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KASPAR AND BALONEY reviewed by Vue Weekly

Updated July 21, 2009


ARTS
Graphic Novels
Drawing in the margins: Drawn & Quarterly keeps pushing the edges of graphic novels

Brian Gibson / brian@vueweekly.com

As a sampling of recent comic stories from Montréal's Drawn & Quarterly shows, graphic novelists from all over the globe keep taking the form beyond its lightly humorous, comic-strip origins, inking twists on those same old stories of growing pains and education from the school of sudden blows. The four here starkly illustrate oppression, longing, pain, ignorance and grief in novel ways. Two in particular are masterfully melancholic.

Pascal Blanchet, from Trois-Rivières, won acclaim with his 2007 debut, the mill-town story White Rapids, and now his second book, the comic-opera Baloney: A Tale in 3 Symphonic Acts (78 pp, $19.95), sees him merge his grandly atmospheric, silhouette and '50s-advertising style with a fatalistic fairy-tale imaginatively scored to Russian composers Prokofiev and Shostakovich. This swelling story of a butcher and his daughter in a clifftop town may seem, at first, to take cuts from Seuss and Fantasia.

But Baloney's part-film, part shadow-play scenes, unfolding rhythmically through text-only, picture-only and blank pages, along with a brilliant mix of black, white and red colours, carve out a slab of magnificent tragedy. It's a retro-looking tale about peasants' struggle against power—in this case, as with White Rapids, literal power, for the Duke runs a heating-company monopoly that oppresses the winter-bound town. Yet this dark fantasia manages to not only inhabit a darkly whimsical world but make you hear the music to which it is to be scored ("Brass for arrogance and cruelty" and "Clarinets for calm" in Act II).

In 2008, Israel's Rutu Modan drew attention with Exit Wounds, an award-winning comic-story of two strangers meeting in Tel Aviv in the wake of a street-bombing. Her search for style and subject matter that hits home is showcased in a collection of earlier work, Jamilti & Other Stories (174 pp., $19.95), now translated and released here. The earliest pieces, as Modan admits in her afterword, seem remote. From a serial-killer story to a slightly gothic tale of three girls running a theme hotel, the drama is sometimes rushed and obvious, even a little too easy.

Modan notes her preoccupation with family photos, and it's no coincidence that the unforced, observational, snapshot feel, along with the clean lines and photographic look of Exit Wounds, emerge in "Homecoming" and "Jimalti," when she's turning the camera on her own surreal land. The juxtaposition of romantic memory and terrorist threat isn't quite perfected at the end of the kibbutz tale "Homecoming," but the title story, beautifully and horrifically matching up a suicide bomber and an imploding engagement, closes with a perfect jab. So does the last and most recent tale, "Your Number One Fan" (a look at that particularly Israeli sense of forced solidarity), with a musician finding himself too hopeful for a big break.

The maturity in Diane Obomsawin's Kaspar (82 pp., $15.95) is not only true but more incredible. Her cartoon-figure drawings are as unsophisticated as foundling Kaspar Hauser himself, left by his mother to a man who kept him in a room until his mid-teens, teaching him only a few words and how to walk (awkwardly) before leaving him in the middle of Nuremberg in 1828. He's super-sensitive (his eyes hurt when he cries) and thinks "People are watching us" as he stands before a mirror with his first adoptive mother.

Obomsawin, an animator and illustrator raised in France and based in Montréal, makes Kaspar like a slowly developing artist, learning about perspective (he's amazed not to be crushed by the point where a road meets the horizon) and distance (he thinks the moon is "the sun pasted onto the night"). His still-life watercolour, reproduced here, is gorgeous (though would have been more startling in colour, amid Obomsawin's grayscale frames), but it's Kaspar's own still-life that haunts. He dreams of death and strange assailants attempt to kill him, one finally succeeding in 1833.

Obomsawin's minimalist history (she's sifted through many sources, including Kaspar's own writings, and added some of her imaginings) falters a little as Kaspar is educated; his life with various tutors rushes by and the minimalist drawings mean that the detail of bourgeois German houses and estates, which must have overwhelmed and perplexed this near-blank slate of a young man, is missing. The clashes of nature and culture, of an awed man-child and hardened adult society, could be darkened, and many of the questions about Hauser on the back cover aren't raised within. But if Kaspar, like the man himself, offers a less than full and satisfying history, it can be more than just a short, stunted storyboard of a life, sometimes flickering a simple, powerful light on an educational enigma.

