending fatherhood while vacationing with his wife and extended family at a lakeside cabin. Moving between past and present, Rabagliati's clean, graceful drawings vividly depict fun-filled days at the lake and Paul's bittersweet memories of childhood. A touching graphic novel; an underappreciated talent.
 

Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Goes Fishing




  WHITE RAPIDS, PAUL GOES FISHING, & 365 DAYS reviewed by the Montreal Gazette

Updated July 21, 2008


The 100-mile cultural diet:
A look at some new releases from Drawn & Quarterly and Conundrum Press
CHRISTINE REDFERN
Montreal Gazette
Saturday, July 19

"Art is a very different industry than agriculture, but one that also often promotes and imports the exotic, while local produce withers on the vine. Montreal is known for having the right environment for the development of graphic novels, so I recently packed a bag full of the most recent crop and headed out to the woods to read.

The first question I was asked by one of my fellow forest-dwellers was: "What is a graphic novel?" I'm not sure what he was expecting, but I believe it was more lascivious than my response of "ah... comics." But soon everyone who was old enough to read was poring over the selection of books. At times funny, insightful or dark, they can usually be consumed (though not always digested) in one sitting - perfect summer reading...

White Rapids is the first English translation of award-winning Quebec cartoonist Pascal Blanchet's work. This story uses a minimal number of words, combined with artwork inspired by 20th-century design, architecture and jazz. It is pure eye candy that convincingly takes us back in time. He tells about White Rapids - a company town founded in 1934 on a northern stretch of the St. Maurice River. The Shawinigan Water and Power Company dammed the river and built White Rapids to house its employees and their families. Situated deep in the wilderness, its only link to the outside world for years was by train. Blanchet constructs an idyllic tale of this half-French, half-English town: from its inception, through log drivers, fishing and hunting trips, its first cars, to the changes in technology that ultimately caused its demise in 1971.

Paul Goes Fishing, by Michel Rabagliati, is once again an English translation of an award-winning French comic - the fourth in his semi-autobiographical Paul series. Rabagliati uses a more traditional comic book style in his work. This latest instalment finds Paul off for a summer vacation at a fishing camp with his pregnant wife. The narrative weaves together moments from his childhood with the adults and children who surround him in the present, as he slowly moves toward becoming a parent himself. You will find yourself identifying many Montreal and Quebec locations when you read this engaging yarn. Also filled with many local places and individuals is 365 Days, a graphic diary by Julie Doucet. Featuring principally ink drawings with the occasional collaged element, this diary offers a portrait of the artist as she travels, contemplates life, buys shoes, creates art and mops her kitchen floor.

For a complete view of what's out there in graphic novels, head over to the Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore, where all these and many other books can be procured. Or if you want to see some original work, stop by Le Cheval Blanc Brewpub, where an exhibition of birdhouses built and painted by many of Montreal's finest comic artists, including Suicide, just opened.

For further information go to www.conundrumpress.com and www.drawnandquarterly.com or visit the Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore located at 211 Bernard St. W., 514-279-2224.

The exhibition Cou Cou runs until Aug. 15 at the Cheval Blanc, 809 Ontario St. E. For more information, go to www.lechevalblanc.com or call 514-522-0211."
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Featured artists

Julie Doucet
Michel Rabagliati
Pascal Blanchet

           Featured products

365 Days: A Diary by Julie Doucet
White Rapids
Paul Goes Fishing




PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by the Vancouver Courier

Updated July 4, 2008


Graphic novels sweet, satisfying:
Cartoons mix with skillful storytelling
VANCOUVER COURIER
By Shawn Conner
Friday, July 04, 2008

PAUL GOES FISHING
By Michel Rabagliati
Drawn & Quarterly

The fourth in a loosely autobiographical series of graphic novels, Paul Goes Fishing follows Michel Rabagliati's well-meaning Everyman (or perhaps Everygarcon in this case) Paul on a fishing trip with his wife Lucie in the wilds of Quebec. But the book is about much more than getting away from it all for a couple of weeks. Perfectly paced, Paul Goes Fishing gradually reveals its real purpose, and Rabagliati is such a masterful storyteller that the reader never sees the strings being pulled or the plot machinery at work.

For instance, a one-page scene set in a church at the very beginning seems to have no relation to the story that follows, yet in the end has a surprising and emotional payoff. There are many fine moments in Paul Goes Fishing, however. One marvelous set-piece flashes back to the young Paul with his father on a fishing trip that almost ends in disaster. In another, Rabagliati uses cartoon slapstick that winces in pain at the corporate downsizing his brother-in-law's firm endures.

And Rabagliati's art is as good as his writing. From the clean-line school of cartooning, more or less, the artist draws characters, settings and layouts that are always clear, concise, and easy on the eyes. The panels move effortlessly from people sitting around talking to more expressionistic drawings, such as Paul on his hands and knees, holding out a handful of dollar bills to a giant Mac Apple symbol.

With Paul Goes Fishing, there can be little doubt that Rabagliati is one of the most talented cartoonists working today. Books as satisfying as this one, which is as accessible to fans of the medium to those just discovering it, can only push comics further into the future.

 
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Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Goes Fishing




  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by the Hartford Advocate

Updated June 11, 2008


Let's Go Fishing
By Alan Bisbort
The Hartford Advocate
May 7, 2008

For book lovers eager for new and different adventures, or political animals burnt out on the Hillary-Obama saga, I suggest a fishing trip with Paul.

"Paul" is the main character in Michel Rabagliati's engaging series of graphic novels published by Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal, and distributed here in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Rabagliati's latest installment of the Paul saga is Paul Goes Fishing, a paperback original (208 pages, $19.95).

Paul is now married to his longtime girlfriend Lucie (seen in previous installments Paul Has a Summer Job and Paul Moves Out). These are two people you wished you knew as friends, or neighbors. Decent, gentle folks who are kind to each other yet eccentric enough not to be cloying. In this episode, Lucie is expecting and, before their lives are thrown into turmoil by the arrival of the baby, they are coaxed into going to a "fish camp" with their in-laws. The fish camp is in a freakily isolated place in northern Quebec; neither Paul nor Lucie are into fishing. And yet they are captives at this camp. This isn't knee slapping or "deep" humor, but Rabagliati's artwork is charming and evocative in the way that Ludwig Bemelmans' travel chronicles and personal narrative are.

What starts off gently and quietly turns into something darker, which (in my estimation) makes this title the best yet in the award-winning "Paul" series. The things he sees and hears and experiences in this un-sheltered exile to northern Quebecprovoke the previously imperturbable Paul muttering things to himself like "Humans piss me off." There ya go, mate!

Paul confronts cruelty to animals, the bitterness of other men who've lost their jobs to outsourcing, the brutality of the redneck mentality and a harrowing account of a near drowning. It's hard to impress on readers the power of these pages without the use of the illustrations themselves. And therein lies the appeal of graphic novels.

So, why not take the plunge?

Go fishing with Paul.

You'll find him, uh, catchy.
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Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Goes Fishing




ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD and PAUL GOES FISHING in The Mercury News

Updated June 10, 2008


Half a dozen graphic novels and nary a guy in tights
By Randy Myers
Contra Costa Times
THE MERCURY NEWS
May 25, 2008

"All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood," by Tom Horacek (Drawn & Quarterly, $9.95).

The plot: This mini collection of one-panel comics features bobble-headed characters thrust into quirky but humorous situations.

The verdict: Normally, one-panel zingers leave me hankering for something more. I much prefer story over punch lines. But the witty and acerbic Horacek consistently made me laugh out loud, over such situations as the husband by the bedside of his wife and new baby, saying "Let's name him Margaret and see what happens." "Wood" is must reading for whenever life seems to be getting entirely too serious.

"Paul Goes Fishing," by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 208 pages).

The plot: A seemingly average man embarks on a lakeside vacation with his partner Lucie and some friends. The trip leads to introspection, understanding and revelations.

The verdict: I adore Rabagliati's tenderly observed chronicle, the fourth in a series featuring the protagonist Paul. The Canadian-born author captures the mood of growing up and the insecurities that hound all of us. The last segment with him and Lucie trying to have a child is not just touching, it's profound. One of my favorites this year.
 
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Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Paul Goes Fishing
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




  ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD and PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Contra Costa Times

Updated May 29, 2008


Half a dozen graphic novels and nary a guy in tights
By Randy Myers
Contra Costa Times
05/25/2008

"All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood," by Tom Horacek (Drawn & Quarterly, $9.95).
The plot: This mini collection of one-panel comics features bobble-headed characters thrust into quirky but humorous situations.
The verdict: Normally, one-panel zingers leave me hankering for something more. I much prefer story over punch lines. But the witty and acerbic Horacek consistently made me laugh out loud, over such situations as the husband by the bedside of his wife and new baby, saying "Let's name him Margaret and see what happens." "Wood" is must reading for whenever life seems to be getting entirely too serious.
"Paul Goes Fishing," by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 208 pages).
The plot: A seemingly average man embarks on a lakeside vacation with his partner Lucie and some friends. The trip leads to introspection, understanding and revelations.
The verdict: I adore Rabagliati's tenderly observed chronicle, the fourth in a series featuring the protagonist Paul. The Canadian-born author captures the mood of growing up and the insecurities that hound all of us. The last segment with him and Lucie trying to have a child is not just touching, it's profound. One of my favorites this year.
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Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Paul Goes Fishing
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Booklist

Updated May 15, 2008


Paul Goes Fishing
Flagg, Gordon
15 March 2008
Booklist


Readers have followed Rabagliati's alter ego Paul from his unhappy youth as a high-school dropout through his first stabs at adulthood. In the fourth book about him, he's married and settled down with girlfriend Lucie and working as a graphic designer in Montreal. A fishing trip with his in-laws is largely uneventful. Paul gets to know them better, reminisces about his childhood and troubled adolescence, and finds that he doesn't really care for fishing. Such unsensational developments are consistent with previous installments of Paul's saga, all of which evoked the charm and quiet drama of small moments. After the vacation, Paul and Lucie's efforts to get pregnant meet a series of setbacks that come as close to anguish as Rabagliati has so far brought his hero. The art is as unpretentious as the plots. Rabagliati, a graphic designer himself, understands the importance of visual simplicity and thoughtful panel composition to effective comics storytelling. It's easy to underrate Rabagliati's achievement, which is the celebration of the everyday so as to make of it modest yet compelling art.
 

Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Goes Fishing




  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by WaPo Media Mix

Updated May 15, 2008


Paul Goes Fishing
WaPo Media Mix
May 6, 2008

BASIC STORY:

The Montreal artist's signature semi-autobiographical stand-in goes on vacation with his pregnant wife and in-laws, and impending fatherhood triggers memories of his youth.

SAMPLE GRAB:

"The calm out on the water was surreal. No movement, not a breath of wind. Nothing. I felt like we were gliding over an immense mirror."

-- Paul recalls a childhood fishing trip with his dad

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE:

Rabagliati explores the ornery nature of memory, familial bonds and adult responsibilities through both quietly composed moments and manic comedy sequences.

WHAT YOU WON'T:

Some of the references and jokes lean heavily on Quebecois culture, so U.S. readers may be left scratching their heads a bit.

-- Evan Narcisse

GRADE: B+

Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Goes Fishing




PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Comics Reporter

Updated May 2, 2008


CR Review: Paul Goes Fishing
COMICS REPORTER
May 1, 2008


Paul Goes Fishing contains some of Michael Rabagliati's best sequences yet, including but not limited to an extended meditation on his brother-in-law's devotion to fishing, a comparison between the youthful habits of himself and a successful friend, a lovely conversation with his sister about a boy she tried to adopt and a long, affecting story about trying to run away from home while a young teen. There's an intimacy to the best moments that I think is the result of Rabagliati's assured pacing; you're kind of eased into every moment. In fact, when things in the story turn for the worse, it's almost more upsetting than if Rabagliati used a more staccato visual rhythm or frequently tried for loftier, more dramatic moments scene to scene.

I think two elements keep Rabagliati from joining the upper ranks of North American cartoonists. The first is that the Paul character comes across as more of a pleasant companion than a compelling character. He's portrayed in a way that's critical but never ugly or disappointing. Worse these negative factor only crop up with the permission of the narrative, a feel along the lines of "now for a moment where we learn something not so fantastic about Paul." This puts a slight wobble into some of Rabagliati's slams against easier targets, particularly the schoolchildren that bullied or ignored him as a youth or the modern kids at the fishing camp which one assumes leads Paul to think about how much he disliked kids like that of his own age. I'm not sure that Rabagliati can make more complex his lead without destroying some of the geniality of his stories, but perhaps he could stop pairing that positive portrayal with such blanket condemnations of even the worst creeps he encounters -- not because they aren't awful people, they certainly might be, but because it feels like a harsher process that begs rigorous self-examination.

