Graphic Novel Friday: The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard

Every other Friday, Omnivoracious will turn the spotlight on one or more graphic novels, with future installments also including news and special features. You can let me know who or what you'd like to see featured by commenting on this post. (In October, Graphic Novel Friday will return to its normal weekly schedule.)

Ah, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard--how well I remember you. Your acrobatics displays were such a fine fusion of geometric precision and untamed artistic angst. Your path across the hushed air spelled out in graceful cursive any number of elegant phrases in French.

What a shame you die on page 13 and are replaced by your young nephew Etienne.

But that's the way it is with Eddie Campbell (and story co-conspirator Dan Best)--never happy to leave well enough alone. Thus, a great man dies not at the end of this wonderfully chaotic freak show of a graphic novel, but near the beginning. This provides the catalyst for Etienne's rather unusual and surreal adventures. Talking bears in waistcoats? Check. The Titanic? Check. Calabrian fighting midgets? Of course!

Campbell's light touch with the art--beautiful yet often disturbing watercolors--proves supple and fluid enough to convey scenes of whimsy and scenes of horror. This might just be my favorite Campbell yet--I can't recommend it highly enough.

Of course, he's not done even when it seems like he must be. The last page reads: "Nothing occurs on this page." And so it goes. Long live the amazing remarkable monsieur Campbell!


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