When you’re a jaded comics aficionado like me, browsing through publishing schedules in search of a fix, you seldom get really excited when you hear of a new book in a new series by people you’ve never heard of. Nevertheless, I did perk up when I saw the preview pages for Pascal Jousselin’s Justice et Legumes Frais (Justice and Fresh Produce), the first book in his new series, Imbattable (Unbeatable, Dupuis).
Imbattable is a one-page gag strip that’s been running for quite a while in Spirou Magazine and constantly plays around with the limitations and constraints of the medium. Imbattable is an everyday superhero who combines fighting crime with daily chores, and more particularly grocery shopping. Whether it’s a bad guy that needs stopping, or a little cat stuck in a tree, he always finds a way to solve the problem by jumping out of the frame or cleverly interfering with the story in other frames.
It’s a trick almost as old as the medium itself, but Jousselin brings it with a deadpan sérieux, as if it’s only natural that his hero acts this way. And he exploits it to the max, ending the actual story in the first strip of the page, which leaves his hero hanging around for a number of frames, and making notes to work on his timing. With a very dry and ironic almost running commentary by Imattable himself (“After all, time is space and space is time”), this is a perfect comic for anybody who wants to look beyond just a straightforward story.
Naturally, it remains to be seen whether Jousselin has enough inspiration to continue this one trick pony for further books, or if he even manages to keep it up for just one, but these pages made me actually laugh out loud. And that says a lot.
Imbattable 1: Justice et Legumes Frais (Justice and Fresh Produce) by Pascal Jousselin, Dupuis, from April 7.