The second is that the book ultimately fails to cohere, by which I mean you'll remember a string of incidents more than the overall arc of Paul Goes Fishing, let alone feel that one story had much to do with another. Despite what seems like carefully crafted narrative in terms of selecting and assembling a string of anecdotes, I'm at a loss to describe what cumulative or informative impact they have, particularly on the segment, lovely in itself, when Rabagliati's story takes its final, extended turn. The cartooning here is so pleasant, the characters so basically appealing, I don't think anyone will grow impatient with Rabagliati as he continues to develop as an artist. But when he reaches for profundity as he does here in a scene of a church without the weight of the entire narrative behind him as opposed to the last eight pages, readers are more likely to feel deflated or even manipulated than thrilled.
 
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Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Goes Fishing




  MICHEL RABAGLIATI interviewed by Planet of the Books

Updated April 30, 2008


Michel Rabagliati Interview
PLANET OF THE BOOKS
April 28, 2008

Michel Rabagliati is the Quebecois cartoonist behind the recent release Paul Goes Fishing. The fourth installment of his Paul series shows Paul on a trip with his wife to a campground outside of Montreal. Here Paul encounters memories of his childhood, comical exchanges with manly men in the woods, and one of the very real and unexpected traumas of life.

Michel Rabagliati's work is amazing not only for its great humor and enjoyable storytelling, but for the sensitivity and humanity of his characters. Recently Michel spoke with us about his creative process, his character Paul and the importance of masculinity in his stories.

BH: Paul Goes Fishing is subtle and emotionally complex, do you find that you produce the story before you begin drawing or does the story and drawing evolve together?

MR: Nothing is improvised in my work. I have the idea of the story in my head for several years. Finally, when the idea is well-matured, I write a synopsis. Everything is planned before even a single line is traced.

BH: A lot of the French comics that influenced you, might be unfamiliar to English-speaking audiences. How influential are English language comics for you?

MR: I was not subject to any influence from American SuperHeros as a child. No one, almost no one in french speaking Quebec read comics with American Superheros during the 60's. We were totally submerged in Franco-Belgian comics: Tintin, Spirou, Lucky Luke, etc. The first english language comics, I read were made by Canadians: Chester Brown, Seth, Joe Matt. Later, I was charmed by the work of Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, Crumb. But, I was already thirty by that point. Above all, I must say, that the pages of Chester Brown were the most interesting and intriguing to me. I love his tone and its honesty. His drawings are made in a frank style without artifice. He doesn't work to make beauty, but to show truth. He's also an excellent storyteller.

BH: Do you work mostly alone or do you share your early drafts with others, including them in the development of the books?

MR: The only person who knows completely how I work and what I do, is my wife Caroline. I have her read everything I do from start to finish. She's an excellent reader and brutal critic! She tells me honestly what she thinks of my pages without holding back. I have total confidence that her advice and counsel will always be accurate and constructive. Plus, she's a professional copy editor and so the text passes through her magnifying glass and is greatly improved by her care. She is my only collaborator, but she is worth more than ten collaborators.

BH: Throughout the book Paul reflects a lot on his own failures and inadequacies, while also seeing the beauty in the people around him. The only lingering sad thought of this book, is my feeling that Paul sees the beauty in everyone but himself. I'm left to wonder if Paul sees the beauty in himself?

MR: I think I give this attitude to Paul to emphasize the other characters. It's true that for me the other characters are more important than Paul, himself. I think that Paul is a little like the reader. He is a little male and a little female at the same time. Neither old, nor young. Everyone probably can identify with him. A little like Tintin.

Now that I'm 47 and an adult who has confidence in myself, I am not afraid to laugh at my weaknesses or my mistakes. They amuse me enormously and really don't cause me any pain. I know that I will never be a hero and it's the same for Paul. He will never be a hero either. We are just two very ordinary men, just faces in the crowd. We will die very ordinary deaths someday. This is the truth of life. It isn't what happens on television, but it is what happens in our homes and backyards. It's important to me that people feel that my work shows real life.

BH: How many of the experiences that Paul has are taken from your own life directly?

MR: It depends on the story. But in order for me to feel motivated, at least 85% of the story must be true. I add fictional parts only to make the story more fluid or to amplify the emotion.

BH: There are a lot of scenes in Paul Goes Fishing where Paul is teased or displays qualities that don't fit into traditional American concepts of masculinity (I recognize this question may simply reflect a cultural difference here). I'm thinking about his initial interaction with the two fishermen when he arrives at the lake, his memory of his father, and a few other scenes. And yet it doesn't seem to weigh that heavily on Paul that he isn't fitting these traditional roles. Most, if not all, men struggle with masculinity at some point. How important is masculinity to you, both traditional and nontraditional forms?

MR: It's comical. It's probably because my father never made me play hockey or baseball, like most of my friends' fathers. My father was the same as me, an artist, and never watched a single hockey game on television. For a Quebecois, this is very abnormal and suspect! As a result, I gravitated towards the things that I naturally liked: the bike, comics, the guitar and girls. As a child, I sought the company of girls who I generally found (and still find) more interesting to have conversations with than boys. It could be that this shows through in Paul's personality, his feminine side. This is why he's never very comfortable in the company of hunters and fishers. And that's why the story takes place with Paul's fishing trip, so I can amuse myself with his feminine side. I found that I really savored these scenes and they were funny to draw!

BH: Do you get many chances to interact with your fans?

MR: It happens mostly at book events. Here in Quebec, there are a lot of literary events each year. I meet many of my readers at these events, many of whom are women who usually are afraid of comics, but are in fact attracted to Paul's character because of his feminine side, as well as the non-violent focus on human relationships in each of the stories.

BH: Are there any projects or developments that you'd like to share with our audience?

MR: I'm working at the moment on another book that should come out in English at the end of 2009. The action occurs near the town of Quebec and this time Lucie (Paul's wife) and her sisters are the focus of the story. The story looks at the death of a loved person as it unfolds day by day. It's something very simple that happens in every family, all the time.
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Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Goes Fishing




PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Newsarama

Updated April 24, 2008


Paul Goes Fishing
Written & Illustrated by Michel Rabagliati
Reviewed by Michael C Lorah
NEWSARAMA
04-21-08

Autobiographical material is a tough genre to work in. Too many limit themselves to laundry lists of events and people without adding that sense of context and greater humanity that enables it to connect to an audience. There are, however, a few exceptional creators who can take the telling of their lives to a truly transcendent level of insight, writers and artists who’ve honed their craft to such a razor-sharp edge that waiting in line at the grocery store becomes an epic struggle (Harvey Pekar). Some manage to uncover themes that make their life bigger than human (Alison Bechdel).

Michel Rabagliati’s Paul Goes Fishing is, to my surprise and enjoyment, another case of a cartoonist being able to deliver a compelling story about nothing more than himself, in this case by focusing on family ties. Rabagliati’s thinly veiled alter-ego Paul and his wife Lucie join Lucie’s brother and his family for their annual lake vacation. Paul, not an outdoorsman, offers some typical complaints about fishing and hunting, though Rabagliati allows brother-in-law Clemente equal opportunity to present the opposing side of the argument. That fairness and recognition others’ motivations carries through to nearly all aspects of the story.

Rabagliati offers several powerfully emotional scenes, including one of young Paul and his own father’s lake vacation, that shape and define Paul’s world view, but the real heart of the story dwells in the twists and turns of Paul and Lucie’s attempts to have a child of their own. It’s an amazing accomplishment that Rabagliati can move so confidently between the light-hearted banter of a family enjoying their vacation to the heart-wrenching grief of Lucie’s miscarriage.

Artistically, the look owes much to Tintin. It’s a good approach for the book, presenting all the characters as a sort of universal man, while Rabagliati is still able to convincingly delineate their complex and varied emotional states onto the simple canvas of his characters’ faces.

Paul might not literally Michel Rabagliati, and there is a veneer of fiction between the cartoonist and the character, but Paul Goes Fishing is a very smartly written, well drawn glimpse into the everyday life of an ordinary man. It’s a humane story, and I won’t hesitate to read more of Rabagliati’s work whenever he offers more insights into the familial connections of our lives.
 
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  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by ComicMix

Updated April 18, 2008


Review: 'Paul Goes Fishing' by Michel Rabagliati
Andrew Wheeler
COMICMIX
Mon Apr 14, 2008

His fourth semi-autobiographical graphic novel

Paul Goes Fishing is the fourth in a series of semi-autobiographical graphic novels by an illustrator-turned-cartoonist from Montreal named Michel, about an illustrator-turned-cartoonist from Montreal named Paul.

Nosy Parkers, such as myself, will immediately start wondering just how “semi” this autobiography is. Paul and Michel are about the same age, in the same line of work, from the same city, and have the same family details (a wife and one daughter). On the other hand, these semi-autobiographical cartoonists are sneaky – and someone like Ragabliati could also easily have just done a pure autobio comic (there’s no shortage of those). So I’ll refrain from assuming that anything about “Paul” is also true of Rabagliati.

Like the other “Paul” books, Goes Fishing wanders through Paul’s past, with some scenes set when Paul was young (mostly when he’s fifteen and so frustrated with his life that he tries to run away) and some when he’s an adult (mostly in the mid-90s). There’s some narration, in the voice of a contemporary Paul, to organize it all, and explain when each scene is taking place, but the structure is quite fluid, with scenes flowing according to memory or other connections than along purely chronological lines.

The main plot, if I can characterize anything in a loose, meandering book that way, is about Paul’s relationship with his wife Lucie’s family, and, even more vaguely, about family in general. In 1991, Paul and Lucie go off for a vacation at a lakeside cabin far to the north with Lucie’s sister Monique, her husband Clement, and their two kids. Lucie has just become pregnant for the first time, and both of them are very happy – until something unexpected happens.

Along the way, Paul drops back to tell the story of how he sort-of ran away from home when he was fifteen, and what led him to do that. (A lot of Paul Goes Fishing is semi-covertly about children – good and bad kids, being a kid and being a parent to kids – but it’s usually fairly quiet and backgrounded.)

So the story moves forward elliptically – going backwards and sideways at the same time, but always returning to Paul and Lucie and their problems in the mid-90s. I’m glad to be able to say that their troubles all come out right in the end; Paul Goes Fishing has a happy ending, as I’d always hope a book based on its creator’s life would.

Rabagliati’s art is still loopy and loose, particularly cartoony on faces, but his people always have correct anatomy and proportions, and the backgrounds are carefully observed and finely detailed. Paul Goes Fishing might not seem to be going anywhere very quickly – like a day spent out on a lake, “drowning worms” as my father-in-law puts it – but it does get somewhere special by the time it’s done.
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PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Planet of the Books

Updated April 18, 2008


Paul Goes Fishing : Michel Rabagliati
PLANET OF THE BOOKS
April 04, 2008

Similar in emotional impact to the Catcher ‘N the Rye novel that Paul, the main character, affectionately clutches to, Paul Goes Fishing is subtle and understated. Yet, it reveals deep truths of life with a power that is probably only truly felt days after completing the final page. Michel Rabagliati returns us to the life of Paul for the fourth time, taking Paul out into the country for a fishing holiday. The action and story line itself is straightforward, clearing the way for Rabagliati to focus on the thoughts and memories inside Paul’s mind.

Like whimsical daydreams we float through Paul’s childhood memories, his musings on the changes brought on by the rise of the personal computer, and the possible reasons behind the successes of his friends and relatives. Throughout all of these stories, Paul, like most of us, experiences the fears and doubts over the uncertainty of the world and his capacity to deal with it successfully. Paul isn’t a great outdoorsman and his inability and perhaps lack of desire to conform to this masculine type, elicits jokes about his sexuality and common sense leaving him an outsider among other men. Avoiding the brooding or anger found in many reflective works, Paul as a character always takes the bumps and anxieties of life in stride. He not only ignores jokes, but also adeptly uncovers the irony of the hunter as masculine type.

As the novel continues to unfold, what makes Paul special slowly begins to emerge into plain view. Paul Goes Fishing is a well-written, well-drawn, and well-produced graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly a press known for its high quality productions.
 
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  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Onion A.V.

