Monday, November 14, 2011

The Professor's Daughter


The Professor's Daughter by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert

Before the paranormal romance craze, the concept of this book would have seemed utterly bizarre: in Victorian England, the daughter of an Egyptologist and one of the mummies he brought back from Egypt fall in love. (Plus accidental murder, kidnappings, and Queen Victoria being tossed in the Thames River.)

Now, there are other zombie love stories floating around, but when The Professor's Daughter was originally published in France in 1997, it was a completely novel idea. The reason it works? The simply gorgeous illustrations by Guibert convey so much emotion, especially the beginning, when the pages were illustrated in Sepia tones.

The colors actually shift as the book progresses. The changes have meaning within the story, so I won't describe it here, but Elizabeth Bird shared an excellent review (much better than mine, actually) that explains why.

My favorite of the illustrations is on page 11. For some reason, the composition and colors strike me as being near perfect, even if there is a mummy wearing a suit in it. I would honestly hang a print of it on my wall, I find it so fascinating. It might require some explanation for visitors, though.

The storyline itself is rather bizarre, but combined with the illustrations—and a good dose of suspended disbelief—it transcends the stereotypical comic or graphic novel to become a piece of literature. I heartily recommend buying The Professor's Daughter, even if only to gaze at the lovely images.

No comments:

Post a Comment