Comic Review: Maggy Garrisson - Lewis Trondheim & Stéphane Oiry

Maggy Garrisson Volume 1. "Give us a Smile, Maggy'
Lewis Trondheim & Stéphane Oiry ****

Maggy Garrisson is going to take a bit of figuring out. In the first book of a new series by Lewis Trondheim and Stéphane Oiry, we don't really know much about her background, her family, her relationship status: even her age is difficult to determine. She's early 30s maybe, single at the moment and looking for a date, but a friend will do. The one thing we know for certain is that Maggy needs to earn some money and is looking for a job.

There's one other characteristic about Maggy that you can work out fairly quickly: she's no fool. Her neighbour Suzanne has suggested that there might be an opening working for a Mr Wight, a Private Investigator, but Maggy only needs to walk through the door to realise that this is not going to be one of those situations where a clever and organised temp secretary changes the fortunes of a struggling near-alcoholic PI and becomes his glamorous sidekick solving elaborate crimes and celebrity murders. (If that's what you're looking for Robert J. K. Rowling Galbraith is thataway -->). Wight's even been struggling with the case of his neighbour's missing canary, a case that Maggy is able 'solve' in a matter of minutes with a visit to a pet shop.

Doing whatever it takes to earn a little money, a little bit desperate maybe - that's the immediate impression of Maggy, and in that respect you could probably assume that Maggy is just like everyone else when you get right down to it. She's struggling to get by, taking the rough with the smooth, the good days with the bad days, and times are tough as you can tell by the other equally desperate people that she encounters in this first Maggy Garrisson adventure.

OK, it doesn't sound like much of an adventure so far, but inevitably Maggy gets mixed up with a few threatening underworld characters looking for something that Mr Wight has been holding, and Maggy has to use her ingenuity again not just to figure out the mystery but, more importantly, see if there's any money in it for her somewhere. Along the way she has a run in with the police and makes friends with a woman police officer, but a more complicated relationship also develops with one of the criminal gang members while following her 'investigation' down to Brighton. We still haven't really got a grasp on who Maggy is, where she comes from or where she's going, but for sure there's nothing conventional about how Maggy Garrisson plays out.

Which is really nothing more than you ought to have expected from Lewis Trondheim. A versatile and terrific artist in his own right, with a wonderful variety of series behind him, whether it's his Lapinot series or autobiographical sketches for Petits Riens. There's a little bit of Petits Riens in the the amusing looks at the peculiarities of everyday life in Maggy Garrisson, but Trondheim's cartoony style (and creature features) wouldn't really suit the realism of characters and the story. Trondheim however is capable of extends his range in collaborations with other artists, particularly in the rotating roster of artists for the various levels of his Dungeon series, each of them bringing a whole new distinctive quality to the work. There is little real sense of the character of London in Stéphane Oiry's artwork, but very definitely a distinctive character to the drawings in Maggy Garrisson that suits its depiction of ordinary life with a bit of a twist.

Maggy Garrisson 1. "Give us a Smile, Maggy' by Lewis Trondheim & Stéphane Oiry is published by Europe Comics as a graphic novel eBook on 17th May 2018. Europe Comics is a joint digital initiative run by 13 European comics industry players from 8 European countries. Its main purpose is the creation of a pan-European catalog of award-winning graphic novels from across the continent, published digitally in English and available through major retailers and library networks. Europe Comics also works towards the promotion of European authors and the creation of a European comics online directory, meant for both comics readers and professionals.

Maggy Garrisson is available to download in EBook format here from Europe Comics

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