Updated April 10, 2008


COMICS OF NOTE
Comics Panel: April 4, 2008
Reviewed by Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Tasha Robinson
ONION A.V.
April 4th, 2008

About halfway through Michel Rabagliati's latest graphic novel, Paul Goes Fishing (D&Q), the title character talks about how he once stayed up all night reading The Catcher In The Rye from cover to cover, because he identified with it so much. A lot of Rabagliati's fans know exactly what he means. Like Catcher In The Rye—and like François Truffaut's "Antoine Doinel" films—Rabagliati's "Paul" comics are charmingly episodic and digressive, using lightly fictionalized autobiography to comment on how people and their environs grow and change together, if not always at the same rate. The difference is that Paul himself is a much less prickly character than Holden Caulfield or Antoine Doinel (or Depuy & Berberian's "Monsieur Jean," whose comic-book stories are a clear influence on Rabagliati). Yes, Paul gets angry sometimes, and yes, he can be a hypocrite, or obnoxiously self-absorbed. But mainly, he's a sweet guy: sentimental, helpful, loving, and sincere. In Paul Goes Fishing, he recalls a camping trip he and his pregnant girlfriend went on in the early '90s, but the story ranges freely to encompass the time Paul ran away from home as a teenager, a disastrous fishing trip he went on with his father, the changing fortunes of the graphic-design and aeronautics industries, the quirks and delusions of sportsmen, a piece of Quebecois history, and the complications of expectant parenthood. The only knock against the book is that Rabagliati doesn't always seem to have a consistent, clear vision of where he's going with all these reminiscences. In the main, Paul Goes Fishing is about the delicate balance of nature—human and otherwise—and how we try to compensate for what we perceive as flaws in our lives and in the world. But mostly, this is a lovely, deeply moving set of ruminations on how hope begets despair, which begets hope yet again… A-
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PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Sequart.com

Updated April 10, 2008


Delicate Profundity: Paul Goes Fishing
Rob Clough
Sequart.com
27 Mar 2008

One of the most difficult things for an artist to do is to portray emotion without wallowing in Spielbergian sentiment. It's incredibly easy for a skilled artist to manipulate an audience into being moved with cheap, tragic stunts. Tugging one's heartstrings is the only goal, and there's not much difference between this and an action movie shuffling around its characters so as to move them to the next fight or explosion. This sort of manipulation has nothing to do with actual emotion and has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. If one was to seek out a primary reason why as a reader I feel angry at being manipulated in such a way, it's because the characters presented to me are either weak protagonists or lazily sketched-out and one-dimensional.

In contrast, Michel Rabagliati's "Paul" series works so well precisely because each character is given a rich inner life. Rabagliati is a master at portraying the small but crucial moments that make up a life and give readers enormous insight into each character. He also expertly balances the themes and plot of the overall narrative while frequently going off on seemingly unrelated but absorbing tangents. These tangents inevitably tie back into the main story but never in a way that seems ham-fisted or obvious. Most of all, by making the small moments the meat of the story, he's able to shift gears and address a series of tragic events with enormous sensitivity, subtlety and a minimum of mawkishness. The latest edition, PAUL GOES FISHING is by far his best book to date. This one's themes revolve around innocence (both lost and taken), parenthood, the creative process and the precarious balance between life and death. These are heavy themes, but Rabagliati navigates them gracefully with a light storytelling touch. Check out these pages; Rabagliati avoids using extreme close-ups of the desperate faces of Paul and his father and instead pans way back to show us a tiny drawing of the sinking boat on the vast lake. Even the panels where Paul's father bursts into tears aren't dragged out--we instead get a real sense of the tension and emotion of the moment where they both nearly died and his father's feelings for him. This is further set up a few pages earlier, as Paul's amiable father is singing to him and Paul notes how meaningful this moment of extremely quiet time with his father is so meaningful to him.

Rabagliati flashes back and forth in time like this as Paul and other characters recall moments of great importance to them in a setting that is intentionally set up as a remote, still location. The contrast in setting and story is obviously deliberate and quite effective. The plot is simple: a 20-something man named Paul takes a vacation with his pregnant girlfriend Lucie to a fishing cabin site on a remote man-made lake in Canada. They meet up with Lucie's sister Monique and her family. This basic set-up triggers a number of memories for Paul: his traumatic past fishing trip with his father, his brother-in-law Clement's obsession with fishing being a result of working in a job that became increasingly soulless, a poignant and painful memory of Monique's as a case worker for at-risk mothers and their children, and Paul's own memories as a teenager. All of the memories relate to current events, but not always in obvious ways.

Rabagliati carefully constructs a narrative that addresses birth, death, growing up and the creative process--and how they all interrelate. The relationship between work and creativity is an important theme--for Clement, the intrusion of bottom-line corporate concerns into his job destroyed creativity, camaraderie and a real sense of accomplishment. For Paul, his job as a graphic designer lost its sense of soul when it became entirely computerized. Dehumanization and detachment are the great enemies in this book. A couple of teenagers who capture and leave a rabbit for dead are representative of a certain deadening of spirit--an inability to have meaningful relationships with others, which in turn leads to potentially monstrous behavior.

The first two thirds of the book give us a variety of points of view on children and how they're being raised. Paul's own recollection of hating school and running away, only to meet a kid in a far worse spot than he was, was the only portion of the book that felt slightly over-the-top. This street kid lived with a sister who was a prostitute with an abusive pimp of a boyfriend felt like a bit of overkill, as did some of the narration. Rabagliati quickly redeems himself when Paul comes home from running away. The scene where his parents don't acknowledge that he's done anything wrong or hurtful and that he's not in trouble--indicating that they understand that he's going through a tough time-- is one of many emotionally powerful moments in this book.

The languid pace of the book takes a sudden shift when Lucie starts bleeding and is rushed to a hospital. She miscarried, which begins a time of great pain for the couple, as they try to have another child and the same thing occurs. This is where Rabagliati's skills as an artist are at their best. The brutally efficient technology of the vacuum pump used to take care of Lucie and the blood it pumps out represent the sense of defeat and dejection that they feel--and this ties in perfectly with earlier imagery from the book. The anger and fear that Lucie feels when others around her are pregnant, the desperate rage she feels when her parents insisted on buying baby items before the second baby came and then the second time she miscarried are powerful moments that have an almost visceral quality to them.

What's impressive is that Rabagliati's iconic, angular artwork that normally has such an amiable quality manages to mute a potentially histrionic presentation of such raw emotion. Rabagliati's line is witty and lively, spare and economical, and yet so full of expressiveness. His sense of composition is peerless, his character design is clever and varied, and he cleverly solves storytelling problems through the use of unusual lettering techniques. The Paul stories are said to be semiautobiographical, and Rabagliati manages to fuse the emotional verisimilitude of his real-life experiences with a carefully-constructed narrative. That fictive element forestalls the kind of navel-gazing that can plague some autobiographical work, while the real life elements provide fuel for his characterization. It's a delicate balance that he navigates expertly.

The final payoff of the book in its last four pages are so exquisitely constructed and pack such a powerful emotional punch that I was moved to tears. That is rare for me with any media, especially since I despise most media whose goal is to evoke that sort of reaction. Rabagliati cleverly ties the last four pages of the story with a seemingly-unrelated prelude, and then provides the final scene with most of its power by keeping it so stripped down. Again, there are no close-ups, no overselling of its importance with gratuitous narration. The sense of gratitude Paul feels for his child being born is conveyed in such a clever manner leads the reader to understand that Rabagliati was solving a storytelling problem in addition to conveying the feelings of his vividly animated characters. That he was able to act as both craftsman and artist with equal facility in PAUL GOES FISHING makes this his most ambitious and most accomplished work to date. There's no question that this will be a "best of 2008" selection.
 
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  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by POP MATTERS

Updated March 27, 2008


The Graphic Edition: Paul Goes Fishing
Chris Barsanti
POP MATTERS
22 March 2008

Maybe it’s true that Canadians are just simply nicer. While American graphic novels of late have been concerning themselves with abject self hatred (Adrian Tomine), vampire slackers (Jessica Abel), and the like, Michel Rabagliati just goes on creating work that’s just as inherently decent as ever. In Paul Goes Fishing, his third graphic novel—Paul Moves Out and Paul Gets a Summer Job being the previous installments—Rabagliati continues his penchant for crafting delicately hued graphic autobiographies that are just as winning as any of the grimmer and self-lacerating work being produced in the lower 48 states, but often just as psychologically astute. Nice doesn’t have to mean clueless.


A Montreal-based illustrator and family man with practically no experience in the outdoors, Rabagliati spends the first part of his newest volume learning how to go fishing, of course. Using the structure of a summer vacation at a lakeside cabin with some friends, Rabagliati spins off from that basic conceit to explore his relationship with his father, his childhood (sparked by his re-reading in the cabin of Catcher in the Rye, a favorite from his moody youth), and the painful process he and his wife endure in a series of difficult pregnancies. He also finds the time to provide a short history of the graphic arts industry’s transition from hand-work to personal computers that beautifully skewers the designers’ cult of the Macintosh (“between 1987 and 1995, I handed over more than $40,000 to Apple & Co. for equipment that was practically obsolete before I’d even unpacked it.”)
Through all this, Rabagliati keeps a basically upbeat mood, with his freshly energetic black-and-white illustrations and cast of characters who are pretty much always (with a few obvious exceptions) smiling. Rabagliati’s approach verges on Archie comics simplicity at times (when characters cry, it’s actually rendered as “boo hoo”), but it somehow never seems fake, and that’s the beauty of this book. For all their troubles and occasional emotional outbursts, Rabagliati’s cast seems a supremely decent and nice group who anybody would consider themselves lucky to know. To create that kind of world, and to do it in a way that is far from insulting to one’s intelligence, takes a rare kind of talent, something that Rabagliati has in spades. Must be the Canadian in him.
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PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Entertainment Weekly

Updated March 20, 2008


COMICS REVIEWS
'Paul Goes Fishing': It Floats
Our take on Michel Rabagliati's charming semi-autobiographical story about a man facing impending fatherhood. Plus: ''Hazed,'' Mark Sable's satirical look at the freshman sorority universe

PAUL GOES FISHING
Michel Rabagliati
B+ — Loren Lankford
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
MARCH 19, 2008


(Paperback; on sale now)
The third in Rabagliati's series of semi-autobiographical stories finds the sensitive protagonist dealing with his and partner Lucie's impending parenthood during a chilled-out fishing trip with friends. Meanwhile, a series of wistful flashbacks sprinkled throughout the story touch on Paul's loving relationship with his parents — this, despite some rough teenage years in which he dropped out of school — and make you root for this good-natured dad-to-be. FOR FANS OF... Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story; Little Star. DOES IT DELIVER? A warm and funny guy (who delivers a goofily compelling Hank Williams tribute, to boot), you can't help but like Paul: He's yet another a man who predictably cites The Catcher and the Rye as his favorite book, but is self-deprecating enough to admit that he loves Lucie most because she's smarter than he is. While the flashbacks remain amusing and insightful (such as an adolescent Paul explaining that while he thinks of Jesus as his friend, God's more like his scary father), a large cast of friends and family — and subplots therein — can crowd the story. Still, the overall humanity of Rabagliati's tale and the wit with which it is written and drawn will grab you — hook, line, and sinker.
 
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  PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by The National Post

Updated March 20, 2008


Of babies & brook trout
Michel Rabagliati's charming cartoons of everyday life are as engaging as they are perfectly ordinary
Mark Medley
NATIONAL POST
Thursday, March 13, 2008


It's fitting that Michel Rabagliati's new graphic novel is called Paul Goes Fishing, as the cartoonist's style is slow and relaxing, luring the reader in to take a closer look. The next thing you know, you're hooked.

The latest entry in his acclaimed series of Paul books is an often funny, sometimes devastating examination of the complexities of midlife. While Rabagliati tackles everyday topics such as family, friendship and work, he still manages to reel you in.

"I don't do these stories for me or my close family," he says over the phone from Montreal, where he lives with his partner and daughter. "Of course it's nice if they can have fun reading it, but it's not for them. I do it for the larger public."

After a career in graphic design and commercial illustration that spanned 25 years, the 47-year old returned to his childhood love in 1998. His first full-length comic, Paul in the Country, earned him the prestigious Harvey Award for best new talent. He subsequently released the graphic novels Paul Has a Summer Job and Paul Moves Out, stories that chronicle the life of his alter-ego, a mild-mannered graphic designer.

While these books are semi-autobiographical -- actually, the majority is drawn from his life -- he insists "it's not just psychotherapy."

It must be cathartic, however, for Rabagliati to tackle some of the issues he does: For instance, Paul Goes Fishing follows Paul and his partner, Lucie, as they try to start a family. The book deals with the multiple miscarriages they faced, but Rabagliati says his partner was OK with him discussing such matters in a public forum.

