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Get A Life
posted March 21, 2006
Philippe Dupuy, Charles Berberian
Drawn and Quarterly, 144 pages, hardcover, full-color, $19.95
The success or failure of the M. Jean collection Get A Life
should say something about the North American comic book market. As much good work as has done well in that market, all of it seems to share a real from-the-gut intensity. If a successful comic isn't visceral pulp, it's impassioned autobiography, or polemic. I wonder sometimes if people aren't connecting to the fury of the personality involved as much as if not more than the nuances of the material. Even the preferred humor comics seems to be those that go for explosive belly laughter as opposed to something sustained and amusing.
Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian's Get A Life
is an elegantly cartooned and very, very funny collection of shorts about the foibles of modern life as viewed from a position of relative intellectual and social prestige. Its pleasures are roughly the same as the kind of film where you notice the background, the quality of filmstock, and what people are wearing -- it's an immersive experience. Much of the humor comes from the gentle exasperation of having one's own perfectly planned desires thwarted by well-meaning fans or the simple non-alignment of fate. The authors are smart enough to load in subtle narrative threads, such as the more time you spend with the lead, the more you wonder at the supposed superiority of his position, whether or not his desires are all that worth pursuing. All of this done is really lovely-looking color that serves multiple function -- mood, denoting scene changes, and shifts in outlook among them. It's just a really class act, even if I worry for an audience that will respond to refined effect.