Pascal Girard, now in Québec City, recalls his grief-addled childhood in Jonquière with the death of his younger brother. Nicolas (69 pp., $11.95) moves along the pages from moment to mood without borders, the young Pascal showing off a picture of his dead brother to a classmate one day, sobbing darkly in his bed the next, then worrying about children with his girlfriend in an instant of a decade later. With the spare faces, this looks like a Calvin & Hobbes or Peanuts comic strip, only more flecked with a deeply inward, existential searching. But it's also awfully, wonderfully honest. This mini-masterpiece starts and ends with Pascal's memory of him and Nicolas playing with childish abandon. It's a haunting coda for a "little book" that only grows bigger in its emotions and shows just how successful graphic novels can still be in their outsized ambitions. V
 
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Featured artists

Pascal Blanchet
Diane Obomsawin

           Featured products

Kaspar
Baloney




  KASPAR reviewed by Booklist

Updated June 26, 2009


Issue: April 1, 2009


Kaspar.
Obomsawin, Diane (Author)
Jan 2009. 96 p. Drawn & Quarterly, paperback, $12.95. (9781897299678). 741.5.
In a minimalist style like (but even simpler than) those of fellow francophone comics creators Nicolas Mahler and Jason, Obomsawin renders one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern Europe. On May 26, 1828, a young man appeared in Nuremberg, bearing a letter of introduction to the captain of cavalry stationed there. Approximately 17, he could write his name, Kaspar Hauser, but speak very few words. After learning more, he revealed that he had lived alone in a cellar for as long as he recalled. Recently, a man in black had taught him to write his name and to walk, then brought him, sleeping, to Nuremberg. Speculation about him raged throughout Europe, the most extravagant being that he was of royal blood.
Boarded by a succession of guardians, he was stabbed mysteriously on December 14, 1833, and died days later. He had written a brief self-explanation that, along with excerpts from two books about Kaspar, Obomsawin adapts with spartan elegance for the text. A paradoxically winsome take on a perennially
intriguing true story.

— Ray Olson

Featured artist

Diane Obomsawin

           Featured product

Kaspar




KASPAR reviewed by Booklist

Updated June 26, 2009


Issue: April 1, 2009


Kaspar.
Obomsawin, Diane (Author)
Jan 2009. 96 p. Drawn & Quarterly, paperback, $12.95. (9781897299678). 741.5.
In a minimalist style like (but even simpler than) those of fellow francophone comics creators Nicolas Mahler and Jason, Obomsawin renders one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern Europe. On May 26, 1828, a young man appeared in Nuremberg, bearing a letter of introduction to the captain of cavalry stationed there. Approximately 17, he could write his name, Kaspar Hauser, but speak very few words. After learning more, he revealed that he had lived alone in a cellar for as long as he recalled. Recently, a man in black had taught him to write his name and to walk, then brought him, sleeping, to Nuremberg. Speculation about him raged throughout Europe, the most extravagant being that he was of royal blood.
Boarded by a succession of guardians, he was stabbed mysteriously on December 14, 1833, and died days later. He had written a brief self-explanation that, along with excerpts from two books about Kaspar, Obomsawin adapts with spartan elegance for the text. A paradoxically winsome take on a perennially
intriguing true story.

— Ray Olson
 

Featured artist

Diane Obomsawin

           Featured product

Kaspar




  KASPAR reviewed by Pop Matters

Updated March 27, 2009


Kaspar
Writer: Diane Obomsawin

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

9 March 2009, 96 pages, $12.95
by Ian Chant


cover art

Canadian filmmaker, artist and comic creator Diane Obomsawin’s first work to be translated into English is Kaspar, a slim volume exploring a strange story of Kaspar Hauser, the prototypical feral child. The author tells the tale from Hauser’s own point of view, imbuing both subject and story with the guileless, unaffected tone of a children’s fable, albeit one punctuated by neglect, isolation, and mystery only to culminate in a violent death that still remains shrouded in mystery nearly two centuries later.