"It was tough," he says. "When you start drawing it, and you start drawing the blood ... it really puts you back in this particular context. It's pretty sad sometimes. I must confess, sometimes I get a little bit depressed or I cry a bit when I [draw] that.

"I like drawing these stories about real life. [But] that's the problem with it: I have to deal with that."

The heavy subject matter will continue in his next book, which will deal with the death of a close family member.

But it's these real-life stories -- what he calls ordinary comics about ordinary life -- that compelled Rabagliati to return to the art form in the first place.

Drawn & Quarterly publisher Chris Oliveros asked Rabagliati -- then still a graphic designer -- to create a logo for their anthology, which was filled with work by artists like Julie Doucet, Seth, and Chester Brown.

"This was the first time I saw this kind of comic," he says. "I started to ask myself, 'Maybe I could get back to comics.' "

He did, and now his career is almost a decade old. Citing J.D. Salinger, John Irving and Georges Simenon, he knows what trajectory he'd like his career to take next.

"What I'm looking for is maybe something more serious, more adult," he says. "I'm not a big comic fan but more a novel fan. That's more what I read at night when I go to sleep ... I really like the moods that I find in novels. That's what I would like to do with my comics. I would like to give it a more --if possible--novelistic feeling."

Rabagliati will be launching his new book this Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Toronto Public Library (Lillian H. Smith building, 239 College St.). But don't ask him about fishing: He's not much of an angler himself.
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Michel Rabagliati interviewed in Here

Updated April 2, 2007


Frye Fest will showcase another leader in comics Michel Rabagliati, author of the Paul series will make an appearance at literary fest.
By Bernard C. Cormier
Published Thursday March 29th, 2007

Next month, Moncton will be buzzing with authors and other book-types at the Frye Festival. As regular readers know, the festival has put a focus on comic creators this year. Among those participating in this year's festival is the Montreal-based Canadian comic writer/illustrator Michel Rabagliati (born: 1961). Earlier this week, I spoke to Rabagliati via telephone.

"C'est très beau," he said of my English-bouncing, Moncton-area, Acadian-French as we began our conversation.

Although his career has mostly been as a professional graphic designer and illustrator for magazines and other publications, he expanded himself with a serious approach towards comics the late-1990s. Beginning with the release of Paul à la campagne (a.k.a.: Paul In The Country) in 1999, he has focus on semi-autobiographical stories through a character by the name of "Paul".

"J'ai pas fait (de) grand choses en bande désinée de sérieux avant (avoir) 38 ans. C'est avec mon premier album que c'est décollé un peu." Since his initial success, Rabagliati has continued the adventures of Paul in many different languages, not just French. In Canada, from the beginning, Les Éditions de la Pastèque (French) and Drawn & Quarterly (English) have published the Paul books. The books are also published internationally by Coconino Press (Italian), Astiberri Ediciones (Spanish), and others.

Like many modern comic creators, Rabagliati owns all his books and their content.

"Il faut pas oublier que Drawn & Quarterly, dans mon cas, c'est pas mon éditeur principal, c'est éditeur traducteur. Donc, moi, je sort tous en français pour commencer, encore aujourd'hui avec avec La Pastèque, qui est mon éditeur principal. Donc, je suis toujour associé avec eux. C'est que tout mon série est publié par La Pastèque, pour commencer, ensuite reprise par Drawn & Quarterly pour la tranduction en anglais." He continues, "C'est pas comme Casterman (who publishes Tintin comics in all languages). On n'est pas dans une relation comme ça!" Other than being inspired by his real-life experiences, he's been influenced by other comics, too. "Pour moi, les bandes déssinées c'était plus du côté Franco-Belge: Spirou, Gaston...J'avais pas vue grand chose encore du côté bandes déssinées. Tu sais, un peu comme ce que Chester Brown fait enfaite. Donc, j'ai vraiment accroché dessus quand j'ai vu ses travaux là!" He's clear about what he wants to do in comics. At the same time, he also knows what he doesn't want to do. "Bandes déssinées noire et blanc, personnel, plus libre avec pas de constraints commercial pour plaire à des enfants. J'ai pas d'envie de travailler pour des BD jeuness. Ça m'interess pas. J'ai vraiment trouvé ma voix dans la BD adulte.

"Évidament, je lis pas Superman! Je connait pas ça, tu sais: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man. Je connais absolument rien de ça," he laughs.

When it comes to his involvement with the Frye Festival, it began with a telephone call he received. "C'est Rachelle Dugas (from the Frye Festival) qui ma applé directement pour me proposer. Je dois avouer que je ne connaissait pas le Frye Festival (before the call)." Continuing with laughter, "je ne sais pas tellement à quoi m'attendre!

"Je suis allé en vacance à Kouchibouguac. C'est un merveilleux bout! Donc, j'ai été à Moncton une fois quand j'avais 16 ans, on c'est passé très rapidement de nuit," he says with laughter.

Does that mean Moncton will be a location for future Paul adventures?

"Oui," he says while laughing. "Non, non! Mais...je sais pas! Ça pourais..." The Frye Festival will be happening in Moncton and its surrounding areas between April 24-29.

Bernard C. Cormier is, among other things, a freelance writer, broadcaster, and filmmaker. www.myspace.com/bernardccormier. E-mail: Bernardccormier-gncb@hotmail.com
 
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  Paul Moves Out Nominated for the OLA's Golden Oak Award

Updated October 27, 2006


We are pleased to share that Michel Rabagliati's Paul Moves Out has been shortlisted for the Golden Oak Award sponsored by the Ontario Library Association, the award "provides a unique opportunity for new readers in adult literacy programs to read books chosen specifically for them. They can read the books by themselves, with their tutors, or as part of a reading group. In this, the first year of the Golden Oak Book Club, ten outstanding Canadian titles are recommended."
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Paul Gets An Award!

Updated October 20, 2006


We are very excited to announce the news from the Doug Wright Awards in Toronto that Michel Rabagliati received the Best Book of the Year Award for Paul Moves Out. Congratulations Michel!


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  PAUL MOVES OUT on library reading list

Updated July 19, 2006


Michel Rabagliati's PAUL MOVES OUT has been included in the Greater Boston Cooperative Library Association "Reading List for Grades 9 & 10" as printed in KLIATT's JULY 2006 issue.

The Greater Boston Cooperative Library is comprised of independent school librarians who gather together for the purpose of professional sharing and problem solving. At their meetings, they have developed innovative library programs, activities and materials as well as several successful adventures in resource sharing.

For the past several years, the group has produced annotated summer reading lists. Several librarians on a committee read, discuss and approve each book selected. Some schools use it as their own summer reading list, while others use it more informally for readers' advisory or as an ordering tool.

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D&Q artists reviewed in the CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL

Updated February 16, 2006


Reviews of D&Q books from the 30th-anniversary volume of the CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL

Brown, Chester. Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2003. 272p. illus. biblio. index. $34.95. ISBN 1–896597–63–7. CCIP. DDC 741.5'971.

Was Louis Riel a madman or a messiah? The story of this charismatic Metis leader continues to vex Canadians more than 120 years after his death. His struggle with the fledgling and ambitious Canadian government inspired a Metis nation — the part Native, part white, mostly French-speaking Catholics who were held in contempt, if not outright hostility, by English Canadians. While hundreds of books have been written about Louis Riel, only a handful of comic strips have attempted to tell his story in a graphic form. Chester Brown’s exquisite and compelling version fills that gap.
Brown points out that for the sake of brevity he skipped long periods of time and ignored some aspects of Riel’s life. However, these judicious omissions only add to the superb narrative. Although it is evident where Brown’s sympathies lie, he doesn’t create one-dimensional portraits of any of the characters. His depiction of Sir John A. Macdonald shows a flawed politician who was willing to do almost anything to unite the country and who justified his actions with the belief that he was acting for the greater glory of Canada and the country’s future. Riel is portrayed as someone who was charismatic, passionate, conflicted, and obstinate. Both players acted in accordance with their inner values and vision.
Brown’s storytelling and exquisite drawing make Louis Riel a jam-packed action adventure story that both teens and adults will enjoy. An added bonus is the unusual inclusion of a short index, extensive notes, and a list of recommended reading.
Tami Oliphant


Gallant, John. Bannock Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression. Illustrated by Seth. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2004. 168p. $24.95. ISBN 1–896597–78–5. CCIP. DDC 971.7'7.

A lifetime of bitterness and resentment poison this slim collection of memories of a childhood in Prince Edward Island during the 1930s.
The spokesperson — the author’s father — grew up in extreme poverty. The basics of life, such as food, clothing, shoes, and adequate heat in the home, were missing. He left school after Grade 2 because he did not have shoes to wear or enough to eat. When he was able to obtain work in a fish processing plant, he had to wear his grandmother’s Victorian high-button boots to work.
The book is a litany of constantly scrambling for food or to earn a few cents by gathering wild berries, fishing, or doing odd jobs. He blames his father for the family’s destitute state and expresses his resentment toward the village priest, from whom he had to beg a dollar to save the family from starvation.
The book is an eye-opener in that few readers today realize the depth of poverty that existed in Canada at the time. But it is too narrow in scope to be either local history or even a family history. While not a social history, either, it makes some very strong comments on life in Eastern Canada during the Great Depression.
Janet Arnett


Mayerovitch, Harry. Way to Go. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2004. 96p. illus. $12.95pa. ISBN 1–896597–82–3pa. CCIP. DDC 741.5'971.

This entertaining collection of drawings by Harry Mayerovitch, a Renaissance man who has worked as an architect, teacher, graphic designer, town planner, cartoonist, and painter for the last seven decades, is divided into three sections. The first section, “The Other One,” explores the intriguing subject of shadows. They can’t exist without us; they confirm our physical existence; they can appear menacing at times by being larger than the person they are attached to; and they can startle their owner when they appear unexpectedly. Mayerovitch playfully draws on these contradictions by sketching shadows that are defiant or contradictory. For example, one man’s shadow is actually a woman, another is a judge condemning the defendant, and another is an appalled shadow of a proudly naked man. These drawings are delightful; they show how all human beings are multiples and how one never knows what lurks in the shadows of their own psyche.
Section 2, “Pot Pour Rire,” is a set of random drawings. Many of them are surreal and feature two-headed men and removed body parts. Others include a perfectly contented polygamist hugging his four wives while their facial expressions reflect their placement in line, and an angry bull looking at Picasso’s painting of it.
The final section, “Way to Go,” encourages the reader to exit this mortal coil in style. These drawings show caskets that reflect the occupiers’ personality, such as a cat with eight coffins in front of him, a beauty queen with a huge sash jauntily hanging around her curvaceous casket, a coffin as a bar, and a magician sawing his coffin in half.
Mayerovitch’s drawings are simple, witty, and effective. This collection reveals an artist who is not afraid to explore all aspects of life.
Tami Oliphant


Doucet, Julie. My New York Diary. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2004. 110p. illus. $21.95pa. ISBN 1–896597–83–1pa. CCIP. DDC 741.5'971.

Julie Doucet, creator of Dirty Plotte, has laid bare her most intimate and painful moments in My New York Diary. The autobiographical graphic novel is infused with grim realism from its opening story, “My First Time,” in which the Catholic schoolgirl loses her virginity to an aging hippie. From there the reader follows Doucet to art school, where Julie dates a pitiful suicidal artist, then on to New York, where she lives with another pathetic and emotionally needy boyfriend.
Her move from Montreal to New York unnerves Julie. Her apartment is infested with cockroaches, and she spends her days and nights doing drugs, binge drinking, worrying about her work, and having alarmingly intense epileptic seizures. At the same time, she is gaining recognition and success in the comics world (Art Spiegelman makes a cameo appearance and congratulates her on her work) while her boyfriend, who is also a cartoonist, languishes. His envy of Julie’s success is palpable, yet as time passes he becomes more and more reliant on her. Julie realizes that she needs to get out of New York and secretly plans her escape while trying to deal with an increasingly needy and unstable partner.
Though all this sounds grim, Doucet brings humour and hope to her story. She deals with the hassles of being female in a humane, bittersweet, and hopelessly honest way. All of the characters have been drawn with bubbleheads, making them appear cute even when they aren’t acting cute. Each panel is heavy with detail and contains unexpectedly funny or touching backgrounds.
Tami Oliphant


Rabagliati, Michel. Paul Has a Summer Job. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2003. 140p. illus. $26.95pa. ISBN 1–896597–54–8pa. CCIP. DDC 741.5'971.

