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Paris

Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2007
By: Martijn Form



Writer: Andi Watson
Artist: Simon Gane

Publisher: SLG Publishing


Plot: Juliet, an art student with a bohemian lifestyle, has a hard time walking the thin line between love and her art.

Comments: Andi Watson seems to be very particular about his publishers or maybe just the opposite, I canít figure that one out. He did a lot of books for Oni Press, especially Little Star, which I hold very dear. But now Watson is working with Image Comics to publish his Glister comics, and Paris is being released by SLG Publishing. Go figure.

Does this prologue to this review of Paris have a point? Well, what Iím trying to say is that for a Watson fan (which I am!), itís pretty hard to keep track of what is getting published when and where. Thank god for the Internet. Without it, I would miss out on a lot of Watson's excellent comics.

So, yes, I missed out on the single issues of Paris. My bad. However, buying this trade was a real treat. Iím always impressed with the way SLG handles their products. This book looks and feels like a graphic novel the way Will Eisner intended it to be. And I love the smaller-than-a-comic-but-larger-than-manga format. It reads well, and it can comfortably travel with you anywhere (I suggest you read the book between art classes; your teacher wonít notice).

Being a fan of Watsonís work, I was a bit disappointed at first that Andi didnít do the art for this book. However, that disappointment lasted only a second or two. To have Simon Gane do the art for this narrative is the best move since Jamie Delano doing Hellblazer again. It allows Watson to concentrate solely on the writing and plotting of the script without keeping a brush in the other hand to make his own words come alive.

The story is a first-rate love story, but not in the Hollywood style (I said first-rate!). Itís more reminiscent of French cinema, such as FranÁois Truffautís Jules et Jim. Although this story plays out in Paris during the 1950s, you donít need any subtitles for this art-house tale. We meet a lot of wonderful eccentric characters, but it is Juliet, the leading lady, who I adore. She really lives the bohemian life, without any money and all for art. Well, she actually does have room for some love.

My description may sound a bit cryptic, but I want to avoid revealing anything about the ups and downs of the story, so donít read the back cover of this graphic novel. Just delve right in. The confrontations between characters are funny and vibrant and create a terrific sense of verisimilitude.

However, the main attraction is the brilliant art by Simon Gane. After just a few pages, I was already in love with his style. He is adept at using little picturesque scenes that become a magnificent world to discover. The details are numerous and just lovely. Ganeís mis-en-scenes are a sheer enjoyment, and he makes Paris the place to be. Additionally, Gane only needs a few facial lines to create depth in character, emotion, and the look of being in love.

Paris is the great narrative of love.

For more information about this reviewer, go to www.martijnform.com.



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