By Matthias Lehmann

(Fantagraphics Books)  ISBN 1-56097-733-7

This stirring and deeply disturbing, psycho-thriller employs the form of a road/buddy movie as hardboiled private detective René Pluriel hits the highways of France in pursuit of the deadly “Heimlich Killer”. He hasn’t gone far when he picks up the flamboyant hitch-hiker Agatha, who reveals that she too is a detective on the trail of the notorious serial murderer.

As they wend their way through the back roads and, at times, history of France, interviewing the killer’s associates and survivors, they build a tense picture not just of the quarry but also of each other, and realise that the conclusion of the quest won’t be happy for everybody.

Lehmann’s dark voyage is gripping and often surreal, and the tension is augmented by the spectacular, moody art, stylishly etched in a powerful scraperboard style. The narrative is blistered with flashbacks, literary diversions and hallucinogenic asides that amplify the dissociative feel of this ostensibly simple tale. This is the author’s first original graphic novel and it is a bravura performance that will be very hard to top; I eagerly await the attempt.

Characters, stories & art © 2006 Actes Sud. All Rights Reserved.
This edition © 2006 Fantagraphics Books.

Lenore: Wedgies

Lenore: Wedgies
Lenore: Wedgies

 By Roman Dirge

Titan Books ISBN 1-84576-167-7

Lenore is a sweet little girl who has cute, if somewhat surreal, little adventures. She is also dead and has been for quite some time. This second collection (issues #5-8 of her own comic) features more bleak, eccentric, and darkly comic strips, stuffed with her strange coterie of acquaintances plus some new – if perhaps not so fresh – friends.

Impossible to fairly describe but so absolutely necessary to read – I personally recommend that “5 Reasons Not to Blow on your Kitty’s Tummy” be adopted as the eleventh Commandment – and fiercely steeped in the traditions of Charles Addams, this book should appeal to the same skewed and twisted audiences that follow “Squee!” and “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac”, “Gloom Cookie”, or even Giffen and Roman’s “i Luv Halloween”, not to mention the films of Tim Burton. This is an unwholesome treat for kids of all ages with a taste for the darker flavours of life. Ever so much better for you than giving poisoned candy to kids who bang on your door.

TM & © 2006 Roman Dirge. All Rights Reserved.