This charming graphic novel captures one young man’s passage into adulthood over the course of a summer. Paul is a typical teenager — he resists doing things he doesn’t like (e.g., school work), and is passionate about things he does like (e.g., art). When Paul is kicked off a school art project he spearheaded because of his less-than-stellar grades, he resentfully quits school to find a job in the “real world.” He quickly finds work in a printer’s shop, but soon becomes disillusioned with the life of a working stiff.
Paul is rescued from his burgeoning depression by a friend who offers him a summer job as a camp counsellor. Despite thinking he is psychologically and physically ill-equipped for the job, Paul eagerly accepts and heads out to the Quebec woods. However, this is no ordinary summer camp — it is run by a footloose Catholic priest for underprivileged kids. From living in primitive conditions and digging latrines to fighting his teammate, Paul’s first few weeks are difficult. Eventually he finds small successes in mastering mountain climbing, connecting with the kids and his co-counsellors (by showing his sensitive side), and falling in love.
Even though the novel takes place in 1979, readers will be engrossed by the author’s simple, yet quirky and effective, storyline. There isn’t a single false note in this graphic novel — the story is nostalgic, but not sentimental. The characters, including both the camp counsellors and the kids, and their relationships with each other are richly drawn. Rabagliati gracefully and effortlessly portrays Paul’s tentative steps into adulthood.
Tami Oliphant
 

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Chester Brown
Julie Doucet
Michel Rabagliati

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My New York Diary




  Vancouver Courier's Year's Best: PYONGYANG and PAUL MOVES OUT

Updated January 5, 2006


Year's best books include graphic novels, satire, short stories

Books don't just make you look smarter when you're sipping a half-decaf, mocha-lattte-frappa-chino, they're fun to read as well. From short story collections to graphic novels, this year's crop of notable reads was no exception, with tales of post high school hangovers, mythological trees, dead rock stars, totalitarian states and deeply shallow trendsetters.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
By Guy Delisle

If Persepolis was the breakout graphic novel of 2004, then Pyongyang is this year's, at least artistically. Like Marjane Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Iran, Guy Delisle's book takes us into a world few of us will ever experience. A riveting and scary read, Pyongyang leaves the reader full of awe, wonder and rage that such totalitarianism can exist in this day and age.-Shawn Conner

Paul Moves Out
By Michel Rabagliati

A wonderfully executed, sweetly innocent coming-of-age story about two young artists in Montreal. Rabagliati's bold black brush strokes are visual poetry, particularly against the cream-coloured backdrop.-SC
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2 D&Q books in the EDMONTON JOURNAL'S Top 5 of 2005

Updated January 3, 2006


Edmonton Journal
Culture, C2
Graphic novels, comics blossomed in '05

Gilbert A. Bouchard
29 December 2005

EDMONTON

This was a great year for graphic novel and comic book aficionados.

Not only did the once marginal art form continue its rapid development as a full-fledged and demanding adult medium, the output was almost daunting, with quality titles flooding the bookstore and comic book shop shelves from a growing stable of publishing houses.

More than just sheer quantity, the medium offered up some impressive quality and an equally impressive range, encompassing everything from edgy fictional offerings like Charles Burns's Black Hole; non-fiction, autobiographical epics like David B.'s Epileptic; and international career-spanning retrospectives like Drawn & Quarterly's collection of work by Japan's Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

In that spirit, the following Top 5 Graphic Novel Roundup for 2005 is offered up to not only reflect the best work of the past year, but to hit a handful of diverse thematic and subject matters in a naturally eclectic art form.

PYONGYANG: A JOURNEY TO NORTH KOREA
by Guy Delise

Drawn & Quarterly, 176 pages, $24.95

Don't let the fact that Pyongyang is Canadian cartoonist Guy Delise's first major anglophone graphic narrative mislead you. This is a wildly sophisticated and artistically engaging work -- a book-length documentation of the artist's professional sojourn in North Korea, where he worked on an animation project with his Korean subcontractors, that's told with great storytelling panache and psychological complexity.

PAUL MOVES OUT
by Michel Rabagliati

Drawn & Quarterly, 120 pages, $25.95

In this second graphic novel of his Paul series (the first was Paul Gets a Job), Michel Rabagliati continues to produce work that does great justice to Canada's rich graphic novel tradition of sensitive autobiographical work produced in a Europeanesque clean-line cartooning style. This work creates an engaging picture of life in Quebec in the early '80s.
 

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Guy Delisle
Yoshihiro Tatsumi

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The Push Man & Other Stories
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea (hardcover)




  RABAGLIATI'S PAUL MOVES OUT in the Harrisburg PA Patriot-News

Updated November 15, 2005


GRAPHIC LIT
Arts/Leisure

Christopher Mautner
The Patriot-News J03

6 November 2005

"Paul Moves Out" by Michel Rabagliati, Drawn and Quarterly, 120 pages, $19.95.

Rabagliati's thinly-veiled autobiography is filled with so many remembrances and reminiscences that at times the book is in danger of tipping over into "a bunch of stuff that happened to me" territory.

That it doesn't is testament to the author's considerable skill as a storyteller. In this third volume of Paul's onslaught into adulthood, the title character finds himself attending art school, finding true love and preparing for a life of work and domesticity. I really like the way Rabagliati uses conversation to reveal emotional connections between the characters, to say nothing of his lovely art. This book is a real gem.

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The Hartford Advocate Reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

Updated September 22, 2005


Graphically Novel
Four new titles demonstrate why the comics remain ascendant

by Alan Bisbort - September 22, 2005


Four fine publishers, four fine new comic art titles, four more steps toward the takeover of the publishing industry. No, but seriously, the breadth of these four randomly chosen new titles -- which you can find in the misnamed "graphic novel" section of your bookshop, along with mounds of Manga -- only proves what those of us who love the comic art genre have said all along. That is, their combination of visual inventiveness and literary skill opens new playing fields for the imagination. Or, as Daniel Clowes mock-pompously puts it (through his character, Harry Naybors, in Ice Haven ), "Perhaps 'comics' more closely replicates the true nature of human consciousness and the struggle between private self-definition and corporeal 'reality'."

Uh huh, and they're a hell of a lot more fun to read than the navel-gazing, hand-wringing nothingness of contemporary fiction.

Take Michel Rabagliati's Paul Moves Out . Paul's is a sweet-tempered saga, this beautifully designed hardcover volume picking up where Paul Takes a Summer Job left off. Paul is Canadian, which means he's sensible, well-educated, peace-loving, etc. Paul's thoughts are not particularly deep but they're open and engaging. You discover that you like him, his girlfriend, his neighbors, his friends. They aren't rich, glamorous or even ambitious. They aren't violent or potty-mouthed. They are generous and civilized, the sort you'd want living above you in an apartment building. Paul Moves Out recalls the hopeful promise when early love corresponds with early adulthood, before it all unravels into bitter, flabby, cynical middle age. Rabagliati, born and raised in Montreal and weaned on Tintin and Asterix comics, has a unique and confident style that matches the believable encounters in his urban neighborhood and at art school. The funniest sequence occurs when the students take a trip to New York, during which the design professor tries to climb into Paul's bed. It would be nice to see a little bit more of this sort of existential dread creep into Paul's world. Maybe in the next installment.

Richard Moore's spoof of horror comics, Boneyard , has all of the elements of creepiness: rotting corpses, skeletons, gargoyles, vampires, mob hysteria, zombies, Republicans. Like the Harry Potter books (or Bullwinkle cartoons), Moore's work is intelligent enough to be enjoyed by both adolescents and adults. Originally published in black and white, the first volume in the series has been "colorized" and the brand new Volume 4 picks up the actions with all sorts of goofy mayhem, including one character's "Doomsday Frog," with which he'd hopes for world domination.

Clowes is the one artist with whom readers might be familiar, as his Ghost World saga was used, for the most part, as the storyboards for Terry Zwigoff's intriguing film of the same name. Ice Haven is a series of strips -- Clowes calls it a "comic-strip novel" -- that are loosely centered around a fictional northern town whose characters intersect and overlap and shadow one another, not unlike in the film Short Cuts (based on Raymond Carver's stories) or Dylan Thomas' verse play Under Milkwood . Among the quirky cast are Random Wilder -- a frustrated intellectual and poet who serves as the reader's tourguide through Ice Haven -- and his nemesis, Mrs. Ida Wentz, as well as a morbidly alienated boy named David Goldberg and famous "thrill-killers" from the past, Leopold and Loeb. Trust me on this: It makes a kind of warped sense in the end.

Finally, the impressive debut issue of Mome , a new comics art anthology, is either an indication of the widening interest in the genre or an insane gamble on the part of Fantagraphics, the publisher that's not afraid to put its money where its mouth -- and heart -- is. The quarterly, built to showcase "the best new talent in the sequential arts," has been spared little expense, with high-quality paper, full color, and trade paper binding (at $14.95, it's a bargain). It's intended to echo Art Spiegelman's Raw from the 1980s and Zap Comix , the brainchild of R. Crumb and his posse in the late 1960s. Mome has a foot in the latter camp, with Crumb's daughter Sophie contributing three short strips that show the talent nut didn't drop far from the tree.


 
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul in the Country
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  Toronto Star reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

Updated September 22, 2005


Books

A Tintin in Montreal; GRAPHIC NOVELThe third instalment of Michel Rabagliati's life of his gentle character Paul brings the early '80s and the Montreal street scene to vibrant, subtle life GRAPHIC NOVEL
Suzanne Alyssa Andrew
599 words
21 August 2005
The Toronto Star
ONT
D06
English
Copyright (c) 2005 The Toronto Star
It may not have felt like it at the time, but hefting your inaugural garage-sale sofa home and washing your debut load of laundry were pivotal moments. Whether you remember your first apartment with fondness or a shudder, Paul Moves Out will reintroduce you to the pleasures and horrors of living on your own for the first time.

Following Paul in the Country and Paul has a Summer Job, the third instalment of Michel Rabagliati's popular graphic novel series celebrates the process of becoming an adult. It's refreshing in an era reeking of teen spirit and paralyzed by Botox. And, in an amusing reversal of the rebellious youth stereotype, Paul and his girlfriend Lucie are often depicted as more reasonable, cautious and levelheaded than their older counterparts.

The ubiquitous milk crate and dumpster decor are MIA for this college couple. After Paul and Lucie paint, build cupboards, varnish floors and install a trellis to make their apartment a real home, Lucy finds a rat in the bathroom. The bungling superintendent subsequently destroys their perfectly decorated bathroom in the process of hunting the rodent down and killing it with a hammer.

Jean-Louis, the college couple's eccentric graphic design instructor, conjures their first glimpse of bohemian life, complete with an introduction to art-house films, lofts, kitsch, intellectual discussions and mixed drinks. Paul and Lucie are challenged in the company of Jean-Louis' friends. Lucie gets an earful of avant-garde when she praises the B52s: "That charming little neo-retro soft-punk group! They're just great! What about Kurt Weill, Erik Satie, Nino Rota? And how do you like Glenn Gould?"

Jean-Louis smokes in the classroom and inspires his students with contemporary ideas and new examples of design. Yet on a school trip to New York City, his sexually aggressive behaviour toward a student, together with his disclosure that he has sex not for love, but for sex itself (he calls it "hygiene"), leaves Paul disillusioned with his teacher-idol.

Back at home in Montreal, Paul and Lucie make friends with their neighbours, deal with a death in the family, work hard at their studies and baby-sit Lucie's nieces. It's a slow, measured trajectory into adult responsibilities.

Rabagliati's childhood fondness for Gaston and Asterix comics is evident in his ability to tell a simple story in an engaging way.

He spends six panels depicting a tiny bird diving into a morning coffee cup, demonstrating his tremendous ability to draw animated movement. Characters are shown in mid-routine, brushing their teeth and combing their hair. Even when his characters daydream, the story remains fluid.

Rabagliati's technique of alternating between realistic pauses and plot-driven action pulls the reader into each character's subtleties and sensitivities. The early '80s are accurately depicted: a TV tuned to an episode of Dynasty, headbands, skinny ties and a magazine cover featuring Farrah Fawcett.

Montreal comes alive with patisserie signs, cluttered depanneurs, graffiti-strewn alleyways and familiar landmarks including the Fairmount Delicatessen, the late, great Warshaw grocery and the headstone shop on Boulevard St. Laurent.

If Tintin were to eschew globetrotting and settle in Montreal, his life might look like this.

Suzanne Alyssa Andrew is books editor of broken pencil magazine.

