Petty Theft and Everywhere Antennas reviewed in the AV Club

“New releases include the gorgeous Iron Fist and dreary Batman: Eternal Also reviewed: Two D&Q releases and Flash Gordon” / AV Club / Oliver Sava and Danica Davidson / April 22, 2014

Many people find drawing, journaling, and nature to be soothing, and all three of these things feature prominently in Julie Delporte’s experimental graphic novel Everywhere Antennas (Drawn And Quarterly). The protagonist is an unnamed French woman in her mid-20s who is suffering from headaches and depression. She used to love to read and would devour a book every evening, but now she has trouble keeping her concentration, causing her to sigh, “I miss books so much.”

Her teacher certification examination is coming up, but she’s not at all prepared, and she’s dubious of the antidepressants her doctor prescribes. Her lover, Jonas, does what he can to help her, but she doesn’t feel he really comprehends the situation. This causes strain on their relationship. Then she hears about a theory that some people are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and becomes convinced that this is her case as well. An opportunity arrives for her to live for a while in a cottage in Quebec, and she quickly grabs this chance. She gets rid of her computer and goes to live a more rural life, taking her colored pencils with her.

Everywhere Antennas is written as the narrator’s diary, and it’s a combination of her penciled thoughts (done in beautiful, colored cursive writing) and her drawings and sketches. The presentation of the book is sparse, with each page typically containing only a few sentences in addition to the colored pencil drawings. Some of the drawings look like quick, easy sketches, while others are done with more detail or feature a blend of both techniques. The story gains depth by tapping into larger social concepts like the refusal of modernity and an attraction to idealistic wishes for having a more simple life, if only for a brief period of time. Everywhere Antennas is fairly simple, but the way it leaves itself open to interpretation gives it its power. [DD]

And…

Graphic memoirs can come in many styles, and with the fictionalized memoir Petty Theft (Drawn And Quarterly), Pascal Girard offers up a dry, humorous, and neurotic look at his own dating life. Girard, whose other graphic novels include Reunion and Nicolas, portrays himself as a pitiful yet sympathetic character down on his luck. He feels a need to get a “real job” so he can stop living off the kindness of other people, and the fact he just broke up with his long-term girlfriend doesn’t help. He soon becomes infatuated with a new woman, but for a very unusual reason: He watches her steal one of his books out of a bookstore. He finds this strangely flattering and tries to get a relationship going—while also doing what he can to secretly return her stolen items. The drawings are done in black and white, usually six panels to a page, and their sketchy, stylized look fits well with the story. Much of the humor comes out in Pascal’s actions, which range from slapstick to irony, and while he and the woman of his dreams may not be made for each other, they make a good graphic novel team. [DD]

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