The story of Kaspar Hauser has fascinated, frustrated and bemused researchers and historians since it began in the early nineteenth century. Hauser, the story goes, was raised in captivity and total isolation until the age of seventeen by a shadowy figure now lost to the history. Food and water were left for him while he slept. He saw his captor rarely; the outside of his dungeon-like home, never. After being taught some rudimentary language, Hauser was suddenly and inexplicably released by his captor/benefactor into the world, a fully grown foundling child, left to his own devices in the streets of Nuremberg. His mystery made him the toast of the continent for a brief time, a sight to see for a wide variety of visiting nobles and notables. But it was his strange death just a few years later that secured his story a place in the annals of the obscure and bizarre.

Kaspar portrays Hauser’s story in simple but expressive line drawings and, where possible, frames the story in his own words, otherwise sticking to spare and charming verbiage effortlessly portraying what the artist obviously sees as the ingenuous nature of her subject.

Obomsawin’s Kaspar is filled with awe at the natural world. He is fascinated by sprouting bean seeds and fruit bearing trees. He struggles valiantly with perspective, equally baffled by the moon and the horizon. He is at once sadly and adorably naïve to the nature of snow. Meanwhile, these vivid emotions are juxtaposed with the minimalist, black and white line work of the book’s illustration, forcing readers to fully engage with the work to see things as Hauser does, as if seeing all the world has to offer for the first time.

In this latest imagining of a tale that has been explored by artists from Werner Herzog to Harlan Ellison, Hauser is distinctly childlike, for all the cuteness and inevitable petulance that quality entails. Obomsawin’s interpretation expertly communicates the wonder and terror of a near adult, suddenly introduced to the world in all its beauty and horror for the first time.

By leaving the narration of the tale to the character of Kaspar, Obomsawin crafts a strangely charming account of the legend that has grown up around this singular figure. But Obomsawin seems so enamored with the admittedly fascinating mélange of oral history, legend and apocrypha that she barely touches on the most disappointing facet of Hauser’s tale, which is that much of it was almost certainly pure invention. Most modern historians, and more notably many of Hauser’s contemporaries, including characters who factor largely in Kaspar, believed that Hauser was not a feral child at all, but a vain and compulsive liar whose most notable feat was cleverly manipulating a stunning cadre of doctors, judges and minor nobles with considerable aplomb.

But if Obomsawin is less than harsh to Hauser, who may well have accidentally taken his own life in a bid to regain his place in the continental spotlight, neither does she fall entirely under the spell of his tale. She glances over outlandish claims that Hauser may have been the true heir to Germany’s House of Baden, and skillfully channels his growing irritability when he finds himself employed as a court clerk.

Perhaps more importantly, she explores the lives of those who took Hauser in, and the salon culture that found him such a miraculous and fascinating blank slate for their own notions. And now, in presenting her own interpretation of the story, the author has brought to the fore Hauser’s most intriguing and attractive quality – his presence as a near perfect tabula rasa, fitting any interpretation with equal ease and grace.

The story of Kaspar that Diane Obomsawin wants to tell is the one she wants to believe, and no less valid than any other at this juncture. And while the real identity of the boy known as Kaspar Hauser is probably lost to time, in her endearing portrait of this cryptic figure, Obomsawin succeeds in bringing readers closer to understanding of what he meant.


— 26 March 2009

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Featured artist

Diane Obomsawin

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Kaspar




KASPAR reviewed by The McGill Daily

Updated March 26, 2009



More than just a specimen
Diane Obomsawin illustrates the mysterious case of Kaspar Hauser with child-like sensitivity

Camille Holden
The McGill Daily

In 1828, a young boy of roughly 17 years walked into Nuremberg, Germany. His name was Kaspar Hauser, and he carried with him a letter addressed to Captain von Wessenig of the cavalry regiment. The letter stated that he was an abandoned child who had been raised by a stranger. He was seeking the captain in order to become a horseman.

Initially, Hauser was put in prison because the captain had no idea what to do with him. Though he knew a few elementary sentences, Hauser was essentially incapable of basic communication. The prisonguard’s son taught him how to speak, and after eventually being released and put under the tutelage of a professor, he learned how to read, write, and draw.

Once he was able to express himself, Hauser recounted his childhood – 17 years in a basement room, with nothing more than a straw mat to sleep on, bread and water to eat, and a wooden horse to play with.

Hauser ended up living a very short life. One night in December of 1833, he died from a mysterious stab wound to the chest. His tombstone reads, “Here lies Kaspar Hauser, riddle of his time. His birth was unknown, his death mysterious – 1833.”