Paul Moves Out

by Michel Rabagliati

Drawn and Quarterly,

120 pages, $25.95


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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Moves Out




Manchester Weekly Reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

Updated August 31, 2005


The Manchester, NH alternative weekly Hippo Press reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

A happy graphic novel

Rabagliati draws up a simple, ordinary, nice little life

By Lisa Parsons

Paul Moves Out, by Michel Rabagliati, Drawn & Quarterly Books, 2005, 104 pages.

Not every graphic novel is gothic, dark or scary. It is possible to have well-thought-out stories, beautiful artwork, great attention to detail and loads of talent all wrapped up in a happy and ordinary domestic tale. Such is Paul Moves Out, the third in a series by Canadian graphic artist Michel Rabagliati.

The first two installments were Paul in the Country and Paul Has a Summer Job. You see the trend: Paul has a life and we are watching it. The books are said to be essentially autobiographical. (Like much good fiction, this book and its characters had me thinking “I like these people; I wish they were real and I could go visit them.” Then I remembered they are real, pretty much.)

Each panel invites you to dive in and look around. It is the early 1980s, Culture Club is on the radio, Dynasty is on TV, John Lennon’s death is breaking news. Not only are these real people; this is the real world. Amidst career angst and new love on a shoestring budget, Paul endures all the quirks that make a life unique: his inscrutable professor, his Amtrak trip to Boston, the challenges of graphic art (it’s as hard as you’d think), his girlfriend’s ignorance of the meaning of “flageolet” at an important moment.

I don’t know why this book is so nice, except that it takes our lives and renders them small, holds them still so we can look at them – literally look at pictures – from all sides, and allows us to see ourselves as, for once, not hypocritical selfish savages (like on “reality” television) or hopeless depressives (like in most literature) but smiling simply-drawn people. The art is black and white but the story is not.

Drawn & Quarterly (based in Montreal; www.drawnandquarterly.com) publishes comics series and anthologies and is distributed in the U.S. by Farrar Straus & Giroux.
 
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul in the Country
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  PAUL MOVES OUT in the Montreal Review of Books

Updated August 29, 2005


Paul Moves Out
By Michel Rabagliati
$25.95
Cloth 120 pp.
Drawn & Quarterly 1-896597-87-4

Reviewed by Ian McGillis

Anyone still conditioned to thinking of comic books as a forum for the exploits of superheroes is advised to check out the catalogue of Drawn & Quarterly, where a stable of visionaries has been amassing a body of work that captures the way real people really live. Paul Moves Out, sequel to the popular Paul Has a Summer Job, is so prosaic in its concern that it may at first seem entirely free of drama. The closest thing to a conventional incident is a clumsy and innocent homosexual pass made at the protagonist. But with Rabagliati the magic is in the details. By paying such close attention to the minutiae of Paul’s inner life, and by rendering his urban surroundings with such exactitude, Rabagliati creates both a universal coming-of-age story and an engaging social history of Montreal in the 1980s.
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Michel Rabagliati's PAUL MOVES OUT

Updated August 18, 2005


Graphic Novel Roundup

By Steve Weiner
1 August 2005
School Library Journal
Volume 51, Issue 8

A Pad of One's Own

In Paul Moves Out , cartoonist Michel Rabagliati continues the lighthearted, semiautobiographical tale he began in Paul Has a Summer Job (Drawn & Quarterly, 2003). In the latest installment, 19-year-old Paul moves out of his parents' suburban home and enrolls in art school in Montreal. Everything changes when he meets Lucie, a classmate who shares his affection for comics—especially Tintin, the European graphic novel series that hit the U.S. in the mid-1970s. Paul and Lucie's adventures—and misadventures—include taking care of Lucie's nieces for a weekend and traveling with a hip male professor to New York City, where they are immersed in the Bohemian life of movies, art galleries, and bookstores. It's a great trip—until Paul's professor makes a pass at him. Eventually, Paul and Lucie end up living together in a small, run-down apartment. Rabadiati masterfully presents these vignettes with innocence and artistic flare, giving teens a gentle glimpse of what the future may hold for them.

Paul Moves Out . Drawn and Quarterly. 2005. $19.95. ISBN 1-896597-87-4. Gr 10 and up.

Steve Weiner is director of the Maynard Public Library in Massachusetts. He is coauthor (along with N.C. Christopher Couch of The Will Eisner Companion (DC Comics, 2004).

© 2005, School Library Journal, Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc.? All Rights Reserved
 

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Michel Rabagliati

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  Michel Rabagliati Interviewed on Maclean's!

Updated June 7, 2005


Slice of life

Michel Rabagliati makes indie book films in comic book forms

DEREK CHEZZI

Comix and graphic novels. Two labels that serve as the alter egos for the literary works of a genre more often associated with men and women in tights running into burning buildings or firing beams of light from their eyes. In North America at least, superheroes have had a much more significant impact on comics than science fiction, western and romance themes, an influence amplified even more so these days as Hollywood pillages pop history to create the next blockbuster film.

But in Europe, this separate identity isn't required. On magazine racks on the other side of the pond, readers will find a variety of literary genres to read in comic book form. While Spider-man is translated into Italian, he hasn't webbed up the competition and shipped it off to Ryker's Island.

Enter Montrealer Michel Rabagliati. The 38-year-old commercial illustrator has just released his third title with Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly. Paul Moves Out continues the series begun with Paul in the Country which has been published in five languages. The new volume is a tightly scripted story about protagonist Paul's budding romance with soon-to-be girlfriend Lucie as they meet in art college and eventually move into an apartment together. The rich, emotionally moving narrative has more in common with slice-of-life films like Garden State than such comics-turned-megahit movies as X-Men. "I tried to do fiction with characters that I didn't know, detective stories and things like that, but it didn't fit me," Rabaligati says in a thick Quebecois accent. "If it wouldn't be about real life, I wouldn't do it. I would prefer continuing in commercial illustration."

The story -- a thinly veiled autobiography -- is told in two parts: first is a series of flashbacks that relate how the pair met; the second follows them through their first year of living together. The clean, bold lines of Rabagliati's art owes more to the European tradition, such as Spirou and Tintin, whom he lists as influences, than to North American comics artists. Refreshingly, the book lacks any of the angst or the slapstick and stand-up-style humour that often fills books of so-called real stories. "Some people have said this story isn't as dramatic as Paul has a Summer Job," says Rabaligati. I disagree. The universal themes in Paul Moves Out demonstrate how the form of comics can tell small, yet important, stories. Rabagliati explores the painful awkwardness of falling in love, and the joy of discovery that fills a relationship. It's a testament to his superb writing skills that I often caught myself remembering the first few years spent living with my wife before we married.

"I'm not interested in talking about my darker side," he says when prompted to explain his story choices. "That, like sex and violence, I'm leaving to others." But there's still plenty of material to delve into. For the fourth instalment, Rabaligati plans to explore the difficulties he and Carol, a proofreader, experienced trying to conceive a child. "I think this is interesting emotionally."



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Booklist reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

Updated June 1, 2005


Rabagliati follows his coming-of-age story Paul Has a Summer Job (2003) with a further work of semiautobiography, in which 19-year-old Paul enters art school in Montreal and moves out of his parents' suburban home. Developments unfold leisurely. Paul meets simpatico classmate Lucie ("A girl who reads comics!!" he marvels), with whom he gradually falls in love. He comes under the influence of a charismatic professor and copes with his realization that his mentor is gay. He shares a run-down apartment and committed relationship with Lucie, and he deals with a beloved relative's death. There is little that distinguishes Paul's experiences from those of many other middle-class, North American, white males, but Rabagliati's skillful, sympathetic treatment makes life's small moments seem big, well conveying the excitement of discovering the wider world and apprehension over impending adulthood. Unlike most autobiographical comics, Rabagliati's are refreshingly angst-free. His deceptively loose style bespeaks his background as a graphic designer, and his breezily cartoonish style more closely resembles European than it does American comics. Gordon Flagg
 

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  The Onion Reviews PAUL MOVES OUT!

Updated May 26, 2005



Michel Rabagliati (Buy It!)
Paul Moves Out

For too much of the last decade, serious comics have been so rare that critics leap to overpraise anything that looks even remotely sophisticated. From semi-tough noir books like Stray Bullets to clumsy emo-comics like My Uncle Jeff, the work being held up as the best of the best has often been just as juvenile as any superhero book, and just as reliant on violence and vulgarity to titillate young male readers. Even one of the more striking graphic novels of recent years, Paul Hornschemeier's Mother Come Home, sullies its poignant lyricism by stooping to the kind of cheap plot devices that have made American independent films so dully predictable at times. These young artists feel obligated to bleed all over the page.

Michel Rabagliati, a middle-aged French-Canadian who came to comics late, doesn't fuss a lot with high drama. His stories are personally revealing but gentle, full of kind people with common problems. In the 2002 graphic novel Paul Has A Summer Job and its new sequel, Paul Moves Out, Rabagliati employs a light, curvy drawing style and episodic plotting that overtly recalls Hergé's Tintin adventures, or Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian's Monsieur Jean stories. Rabagliati's "Paul" is a thinly cloaked version of the artist's younger self, growing up in Quebec in the late '70s and early '80s, as hippie communality gives way to new-wave cool. In Paul Moves Out, Rabagliati follows his wide-eyed hero from art school to his first real job, watching himself falling in love and eventually shacking up with the woman he'd later marry.

The book requires a little patience and faith. Rabagliati's memories of his college days are often steeped in mundanity, and even when there's a moment of tension—like when Paul's gay art professor makes a pass at him on a New York City sightseeing trip—it quickly passes, with little apparent lingering effect. But the geniality of Paul Moves Out becomes infectious, as Rabagliati recreates what it's like to be an inexperienced young person learning about art, film, food, music, and love. He works deliberately toward a quiet but devastating finish, which recasts all that's come before as a kind of origin story: not for a superhero, but for a life. —Noel Murray


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PW Reviews PAUL MOVES OUT

Updated April 25, 2005



PAUL MOVES OUT
Michael Rabagliati. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (120p) ISBN 1-896597-87-4

This charming sequel to Paul Has a Summer Job continues Rabagliati's heavily autobiographical look at his days as a young adult in Montreal. Here, we see Paul at design school, falling under the spell of a charismatic teacher, and meeting and eventually moving in with Lucie, a fellow student who impresses him with her knowledge of Tintin. Rabagliati covers everything in a nostalgic glow, so even an episode when the teacher makes a pass at him comes off as a simple misunderstanding rather than a sordid event. The story is episodic, following such tiny everyday scenes as a scary handyman who destroys Paul and Lucie's bathroom while trying to kill a rat, the death of a favorite aunt and a weekend spent babysitting some kids. If it sounds pretty low-key, it is. Rabagliati is clearly in love with his own reminiscences and doesn't really shape the material into any kind of dramatic tale. However, the beautifully designed art goes a long way toward adding depth to the story. The simple moments of Paul and Lucie's life are so universal, and the characters so likable, it's easy to go along for the ride on this graphic novel equivalent of a lazy Saturday picnic in the park. (May)

 

Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country
Paul Moves Out




  Q&Q reviews PAUL MOVES OUT

Updated February 11, 2005


From the March issue:

Quebec graphic designer Michel Rabagliati's second book, Paul Moves Out ($29.95, cloth 1-9659787-4, 120 pp., Drawn & Quarterly) is a warm-hearted sequel to his autobiographical graphic novel Paul Has A Summer Job. Appropriate for both young adult and adult readers, Paul Moves Out, relates with buoyancy and charm with Paul's transition from his parent's home in the suburbs to a new apartment with his girlfriend Lucie in downtown Montreal. When Paul's tiny commercial art school's curriculum changes from straight illustration to the more intangible "graphic design" ushered in by a new charismatic teacher Jean-Louis, a covert history of design is mixed into the narrative. Also interesting are the casual and unpretentious references to comics - Paul and his girlfriend connect when they share admiration for Robert Crumb and Herge,

Rabagliati's style is reminiscent of many 1950s cartoons, borrowing from the era's collection of stock angles, curves and geometric shapes to create enthusiastic panels with lush brushstrokes. Everything seems drawn to match Paul's naive enthusiasm. Compared to the leisurely pacing of Paul Has A Summer Job, the episodic narrative of Paul Moves Out seems almost dense, filled with many places and time changes. To Rabagliati's credit, these shifts appear deceptively natural and effortless. At times, the story's elements are tied up too neatly, yet in the final analysis I was charmed by the book.

