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Exquisite Corpse


Exquisite Corpse

Penelope Bagieu’s Exquisite Corpse is as quirky as its title sounds, despite being immensely light and breezy on almost every level. With its brief length at just over 100 pages, there’s a definite feel of style and atmosphere over substance, but given the novel’s enjoyably odd plot, this isn’t a bad thing. The story itself is something that would almost feel more at home within some low-budget, offbeat indie rom-com rather than a graphic novel. Our heroin, unsatisfied product representative Zoe, can’t tell Salinger from Superman, but accidentally falls into the life of world-famous author Thomas Rocher, who doesn’t exactly want Zoe to know the deathly secret to his continued fame…

Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse carries its stereotypical characters without a lot of endearment or remembrance, and its artwork, whilst amusingly caricatured, doesn’t have a lot of depth or punch. But when all these elements are put together, they still manage to entertain the reader till the last page, which given the shortness of the novel is just as well. The artwork itself has a lot of emphasis on singular colours throughout each page, and doesn’t offer a lot of variety, but again it all manages to work as a whole, and that stripped-down approach to the novel’s appearance adds to its quirky flavour.

Ultimately, Exquisite Corpse is an amusing spiral downwards into the lives of this peculiar trio of hapless characters and the events that draw them together. It’s almost deliberaely without depth, and has a cutesy, fluffy tone that can do no harm. A perfectly odd novel with lots of hook, but too much artificial charm to be anything more than a passable read.

Story: 3 Art: 3 Overall: 3

Written by: Pénélope Bagieu
Art by: Pénélope Bagieu
Publisher: First Second
First published: 2015

Fred McNamara

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