Paris collects a four-issue mini-series set in that city in the early ‘50s, written by Andi Watson and illustrated by Simon Gane. Watson is fairly well-known these days as the writer-artist of such relationship-oriented comics as Slow News Day and Love Fights, but I haven’t heard of Gane before. (From a quick perusal of his blog I think that’s because he’s mostly worked in the UK and for music magazines.) Gane has a very ornate, ornamented, even rococo style, which is a good artistic choice for a historical comic – it clearly distances the action, and keeps it from feeling contemporary.
The story of Paris is pretty straightforward, and focuses on two young women from elsewhere living in that city. Juliet is an American, studying at the Academie de Stael by day and painting society portraits by night to pay her rent. Deborah is an English aristocrat chaperoned by her hideous aunt Miss Chapman.
Juliet has a roommate, the would-be revolutionary Paulette, and a fellow art student-slash-admirer, Gerard. And Deborah has “Billy,” who shows up halfway through the story, and another young man who turns up even later. But they’re more interested in each other from the moment they meet.
Juliet is hired to paint Deborah’s portrait, but can’t get enough time with her to do it right. (Since the odious “Chap” assumes all foreigners are cretins attempting to cheat her.) They manage to meet again, and events go on in ways that won’t be terribly unfamiliar to fans of popular fiction of the past several centuries.
Paris is not an amazingly original work, but it’s a good story told well, and Gane’s art adds a lot of interest along the way. Paris’s best audience would likely be among the people least likely to venture into a comics shop, such as young women and art students.
Written by Andi Watson; drawn by Simon Gane
SLG Publishing, 2007, $10.95
Andrew Wheeler has been a publishing professional for nearly twenty years, with a long stint as a Senior Editor at the Science Fiction Book Club and a current position at John Wiley & Sons. He’s been reading comics for longer than he cares to mention, and maintains a personal, mostly book-oriented blog at antickmusings.blogspot.com.
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