Dave Howard


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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country
Paul Moves Out




Montreal MIrror features Rabagliati's PAUL MOVES OUT

Updated January 13, 2005



January 6th, 2005
Paul Moves Out

Dog days of winter
Isa Tousignant
 
Rabagliati's domestic bliss

Michel Rabagliati's upcoming book is the perfect distraction
What a stroke of luck that I remembered to throw the advance copy of Michel Rabagliati's Paul Moves Out into my bag before flying out of the office for the holidays. Turns out I spent most of my first days off in a year and a half - sigh - on my back, and not in a fun way. I, like many of you I'm sure, spewed phlegm and hacked the lungs right out of my chest from December 25 to January 2, inclusively. Oh cruel fate! But it gave me a lot of time to read.

Paul Moves Out is the third instalment of Rabagliati's Paul series, which began with Paul in the Country in 2000 and Paul Has a Summer Job in 2003. The originals were published in French by Les Éditions de la Pastèque, but Drawn & Quarterly, that most efficient of local comic providers, has set out to translate them all for our multilingual reading pleasure.

Rabagliati's Paul series is the kind of clean, easy comic that unsuspectingly whiles away the hours by engulfing you in its universe of innocence. The stories are set in Montreal, where the character Paul lives. The city is represented with much more intimacy and detail than one would expect from Rabagliati's pared down, stylized form; as Paul walks down the street we see a background of Boulevard St-Laurent, Mount Royal, St-Léonard. The stories told are the anecdotes that make up a happy, secure life - nothing dramatic or spectacular, but readably discreet and charming. Unlike other biographical comics, the Paul series is not autobiographical, so it maintains a refreshing distance from Rabagliati and the fashionable (and often cloying) self-referential exploration of the creative process.

Paul Moves Out updates readers on Paul's life as a 19-year-old design student who has just moved out of his parents' home to live with his girlfriend Lucie. The book builds a generously rounded out narrative illustrating this time in the character's life, from his meeting of Lucie to his relationship with a life-changing professor early in his studies, to his inner debate of sexual identity issues, to the death of a cherished aunt. These are small parables, in the grand scheme of things (or compared to a comic series like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis), but they make up most of our lives, and as such are relevant and unsentimentally important.

Rabagliati only began drawing comics at age 36, after working as a graphic designer for 20 years; when he was asked to design a logo for Drawn & Quarterly he encountered the whole new world of comics. He counts as his (highly recognizable) influences Tintin, Spirou and Gaston Lagaffe. Like them, he has an implacable sense of storytelling.

Look for the release of Paul Moves Out in early spring, that glorious time when, with the melting snow, colds flow out of our thawing bodies to become distant memories. Achoo!
 

 
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country
Paul Moves Out




  Globe & Mail Highlights Walt & Skeezix & Paul Moves Out

Updated January 4, 2005


Weekend Review

Live in 2005

Books; Batman's back, U2 is touring for the first time in four years and our theatre critic is suggesting you reserve early for a play called The Dishwashers. Here's what to look forward to in the new year . . .

REBECCA CALDWELL
460 words
1 January 2005
The Globe and Mail
R1
English
All material copyright Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. or its licensors. All rights reserved.

The beginning of the calendar year is usually a chance for those in the publishing industry to do some much-needed hibernating after the abundant harvest of the fall season and the overindulgences of the holidays. This year, however, starts with a bang, as well as some happiness and heat.

First, in January, there's Stephen Marche's Raymond and Hannah (Doubleday Canada), a distinctly modern love story about a couple whose intense one-night stand turns into the affair of a lifetime.

February brings Anne Giardini's The Sad Truth About Happiness (HarperCollins Canada), a comic novel about one woman's quest for contentment confounded by her sisters.

In March comes Kristen den Hartog's Origin of Haloes (McClelland & Stewart), a story about a pregnant young gymnast whose lies about the identity of the father of her child change her life. Later that month sees the release of Camilla Gibb's third novel, Sweetness in the Belly (Doubleday Canada). Set in Thatcher's London, it's the story of a white Muslim woman who flees her native Ethiopia and her lover during the revolution.

Perhaps the most anticipated book of next season arrives in April: Joseph Boyden's debut novel Three-Day Road, achronicle of the experience of two native Canadians serving as snipers in the First World War. For many publishers, it was the book that got away from them during manuscript-auction time, finally ending up at Penguin Canada.

Another big book to appear in April is the non-fiction title Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Betrayal in a Saudi Jail (M&S), by William Sampson. His account of his gruesome 21/2 years in prison awaiting execution also offers a probing analysis of 21st-century geopolitics, particularly U.S.-Saudi relations.

Two mysteries to look for in April: Sugarmilk Falls (M&S), expected to be a breakout book for crime writer Ilona van Mil, about a clash over the ownership of a strip of Ontario sugarbush; and a third in the John Cardinal series, Blackfly Season (Random House Canada), by Giles Blunt.

In June, Montreal's Drawn & Quarterly will release Walt & Skeezix, the first in a series of Frank King's legendary Gasoline Alley strips, edited and designed by Chris Ware with an introduction by Jeet Heer. D&Q will also release Michel Rabagliati's latest Paul tale, Paul Moves Out, the sequel to 2003 fave Paul Has a Summer Job.

Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Frank King

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Walt and Skeezix: 1921-1922 (Volume One)
Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul Moves Out




Ottawa Citizen Reprints Time.com's "Best Comics of 2003"

Updated January 14, 2004


The best comics of the year, according to Time magazine:

The Ottawa Citizen
581 words
4 January 2004
Ottawa Citizen
Final
D2
English
Copyright © 2004 Ottawa Citizen

1. Blankets

By Craig Thompson

This semi-autobiographical novel, set in the snowy hinterlands of Wisconsin, tells the story of a lonely, artistic young man who struggles with his fundamentalist Christian upbringing when he falls in love. Fluidly told over 582 pages, Blankets magically re-creates the high emotional stakes of adolescence. Thompson has set new bars for the medium not just in length, but breadth.

2. The Fixer

By Joe Sacco

Sacco continues his pioneering work in comix journalism with this profile of a shady Sarajevo native and his stories of the city's siege during the early 90s. Combining detailed artwork with dynamic layouts and a grasp of the relativeness of truth, The Fixer is a vital pure comix

experience.

3. Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi

It couldn't be more prescient or unexpected: a comix-style memoir by a woman who grew up during the Iranian revolution. Totally unique and utterly fascinating, Satrapi's simple style reveals the complexities of this veiled-off world.

4. Buddha, Vols. 1 & 2

By Osamu Tezuka

Japanese comix master Tezuka adds his own characters and stories to the life of the Buddha in these first two books of a projected eight. While always playful and entertaining, the central themes -- the cycles of karma and respect for all living creatures -- never stray from the tenets of the faith.

5. Nightmare Alley

Adapted by Spain

Spain, a veteran of the underground era of adult comix, adapts William Lindsay Gresham's 1946 novel of the midway. The perfect "comix noir" of a colourless world, Nightmare Alley churns your guts and loins with its nihilism, sex and freaks.

6. Louis Riel

By Chester Brown

Drawing the characters in a style more akin to daily cartoon gag strips, Brown tells the true story of a Metis mystic who led a rebellion against the Canadian government during the late 19th century. It's a compelling package that uses history to explore the nature of belief, madness and power.

7. Paul has a Summer Job

By Michael Rabagliati

Rabagliati's thinly veiled autobiography tells a genuinely moving coming-of-age story of a summer as a camp counsellor. Charmingly illustrated, the book follows Paul as he moves from self-pity to self-confidence, learning to live outside of himself through falling in love and helping others.

8. Palomar

By Gilbert Hernandez

At last all of Hernandez' stories located in Palomar, the small town "somewhere south of the U.S. border," have been collected into one volume. First appearing in the '80s and '90s, these deeply influential tales, a sort of Archie-comics-meets-Marquez melange of complicated pan-American inter-relationships, are a comix epic.

9. League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2

By Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill

Forget the movie, if you haven't already. Writer Moore and penciller O'Neill take their cast of fictional 19th-century characters, including the Invisible Man, Mr. Hyde and Alan Quatermain and pit them against H.G. Wells' invaders from Mars. It's pure entertainment that also involves topical themes of foreign threats, WMDs and gene-splicing.

10. The Yellow Jar

By Patrick Atagnan

The never-before-published Atagnan turns traditional Japanese folk tales into gorgeous, full-colour comix told in a style reminiscent of ancient Japanese prints. Beautiful to look at and a delight to read, The Yellow Jar made for a knockout debut.
 

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Chester Brown
Joe Sacco
Michel Rabagliati

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The Fixer
Paul Has a Summer Job




  Dazed & Confused Features Paul Has A Summer Job

Updated December 17, 2003


The UK glossy magazine Dazed & Confused highlights Michel Rabagliati's PAUL HAS A SUMMER JOB in a feature on Canadian cartoonists.

Paul Gravett states that "Rabagliati's personal cultural specific telling of his coming-of-age sparkles with details of Quebecois life..."

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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country




Dupuy & Berberian and Michel Rabagliati In Montreal

Updated November 7, 2003


Paris' Dupuy & Berberian and Montreal's Michel Rabagliati will be signing at the Fichtre! booth at the French book festival Salon Du Livre.

Saturday, 11/15 at Hall d’exposition, Place Bonaventure:

11 AM Dupuy & Berberian
1 PM Michel Rabagliati

Please note that they will be signing their D+Q (english) books.
 
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Drawn & Quarterly
Michel Rabagliati

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Drawn & Quarterly (NEW series) Volume 5
Paul Has a Summer Job




  Calgary Herald likes R. Crumb and Michel Rabagliati

Updated August 27, 2003


It's official: The Calgary Herald has reported on June 7th, 2003 that "Comics [are] not only for kids". Oh well, at least the article itself was well-written. Click here for a PDF of 2 of the reviews that appeared that day...
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R. Crumb
Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




Paul Has A Summer Job reviewed in Toro Magazine

Updated July 11, 2003


Toro, the Canadian "men's lifestyle" magazine, reviews Michel Rabagliati's Paul Has A Summer Job in its June/July 2003 issue. "Rabagliati deftly explores Paul's world through simple black and white line drawings and a humourous, honest narrative."
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




  Michel Rabagliati interview on Newsorama.com

Updated June 15, 2003


Best New Talent Harvey Award winner Michel Rabagliati is interviewed on newsorama.com below.
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country




PAUL an Intercom for God: VLS

Updated May 22, 2003


Village Voice Literary Supplement

STARRING ROLES
BY ED PARK
These Books are Intercoms for God

The Goldbarthian spirit commands that I either trick out this review in footnotes or (better) find a sympathetic companion piece, which is why I rope in Paul Has a Summer Job, the first book-length work by Québecois graphic novelist Michel Rabagliati. Appended to the plangent reminiscence of a stint as a camp counselor for underprivileged kids are a few notes explicating his native region's culture, circa 1979. But events in Rabagliati's patient story itself remind me of Pieces. Having quit high school after administrators scuttle his art project (based on Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince), narrator Paul heads for the open air, where he gradually shakes off his adolescent angst. He becomes a favorite of the campers, especially a blind girl, Marie; by summer's end, he's fallen in love with his co-counselor, Annie. Marie loses her beloved good-luck doll; Annie shows him a secret star near the Big Dipper. All this is done with considerable tenderness. Rabagliati's confessional writing is free of self-loathing, and his black-and-white panels eschew half-tones for a spirited line that adeptly conveys the messiness and joy of youth.

Time passes; Paul has a family, and one afternoon, at a distant house party, he realizes that he's overlooking the abandoned campsite. In an anecdote straight out of Goldbarth's list of the lost and found, he literally discovers Marie's talisman, as night falls all around him. Throughout, supergroup anthems lend goofy period color, but I dare you not to blink when "Wish You Were Here" wafts through the closing panels, as star, doll, and The Little Prince align in soulful syzygy . . . or some softer phrase. What did they call it back then? Emotional rescue.

Ed Park's fiction appears in Trampoline, out in July from Small Beer Press. He co-edits The Believer
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




Comic Book Galaxy: Rabagliati's "touch of a master."

Updated May 2, 2003


From Comic Book Galaxy
Alan David Doane

Paul Has A Summer Job by
Michel Rabagliati

Rabagliati's style is wholly Canadian in mood and tempo -- relaxed, as I said earlier, but keenly observant and generous in its level of detail. I've never been to a summer camp, but we experience everything Paul does, from the sparkling lake waters to the dizzying heights of his first rock climbing experience. Perhaps most evocative is the scene in which Paul, by now fully alive for perhaps the first time, describes for a blind girl the mountains before the two of them:

"Behind the lake there's a dark forest, pine and spruce. And then there are mountains, one behind the other like pieces of cardboard, and they get paler the farther you look."

