May 31, 2013

Abelard by Renaud Dillies and Regis Hautiere

 Abelard is a beautiful and melancholy tale about a young  duck named Abelard and his journey from his rural home to the United States.  Abelard is traveling to the US because he wants to use the newly invented flying-machines to capture the moon and present it as a gift to the woman he has fallen in love with.  Abelard's journey introduces the young man to a world that can be cynical, cruel, and confusing.  The tension comes from Abelard's worldview and how others react to it.  Abelard is like Candide, and part of his purity is the will to wish for one thing: the love of his woman. 

Many have derided this book for using "cute" art that doesn't fit the moods and brutal turns of the narrative.  Others have chafed at innocence and dreamy optimism of the main character Abelard.  I found the art to be incredibly expressive, especially the faces of the characters.  Pain, delight, surprise and many other ranges of emotion are expressed beautifully.  I dont believe Abelard is a cardboard cut out character.  Instead, Abelard is young man developing himself, and his simple uncomplicated hopes are instantly attacked as soon as he enters the wider world.  This story is more parable than grand story and it is near perfect for what it is.

I highly recommend this graphic novel for anyone interested in graphic novels.

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