Dad volume 1 by Nob cover detail

Dad v1: “Daddy’s Girls”

Writer/Artist/Colors: Nob
Lettering: Calix Ltd
Translator: James Hogan
Published by: Dupuis/EuropeComics
Original Publication: 2015
Page Count: 50

 

Dad plays basketball, painfully

“Dad” is a series I’ve been looking forward to reading in English.  I’ve made my way through a few of the pages in French as they came out in the pages of “Spirou Journal.”  That’s a clunky experience, at best, though.  And, as it turns out, my vague translations weren’t all that great. I missed half the set-up for the series.  Thank goodness for translated editions on Izneo from EuropeComics!

“Dad” is about an unemployed actor raising four children from more than one mother.  It’s not certain how many mothers are involved here, as of the first book.  I’m thinking it’s going to be three.  At the end of the book, there’s a great sequence that gives us a good introduction to one of the mothers, alongside a sappy and sentimental moment for Dad that’s genuinely heart-warming.

Or, again, I’m an easy mark as a middle-aged father of a girl.

In-between, we see him race strollers, play basketball, give piggy back rides despite his bad back, and race the kids to the couch for the remote. That’s just the start.  The book is just under 50 pages’ worth of gags.

 

Dad, the Stereotype, But Still Funny

Dad plays dancing video game and tires quickly.

(Click to see full size. It’s worth it.)

There’s a lot of the typical doofus dad humor in this book. The father is old and out of shape.  He’s gaining weight.  He doesn’t understand girls.  He embarrasses them.  His hair is graying.  (Actually, it’s more purpling…)

But there is a heart of gold underneath all of that.  And while his career may be in the toilet — he’s an actor stuck doing bad ads, at best, instead of Hollywood or Shakespeare — he does manage to keep the family together and keep the house moderately clean.  Occasionally, he uses some unconventional means to accomplish his goals, but it’s all good.

The laughs come from Nob’s sense of comedic timing. You can predict a lot of the jokes, but Nob pulls them off in perfect ways, both with the angles he chooses in his final panels along with the body language of the people involved.  “Dad” is good proof that an obvious joke can still be funny when told well.  Once those predictable jokes lull you to peacefulness, the less predictable ones hit extra hard.

His acting on the page is great.  Characters don’t squash and stretch.  They generally stay on model, but their movements and gestures sell the stories well.

 

The Real Star of the Book: The Coloring

The kitchen has green walls

I was taken by this series originally by the art.  Nob is a great cartoonist, but the addition of the colors really sells the book.  You only have to look at the pages to see how colorful they can be, and how far the color tones can be pushed.  He does an amazing job with choosing non-traditional color schemes. On top of that, the watercolor technique works well.

I’m not sure what the process is on the coloring.  It looks like real watercoloring and not just a Photoshop brush, but then there are large solid areas that don’t look like watercolor at all.

I like the ragged edges of color you get around each panel. There’s not black line border, so the panel just ends along the white gutter.  The color has to be carefully controlled to stop at the right spot. Whether Nob tapes off the art or works digitally, I don’t know.  But I like it.

The whole thing is very colorful.   The apartment everyone lives in is color-coded by room.  The kitchen is green while the oldest’s room is purple.  The younger middle child’s room is blue, which she shares with the baby.

On top of all that, Nob uses color holds as effectively as I’ve seen them done.  They help make patterns on Dad’s shirt recede, and soften the edges of hair.  He colors in the background lines, as well, though items in the foreground and some architectural elements remain black.  They’re never overdone, though.  He leaves them dark enough that they don’t completely stick out in the way they fade away.

Dad and baby in a ball pit

The overall effect of the colors along with the lack of black panel borders and the color holds make this a bright and colorful book that’s not just easy on the eyes, but also inviting.

 

Aside: Pseudonyms

I like the habit of European creators to adopt pseudonyms.  I don’t know why, exactly.  It should feel stupid. But there’s something that adds to the mystique of the book when the creator chooses this other identity to work through.

Here, “Nob” is Bruno Chevrier, a Frenchman born in 1973.  Fun fact: He got his start drawing Titeuf merchandise art.  I could see his style morphing into that pretty easily.

 

Recommended?

Dad volume 1 by Nob cover

Yes.  It’s an untraditional family sit-com comic that’s attractive to look at, and fun to read. And I love that coloring….

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #79.)

 

Buy It Now

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Izneo.com Preview

 

 

Video Bonus

Watch Nob draw digitally:

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