The curious story of this uncivilized boy fascinated many thinkers of the time who were preoccupied with the nature of man, sin, and civilization. He also became an inspiration for authors such as Paul Verlaine and Herman Melville.

More recently, Hauser’s story sparked the imagination of a local graphic artist, Diane Obomsawin. Last week at Drawn & Quarterly, she launched the English translation of her graphic novel, Kaspar, which came out in French last year. The book is based entirely on the writings of Hauser and his contemporaries.

With this graphic novel, Obomsawin presents a refreshing, subtle, and gentle version of the Hauser story. After the book launch, I was able to speak with the author. She explained that she wanted to show Hauser for what he was – a young man in a thoroughly new world, “an excessively poetic being.”

A scene that really struck me was the one in which Hauser is sitting in his jail cell with his toy horse. He is brought a candle and, like many children, is so fascinated by it that he immediately reaches for the candlelight. The speech bubble in the panel reads, “I want to attach the candle flame to my horse.” In the next scene, he hears a bell ring and says, “I also want to attach sounds to my horse.”

Everything he sees, hears, and touches is new. His mind is a sponge, absorbing all the sensations the world presents to him. “It’s as if he were a baby that could speak,” Obomsawin explains.

Obomsawin highlights these moments in Hauser’s life that humanize him and remind us that he was not just a theory or a disorder, but an actual living and feeling boy – a sensitive and fragile human being.

Though Hauser’s story is dramatic, Obomsawin only lightly touches on the tragic. She explains, “it’s not entirely a melodrama because it’s about someone with a tender heart who loves life and loves people. People liked him instantly because he had a remarkable openness toward others.”

It seems that the author saw in Hauser a particular sensibility, reminiscent of her own childhood. “I identified with this character. In a sense, I had been lost too. Maybe because I have been dragged around the world, left and right. I have changed now, but I didn’t used to talk a lot. I felt like I was in a submarine, I was inside, and I saw life like this.”

Obomsawin’s illustrations convey this innocent and simplistic vision of life. Her signature childlike drawing style is enhanced here by minimalistic visual techniques and the use of grey-scale, both of which foster a sense of being inside Hauser’s memory. Indeed, it feels like we are watching his life unfold through a submarine porthole.

To this day, Kaspar Hauser remains an intriguing character, whose story shocks our sensibilities. In her graphic novel, Obomsawin forces us to move beyond that initial shock and see the fundamental humanity within him. She has added yet another facet to a character that is likely to continue fascinating generations to come.

Check out Obomsawin’s Kaspar and other works at the always-awesome Drawn & Quarterly, 211 Bernard O.


 
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Featured artist

Diane Obomsawin

           Featured product

Kaspar




  KASPAR reviewed by Book By Its Cover

Updated March 20, 2009


3.2.09
Kaspar
Diane Obomsawin

I really liked learning the 19th century mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser through this comic. Apparently Kaspar was kept locked alone in a dark cell with just a wooden toy horse, his entire childhood. He was thrust onto the street in Nuremberg with just a letter addressed to Captain von Wessenig in 1828. Since he was in a tiny cell all his life he and received food through a hole, he didn’t know other humans existed, didn’t know any language or what anything was. The story tells of his discoveries and the many hands of care he was put under. At the end he is murdered mysteriously as well. What a weird story- you’ll have to get the comic to learn the rest. Diane Obomsawin’s comic style is simple with very little detail. Most of the backgrounds are just different shades of gray. But it works for telling the story and setting the stage. You can get a copy of this book here.
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Featured artist

Diane Obomsawin

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Kaspar




KASPAR reviewed on CBR

Updated March 18, 2009


Kaspar
by Diane Obomsawin
Drawn and Quarterly, 96 pages, $12.95.

Obomsawin tells the story of Kasper Hauser, a foundling discovered in 19th-century Germany who had barely any ability to read, write or speak, and claimed to have been raised in a darkened cell until his mid-teens. He quickly became the toast of Bavaria and attracted a flock of fascinated scholars, noblemen and other folk who attempted to educate and care for him. Rumors circulated at the time that he was really a prince with ties to the House of Baden. Sadly, he died under extremely mysterious circumstances, after being stabbed in a garden.

