Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Professor's Daughter

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The Professor's Daughter (First Second, 2007)

Robert at Bizarro Wuxtry, remembering that I enjoyed The Rabbi's Cat, recommended this cute comic to me. It's a very goofy little 80-page book written by Joann Sfar and illustrated by Emmanuel Guibert, two talents that have occasionally collaborated, and each written stories for the other to draw.

The Professor's Daughter is as much a story in its own right as it is a love letter to Victorian London. It's the tale of a mummy and the daughter of a famous archaeologist and their forbidden love, with events spiraling ridiculously out of control very quickly and very amusingly. It's a story where, when Queen Victoria ends up being unceremoniously dumped in the river, nobody's particularly surprised.

I really got a kick out of this book, particularly lingering over Guibert's linework, all curves and heavy ink. With his inventive style and his great sense of architecture and interior design, he really captured the mood and feel of the period, and reminded me of the great Ronald Searle in places. On the down side, the book is really quite unforgivably pricey for something that can be finished in well under an hour. I certainly recommend a copy, but definitely look around for something well under retail price.

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