Monsieur John The Singles Theory Part 1 cover detail

Monsieur Jean: The Singles Theory, Part 1

Writer/Artist: Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian
Translator: Natacha Ruck and Ken Grobe
Published by: Humanoids
Number of Pages: 63
Original Publication: 2012


It’s been a while since I’ve been a single guy, but I still enjoy these tales of life as a “single,” with some far out theories on living that lifestyle…

Slice of Life

“Monsieur Jean” is a series of short stories — vignettes, at times — about a couple of single guys in the city.  The title character is your control. He’s the straight man. He has his own quirks, but he takes a back seat to his friend, Felix, who steals the show in this book.

Felix has theories on who singles want to date

That’s Felix that I’m talking about — the guy in the white shirt in the middle of the left panel above.  He’s the somewhat crotchety single guy with big theories on life as a single.  He’s the kind of guy you don’t want want your other friends to have to deal with, but the kind whose crankiness and flippant attitude can be a lot of fun on a one-to-one level.

It’s not that he’s always wrong.  Sometimes, he’s dead-on right. But his theories look at things from completely new perspectives that a lot of people won’t want to give him any credit for.  Have you ever had one of those theories that people just refuse to even consider?  Beyond just, “There’s only one squirrel, but he’s really fast and that’s what you think there are squirrels everywhere.”

For example, Felix shares his theory that single people will be forever single because they’re single and nobody wants to be with a single person because they’re single. The only way to break that cycle is for a non-single person to be attracted to a single person.  Needless to say, this horrifies some of the people in the conversation and shuts things down.

Even when Felix tries to do the right thing, he gets shot down.    There’s a bit of paranoia to him, too, as in the time he thinks random guys on the street kiss their girlfriends in front of him as a way of warding him away.


What’s the Point of It All?

Felix is distraught when someone else kisses, because it means he's not getting any

This book isn’t about growth and personal development. It’s just about Jean and Felix and the little conversations and misadventures they get into.

They’re not saving the world.  It’s not all leading up to one grand storyline. (Maybe it is somehow, but it’s too early to assume that.)  This is not a book that builds on itself until everything comes together at the end and there’s a huge payoff.

It’s about showing up to a party you don’t really want to be at, and trying to figure out the quickest way out, or thinking everyone around you is happily dating someone just to tick you off, or how being a good samaritan can backfire.

This is a slice-of-life story featuring one guy who isn’t going to be terribly friendly for many, and his best friend who is the nice guy but who has to deal with it.

It’s easy going, entertaining, humorous, and visually interesting.

I liked it. A lot.

The Art

Dupuy and Berberian get equal credit for this series, from both a writing and art standpoint. I have no idea how it breaks out between the two.  Maybe it’s a 50/50 split?  Maybe it’s something inbetween?  Doesn’t matter.

Felix screaming at the end of his rope

This is Felix at the end of his rope. He’s not always this crazy.

What their art reminds me most of is Andi (“Breakfast After Noon”) Watson’s. It’s not quite as clean, but it has that same simple linework that describes a variety of real people. It’s a bit closer up than Watson’s work, but as a starting point in defining it, that’s where I’d go.

The art is also colored only in blue.  There might be two shades of blue in the art, total.  The blue symbolizes the shadows and the darkness, so nighttime scenes or scenes in dimly lit areas will be totally blue with white highlights.  The rest is white with blue highlights or white with blue areas just to break things up. There are panels where the only blue describes clothing, such as a shirt’s color or pattern.

Jean tells Felix gently to be quiet

All of the word balloons remain white, and they often take up lots of space on the page.  The book uses a six panel grid fairly religiously. The balloons float nicely to the top, with lots of white space and a healthy font size.  I like the lettering. Even on very wordy pages, it’s designed to be easy to read and with enough white space to make it appear less dense than it actually is.



Monsieur John The Singles Theory Part 1 cover by Dupuy and Berberian

If you’re looking for the comic book equivalent of “Friends”, this is going to get you part of the way there.  It’s not a melodrama.  “Monsieur Jean” is a lightweight slice of life book that can be very relatable, which I think is a large part of where its charm comes from.  The art carries the story with some solid cartooning in the facial expressions and a good grounding in storytelling techniques.  There’s nothing flashy about this work. It’s just good comics.

— 2018.017 —


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  • JC LEBOURDAIS February 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    I guess you mean Andi Watson?
    Is he the guy who does Asterios Polyp?

    • Augie February 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Oops, yes, Andi Watson. I just corrected it. “Asterios Polyp” was David Mazzuchelli. Watson did some books at Oni Press about fifteen years ago like “Breakfast After Noon” and “Slow News Day.” Lately, he’s been doing work on a series of children’s books, like “Glister” and “Gum Girl.”


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