Obomsawin relies heavily on Kasper’s own letters and writings to chronicle her tale, and adopts a minimalist style very similar to Girard’s, no doubt in order to better portray Hauser’s childlike state of mind.

I’m not sure that was a good choice. There is some debate going at the time and even today as to whether Kaspar’s story was true or if he was just an incredibly skilled con-man. It would have added a nice bit of complexity if even a shade of that doubt had been explored here. But even if we accept the idea of Hauser as innocent man-child, I think it might have underscored and emphasized his innocence if the world that encompassed him was more representational.

Then again, maybe not. Kaspar does exactly what it sets out to do, tell a true story in as simple and as direct a fashion as possible. It’s not entirely Obomsawin’s fault that I was left wanting more.
 
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Diane Obomsawin

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Kaspar




  KASPAR and BALONEY reviewed in QUILL AND QUIRE

Updated March 16, 2009


BOOK REVIEWS
Kaspar

by Diane Obomsawin
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Price: $12.95 paper
ISBN: 978-1-897299-67-8 Price: $16.95 paper
ISBN: 978-1-897299-66-1
Page count: 96 pp.
Size: 7 x 8¾
Released: Feb.
Baloney: A Tale in Three Symphonic Acts

by Pascal Blanchet
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Price: $12.95 paper
ISBN: 978-1-897299-67-8 Price: $16.95 paper
ISBN: 978-1-897299-66-1
Page count: 80 pp.
Size: 7 x 8¾
Released: Feb.

If Kaspar Hauser hadn’t actually lived, someone would have made him up. Discovered on the streets of Nuremberg in 1828 by German authorities, the enigmatic teenage foundling quickly became a sensation across Europe, capturing the imagination of a population equally susceptible to Rousseauian philosophy (surely, here was an example of “natural man”) and sensational speculation (was he the long-lost son of the Grand Duke of Baden?). When Hauser died under mysterious circumstances five years later, little more was known about his obscure origins than on the day he first appeared.

In Kaspar, Quebec artist Diane Obomsawin is less concerned with the mythology surrounding Hauser than with retracing the steps of his tentative self-awakening. Drawing on Hauser’s own writings and the accounts of his contemporaries, she depicts the dismal details of his early life (Hauser was raised in a darkened cellar, deprived of “all human and social education”), as well as his life with various guardians, who generally treated him well but soon grew tired of the novelty – and the burden – of his care. Along the way, an unlikely portrait of Hauser emerges as a kind of forsaken everyman, a metaphor for the romantic artist and outsider. “Nature only seems beautiful to me when I look at it through red-coloured glass,” Hauser observes. “The day I see red apples I feel true satisfaction.”

Obomsawin’s simple, stick-like figures and muted greyscale palette are perfectly suited to Hauser’s naive befuddlement with the world. Depicted as an implacable presence at the centre of nearly every frame, Hauser is primped like a toy doll as he’s passed from one guardian to the next. The resulting impression is of a primitive flipbook (Obomsawin has worked as an animator on several NFB-produced films), and the cumulative effect – of life, sped up and in miniature – is oddly moving.

Kaspar’s muted charm couldn’t be further removed from the brash aesthetic of Baloney, Pascal Blanchet’s follow-up to his well-received graphic novel White Rapids, which charted the rise and fall of a fictional Quebec boomtown. The new book, which was actually written before White Rapids and is only now being translated into English, is self-consciously composed as “a tale in three symphonic acts,” with nods to the bombastic styles of composers Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

While White Rapids was suffused with the lambent light of nostalgia, Baloney – set in a “poor, isolated town on a high, rocky peak” – is overpowered by the macabre. Visually, the book is as eye-catching as its predecessor, composed in a stark colour scheme of black, white, and red. Unlike most graphic novelists, Blanchet works on a computer, and his designs here have all the contrast of a German Expressionist film – an apt approach to this tale about a town improbably sealed off from all sunlight. Blanchet finds much nuance in the charcoal-and-grey shadow life of the town.

But while Baloney is undeniably eye candy, it’s an oddly hollow confection. The narrative lurches around disjointedly, pitting the title character (a lugubrious butcher named “after the saddest of all meats”) against the villainous Duke of Shostakov, who rules over the town with an iron fist. When Baloney’s handicapped daughter and her lover uncover the Duke’s monopoly over the town’s energy resources, their punishment is swift and absolute – but the tragic coda feels perfunctory and unearned. None of this is helped by language that feels wooden (“Tragedy played thief to his love and joy....”) and at times completely superfluous (“He stopped at the butcher’s shop, casting a long shadow over its heavy door, and took hold of the knocker”).