It's a brilliant sequence, perfect in every way. It's how I see the mountains where I live. The way Paul shares this with the young blind girl, Marie, is heartbreaking and uplifting at once, transforming both of them and the reader as well, putting all three of us a little more in touch with our humanity. It is, finally, one of the most devastatingly effective moments I have ever experienced in any artform, and one I'll remember every time I look toward the mountains.
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




PAUL "the first great comic work of this year"

Updated May 1, 2003


Breakdowns
by Chris Allen

What differentiates this book from a lot of the earnest, naked romantic comics from male creators these days is a maturity and a more sophisticated level of writing. Rabagliati began creating comics after his 20s were over, and after a career in graphic design, so the typical bohemian/bad dates/sophomoric jokes/pretentious formal experiment phases are over. This is a man looking back on a period of his life with some distance, and from the perspective of a father, and so he’s able to pull off some luminous, John Irvingesque storytelling involving the passing on of gifts and how their contexts change over time. Hey, he’s even able to work in a cute, plucky blind girl camper and have it be effective and not maudlin. His graphic design years also benefit the reader by presenting artwork fully formed, a bold and confident line somewhat reminiscent of Craig Thompson and Crockett Johnson. This is a warm, layered work full of compassion and quiet epiphanies, and not to be missed. Already a front-runner for next year’s awards.
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country




  Paul of Montreal in Exclaim! Canada's Music Mag

Updated March 28, 2003


Paul of Montreal
Cartoonist Michel Rabagliati Preserves Montreal’s Vanishing Past
By Guy Leshinski
March 27, 2003
“I want the reader to take a trip,” he says, “I want to point out little things that are Quebecois and charming and poetic, the different undulations of accents, the expressions and imagination. I don’t know if Quebecois culture is going to survive; I want it to be printed somewhere.” He keeps photography books of old Montreal street scenes, for inspiration, and with his own camera has filled an album with shots of the city’s streets and houses, all of which finds its way into his panels. “The city is transforming itself. It’s becoming trendy, with specialised boutiques. Mont Royal Avenue is now devoted to the jet set. I’m nostalgic.”
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




TCAF Coverage in NOW Toronto

Updated March 27, 2003


COMICS GROW UP
COMPREHENSIVE FEST SPOTLIGHTS TOP GRAPHIC NOVELISTS
BY EMILY POHL-WEARY

Toronto Comic Arts Festival runs Friday-Saturday (March 28-29).

It's about time Toronto gave credit to the talents who make up our insular but burgeoning community of cartoonists, inkers and animators. The marginalized genre is gaining recognition (Nick Hornby penned a special feature on the subject in the New York Times book review section recently), and local artists are at the movement's cutting edge.

This weekend's large-scale Toronto Comic Arts Festival feels like a shower of comicky goodness after a drought. It was conceived by alt-minded visionary Peter Birkemoe, owner of long-standing comic bookstore the Beguiling on Markham.

"The comics medium is one of the very few visual media that let you do it all yourself -- write, draw and produce the things," says Birkemoe. "It's very much like a film except that it's essentially a one-person show. The best comics are made by an individual creator."

All day Saturday you can check out artists' wares and listen to panel discussions with veteran Canadian artists like Chester Brown (creator of the infamous Louis Riel comic), Darwyn Cook, who recently redesigned Catwoman for DC Comics, and Seth (the mind behind Palookaville).

Also expect to see out-of-towners like David Mack from Kentucky, who straddles the indie and mainstream comic worlds with his own series, Kabuki, and recent artwork for Marvel's Daredevil, and Phoebe Gloeckner (A Child's Life, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl).

An exhibition at Trinity-St. Paul's includes work by over 50 artists, and the afternoon symposium at the Tranzac is filled with industry-specific panel discussions, including ones on the history of comics in Toronto, women and comics, self-publishing and how to break into the mainstream.

In the afternoon, the $20 Strip Show, a one-of-a-kind art show and festival fundraiser, features enlarged comic strips inked by this year's guests. Then the day's topped off with an evening of artists' presentations, followed by alt-country band the Jane Waynes.

Tomorrow night (Friday, March 28) there's a launch for Toronto's hardest-working cartoonist, Matthew Blackett. Eight issues of his cartoon M@B -- NOW critics' fave underground publication for 2002 -- have been collected into one odd little perfect-bound package.

"The book encompasses my time living in the area and captures the intricacies of the sidewalk ballet," says Blackett.

Anyone who frequents the College strip will agree that Wide Collar Crimes is perfect bathroom reading material -- you'll even recognize your friends. In fact, if you hang out long enough, you'll probably see Blackett himself postering the hood with M@B propaganda.

Hallucinatory Vancouver indie artist Marc Bell will be selling copies of his hot-off-the-press Highwater book, Shrimpy And Paul And Friends. His two penile characters frolic in a world of hypnotizing soccer balls and booze. Too bad Bell's book didn't arrive from the New York publisher in time for him to launch it last Sunday with local talent Marc Ngui, creator of Enter Avariz, half anti-corporate manifesto and half Super Mario Brothers game.

Bell's small-press stuff ably displays his skill and the creativity that goes into his weird mini-universes. My favourite is The Stacks, a graphic rant aimed at the Canada Council, who kept denying him funding. Bell's meticulous and detailed response was to send them a chapbook of brick snakes. That's right, brick snakes.

Comic press Drawn and Quarterly also launches Paul Has A Summer Job, by Michel Rabagliati, who, having grown up in Montreal on classic French graphic novels like Tintin and Asterix, has a style and content that are distinctively Quebecois.

Pedlar Press has also produced an offering by Toronto's Lorenz Peter. Chaos Mission is about two northern Albertan teens who escape suburbia and begin a harrowing journey to the big city full of poverty and drugs.

The fest offers a unique opportunity to experience all this work together in one place. The community is by nature a transient one, and the self-publishers who produce limited-edition one-offs are often the most interesting.

Catch them now, because today's indie rising star might be sucked up by Disney tomorrow.
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Featured artists

Jason Lutes
Seth
Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Berlin, Book One: City of Stones
Palooka-Ville #16




  Montreal Lit Fest Hosts Rabagliati & Comix

Updated March 25, 2003


Drawn & Quarterly and Blue Metropolis presents:

Michel Rabagliati won the 2000 Harvey Award for Best New Talent and now he's back to deliver on his promise. Paul has A Summer Job is an all new entirely original 160 page graphic novel about the summer of 1979, and it's his most accomplished book to date. Set in a summer camp in the Laurentians, this is a coming-of-age story with own distinctive Quebecois flavour.

Wednesday, April 2, 5:00pm
Salle Le Floréal
Hôtel Renaissance, 3625 Parc Ave.

Visit Blue Metropolis for these other great comix events:

Comedy and Comix: The cartoon is one of the world's favourite forms of storytelling and Festival 2003 features cartoonists from around the world who are known for their biting humour. On Wednesday, April 2, Montreal's Aislin is featured Wednesday, April 2 in "…and Drawing the World". The same day, Michel Rabagliati, a comic book illustrator with a large international following, will be launching his latest comic book Paul Has a Summer Job (Drawn & Quarterly). On Saturday morning April 5, Aislin, Michael Palin of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and CBC Radio host and Leacock Award winner Bill Richardson look at the comedy question in Writing Ridicule. This year's Comix Jam, hosted by Rupert Bottenberg, will be followed on Saturday by slide shows and discussion with Kid Koala, Billy Mavreas and Sherwin Tjia. On Saturday evening at 21h30, the iconoclastic American cartoonist David Rees presents his anti-war comic strip Get Your War On.

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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Paul in the Country




Booklist reviews New Paul Book for Teens

Updated March 20, 2003


Booklist, February 2003

Grades 9-12
It's the summer of 1979, and Paul, a recent high-school dropout and an apprentice at a local print shop, is broke, unhappy and living with his parents in Canada. A phone call from a friend who is running a summer camp for underprivileged kids allows Paul to escape into a job as a replacement counselor. Paul is apprehensive at first as he's not great with kids and doesn't know the first thing about braving the wilderness, but after a rocky start, he bonds with his fellow counselors, the kids begin to grow on him, and he falls in love with his partner, Annie. Rabagliati's simple black-and-white line drawings and classic comics format are well-suited to this slacker-goes-to-summer camp tale, which has plenty teens can relate to--whether it's Paul's dissatisfaction with the authority figures at his school or a first love. The final act will ring true for older readers nostalgic about their own first overnight camp. The book was originally published in French, and this English translation includes a glossary of terms and places.
Carlos Orellana
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

 

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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




  Quill & Quire reviews New Paul Book

Updated March 20, 2003


Quill & Quire, April 2003
Summer of ’79

Having rekindled a passion for the comics medium, 40-year-old graphic designer and illustrator Michel Rabagliati has emerged with a surprisingly full set of chops. Rabagliati’s first graphic novel, Paul Has a Summer Job pays tribute to such European comics as Tintin, Spiro, Gaston and Asterix , as well as more current influences like Parisian comics team Phillipe Dupuy and Charles Berberian and Canada’s own Seth.

The novel is a sweet sentimental story of Paul’s coming of age in the summer of 1979, and his transformation from hot-headed high school drop out to nurturing young adult, while working as a camp counsellor at a remote lake in Quebec. Rabagliati uses a broad ink brush stroke that is both direct and expressive: his style doesn’t inhibit the story with clunky texture, yet still conveys a sense of awe in a beautiful vista. He has an excellent sense of pace that easily brings the reader into this turbulent world, especially in the present day epilogue. The story may be a little too sweet for readers at times, but this is the work of a skilled craftsman with a lot teach about the possibilities of the medium.


(Paul will be available this Spring)


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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




Sneek Peak Paul & Rabagliati at TCAF!

Updated March 19, 2003


My favourite GN of the season Paul Has A Summer Job is available in advance copies at TCAF, March 29, Trinity Saint Paul's.

It's not available in any stores yet for another month at best, so now's the chance for those in the GTA to get their hands on this sweet funny book about growing up French-Canadian in the 1970s. Michel will be signing on Saturday in the exhibition hall.
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Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job




Lutes & Rabagliati at Toronto Comic Art Fest!

Updated March 13, 2003


Premiering some new works, D&Q artists Jason Lutes and Michel Rabagliati along with Seth, Chester Brown, Maurice Vellekoop, Kevin Huizenga and Anders Nilsen will be attending the 1st annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival along with these distinguished international artists.

Ho Che Anderson, Gabrielle Bell, Marc Bell, Matthew (M@B) Blackett, J. Bone, Dominic Bugatto, Scott Chantler, Becky Cloonan, Michael Comeau, Darwyn Cooke, Arthur Dela Cruz, David Cullen, Mu Dafaka, Farel Dalrymple, Tom Devlin, Walter Dickinson, Catherine Doherty,
Pheobe Gloeckner, Marcel Guldemonde, Sam Hiti, Ron Kasman, Megan Kelso, Jeffrey Kilpatrick, Andy Lee, Jason Little, David Mack, Kagen McLeod, John Mejias, Sean Menard, Carla Speed McNeil, Scott Mills, Marc Ngui, Michael Noonan, Christine Norrie,
Bryan O'Malley, Joe Ollman,
Lorenz Peters, Chris Pitzer, Brian Ralph, Jason Sacher, Ben Shannon, Vincent Stall, Jay Stephens, Cameron Stewart, Diana Tamblyn, Richard G. Taylor, J. Torres, Noel Tuazon, Jose Villarubia, Rob Walton, Lauren Weinstein, and Chip Zdarsky.

***Saturday, March 29th, 2003

TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL: EXHIBITION HALL
10am-5pm
$7 at the door, or free with TCAF Festival Pass (Passes will be on sale at this event, $20)
Trinity St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West (Just west of Spadina, next to Dominion)

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival's main exhibit hall will open at 10am on Saturday March 29th, 2003, bringing the first ever event of it's kind to Toronto. Over 50 artists will have exhibit booths selling their books and original art to the public, as well as live painting demonstrations and special artist signings throughout the day.

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Featured artists

Jason Lutes
Michel Rabagliati

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Paul Has a Summer Job
Berlin #10




Michel Rabagliati wins Quebec Comic Award

Updated March 13, 2003


Michel Rabagliati’s French edition of Paul Has A Summer Job, one of our absolute favorite new graphic novels coming this spring won the provincial comic award, the Bedelys Quebec 2002 for best graphic album of the year and the Bedelys media award for best album of the year. Really, you want to see this book.
Just wait until April 2003.


Featured artist

Michel Rabagliati

           Featured product

Paul Has a Summer Job





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