Suspended Animation

    May 15, 1998 - Reviews on The Blue Notebook & Shelter.


980515a1.JPG (20441 bytes)    The Blue Notebook - $l3.95, 65 pgs. From NBM. By Andre Juillard, available in book and comics stores or by mail.

    The publishers news release reads: "ComicsLit presents another carefully crafted graphic novel exploring the odd quirks of fate and its influence on our relationships."

    No and no.

    The Blue Notebook is much better than carefully crafted.

    It is also less about fate and more about the obsession with casual sex among either Europe's cartoonists or people. I am uncertain in which because I have never been to Europe.

980515a2.JPG (16184 bytes)    The release also claims that this graphic novel "blends mystery, love, obsession and everyday life in a way that is reminiscent of the movies 'Blue' or 'Red'.

    True, I think. I've never seen "Blue" or"Red." I am, therefore, a doubly uninformed reviewer. But I do know casual sex.

    It is always destructive.

    So how do I justify a recommendation?

    I'm glad I asked.

    Juillard is a French cartoonist whose art is reality based, simple and stunning in its accuracy in everything from architecture to anatomy. There is lots of anatomy. Louise seems to bathe frequently. Despite the nudity, it is fairly unerotic.

    This art is one reason why this graphic novel is better than carefully crafted.

    Juillard's prose is sparse and carefully chosen. His dialog is believable and profanity is even more sparse than nudity. The plot is extremely simple: people engaging in loveless sex. Jealousy. Betrayal. It is the casual sex that sticks in my craw, and will certainly color the opinion of people who believe in morality.

    But it is morality that recommends The Blue Notebook. While Juillard does not condemn fornication, he does not advocate it either.

    The consequences of such foolishness are realistic.

    Highly recommended for adults who understand that sordid, casual sex in not to be emulated.


980515b1.JPG (18266 bytes)     Miniview: Shelter [NBM]. Set in the boondocks, this is a failed attempt at a fantasy/horror story meant to be given life and interest through art that is lifeless and uninteresting.


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