Baloney will appeal to those attracted by Blanchet’s visual flair, but is unlikely to have the same crossover appeal as his previous work. The book is all horn blasts and booming tympana, with no connecting theme.

Reviewed by Stuart Woods (from the March 2009 issue)
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Featured artists

Pascal Blanchet
Diane Obomsawin

           Featured products

Kaspar
Baloney




KASPAR, BALONEY and more reviewed by Guttersnipe

Updated March 13, 2009


Some terrific books from Drawn & Quarterly have been collecting sawdust lately. So to rescue them from the stacks of oblivion in middle of renovations, I crammed a bunch into my weekend. Plus, maybe guttersnipe can ride the crest of the Watchmen wave just a little longer by tagging the term “graphic novels.” (Note that some of the publication dates are embarrassingly out-of-date, but better late than never, non?)

Aline and the Others, Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly, 2006). Delisle has (rightfully) earned a reputation as a first-class travelogue artist for his graphic memoirs on Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and Burma. Aline and the Others, like its companion Albert and the Others, is a small (D & Q refers to this series of elegant little tomes as “petits livres”), modest collection of sight gags in thumbnail-size panels. Many focus on identity and gender roles: in “Bernadette”, a large woman works off her weight, her slimmer self gets picked up by a large photographer, she merges with him and she’s back to her old self (he, meanwhile, has disappeared, leaving behind just his camera). An interesting way to pass a bus ride.

Kaspar, Diane Obomsawin (Drawn & Quarterly, 2009). If the name “Kaspar Hauser” sounds familiar, it could be because of the 1974 Werner Herzog film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. A mysterious foundling (birthdate unknown) in 19th century Germany, Hauser claimed to be raised in total isolation. When he was found, he carried a note: “I wish too be a cavalryman, just as my father was.” Obomsawin’s graphic retelling uses minimal lines, almost stick figures, and gray tones to recount the story, based on research. The artist’s technique well-suited to the fascinating story, another in D & Q’s petits livres series.

Jamilti and Other Stories, Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly, 2008). Boy, D & Q really does it up right sometimes: Jamilti and Other Stories is just an outstandingly handsome volume. Modan is the Israeli author of Exit Wounds, a stunning graphic novel first published and translated in 2007 and winner of the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. Collecting some of her early stories, Jamilti includes black and white and colour work and shows Modan’s growth as both a story teller and artist; by “Your Number One Fan”, the grimly funny last story (I’m assuming thes are chronologically ordered), Modan has grown into the artist capable of pulling off the themes and art in Exit Wounds.

Dogs & Water, Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly, 2007). I’ve really been enjoying Nilsen’s series Big Questions, with its shifting narrative (crows and finches at a plane crash in the middle of nowhere are the main characters). A friend reading Dogs & Water said she thought the book took too long to tell its story, and she might have a point; but Nilsen’s art has a great line, and that’s what kept me reading this story of a man walking through a mostly deserted landscape, a teddy bear strapped to his back.

Baloney, Pascal Blanchet (Drawn & Quarterly, 2008). As a follow-up to 27-year-old Blanchet’s ridiculously accomplished 2007’s White Rapids, Baloney is a bit of a disappointment; on its own, it’s another stylishly told tale (Blanchet seems to have learned his craft from Gene Deitch’s art deco jazz album covers of the 50s), albeit one without the autobiogrophical heart of the previous work. More of a fable, Baloney has style to burn, and is worth a look simply as an instructive lesson on new ways to tell old(fashioned) stories.

Aya, Margerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie (Drawn & Quarterly, 2008). Bucking trends, Aya is a collaborative effort (Abouet writes, Oubrerie draws)—and just plain sweet. As such, I had misgivings, and it sat on my shelf for awhile. But the story of teen love problems on the Ivory Coast in the 1970s (based on Abouet’s childhood memories), Oubrerie’s lighthearted lines and the bright colours of Africa won me over.
 
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Featured artists

Guy Delisle
Pascal Blanchet
Diane Obomsawin

           Featured products

Aline & the Others
Kaspar
Baloney





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