Graphic Novel: Hitchcockian streak runs through Montreal creator’s work
Some Canadian graphic novelists are well-known, like Jeff Lemire, Seth and Bryan Lee O’Malley, while others are slowly but surely rising to the same level of acclaim.
Pascal Girard is a name you can expect to hear more of in future. I loved two of the Quebec comic creator’s previous books, Petty Theft and Nicolas, and I am happy to see his talents grow with his latest release.
Rebecca & Lucie tells the story of a new mother who sets out to solve a neighbourhood mystery. As I said of Petty Theft, there is definitely a Hitchcockian streak that runs through Girard’s work.
On the one hand, it’s the story of an amateur detective, on the other it’s a portrait of a woman who is at a specific point in her life – the weeks immediately after she has given birth.
I won’t give anything away, but the fun in Rebecca & Lucie is how Girard teases the reader. Is Rebecca imagining things when she sees a body being lifted into the back of a van? Has there really been a murder in Montreal? Do the police know more than they’re letting on? It isn’t until the final pages that we get any kind of resolution.
Girard uses colour expertly to telegraph the emotional elements of the story. The book’s initial panels are seen through a blue filter, reflecting Rebecca’s post-pregnancy funk. A later flashback passage is shrouded in red, indicating her out-of-control emotions while giving birth to Lucie.
Here’s a summer reading suggestion: Pick up Rebecca & Lucie, as well as this season’s release from Guy Delisle, Factory Summers. Add Okay, Universe by Valerie Plante and Michel Rabagliati’s Paul at Home.
After you read these four recent titles, I’m betting you will feel as though you’ve taken a trip to Quebec. Even better, you will grasp why the comic creators in this country take a back seat to no one.