Gary: King of the Pickup Artists

Alexan­dre Si­mard & Luc Bossé, 151 pgs, Pow Pow Press, pow­pow­, $22.95

Broken Pencil - - Book Reviews -

Don’t let the ti­tle throw you — the hero of this book is not some sort of The Rulestype pickup artist cov­ered in gold chains and cologne. Gary is just a guy stum­bling through life like the rest of us, try­ing and fail­ing and try­ing again to meet that spe­cial some­one.

The story by Alexan­dre Si­mard will be fa­mil­iar to any­one who is or once was an ur­ban-dwelling 20-some­thing. Gary is look­ing for love in all the usual places. He hits par­ties, bars, cof­fee shops, try­ing to work up the nerve to ap­proach some­one, won­der­ing what to say and then in­evitably say­ing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Gary’s prob­lem — if it is a prob­lem — is that he’s spend­ing too much time in his own head. I’d give him the same ad­vice I would give my own 20-some­thing self, if only I could travel back in time: Loosen up, man!

The black-and-white art­work by Luc Bossé , who is also the founder and ed­i­tor of both Pow Pow Press and its French lan­guage coun­ter­part, Édi­tions Pow Pow, is crisp and strong and rem­i­nis­cent of an­other Que­be­cois car­toon­ist, Guy Delisle. As some­one who is woe­fully unilin­gual, I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate Pow Pow’s English trans­la­tions. Que­bec is chock-full of tal­ented peo­ple mak­ing very cool comics (what up, Julie Doucet!) and it’s very nice of Bossé and the gang at Pow Pow to do the trans­la­tions so English-only speak­ers like me can get a taste of what’s cookin’ comics-wise in La Belle Prov­ince. One of these days, I should re­ally learn French, but un­til then… merci, Pow Pow Press! (A.G. Pasquella)

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