An incontinent man in a wheelchair is a weapon of mass destruction. Sheeps shoot into the air. A bit of left-wing protest from the past inspires modern political movements. A long-lost love returns from the dead? And modern bread makers are making things too complicated and annoying everyone.
Yup, this is a packed volume.
Artist: Paul Cauuet
Colorist: Paul Cauuet
Lettering: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Montana Kane
Published by: Dargaud/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 58
Original Publication: 2014
The Old Geezers Fun Starts Now
My biggest complaint of the first book in this series is that I wasn’t sure what it was all about.
Yes, there were three old men that seemed to be the stars, but then there was another old man, and one granddaughter who was 7 months pregnant. Is this book set up to tell funny stories of bygone days? Is this book about the pains of growing older? Or is it just some kind of madcap sit-com starring old geezers being mad at the world for changing, reliving their glory days, and still enjoying creating a bit of havoc for old time’s sake?
Turns, out, it’s that last option, and a whole lot more.
These three guys are long-time friends who, in their own little ways, look out for each other. In this volume, we learn more about the subversive underworld of senior citizens who run crazy through Paris and disrupt their “enemies” in rather strange ways. We get to see their headquarters. And Pierrot chases after a long-thought-lost love.
It’s endearing, it’s sweet, it’s caustic, it’s subversive, but most of all, it’s hilarious in a deadpan kind of way where the lack of a laugh track helps.
The Old Folks Move In
In this book, we’re introduced to the underground movement of senior citizens in Paris who have created their own anarchic movement that threatens to take over the city. (Not really, but you have to have goals and believe in a movement.)
They occupy bars they don’t like in order to drive away the clientele and bankrupt the business. They live in an old house that one rich woman runs. There, they create art and plot their surgical strikes on society. There’s a whole subculture involved here, including passports, homes-as-islands, and a resident hacker who can teach the old folks the difference between RSS feeds and the USSR.
Pierrot is already embedded in the group, planning to join them on protests.
He also recently came into a lot of money from someone he thought was an old friend. What he doesn’t know is that the friend is actually Sophie. The senile old man at the end of the first volume gave it to her, thinking she was her mother. And her one mistake in giving Pierrot the money is in accidentally leading him to believe the money is coming from an old flame, who he then obsesses about finding.
Sophie must find a way to straighten him out without breaking his heart. Eventually, she comes up with a plan that’s far too crazy to work in any reality other than the one we have in “The Old Geezers.” Just when you thought the book couldn’t get more madcap crazy, it does.
There’s a large chunk of the front half of the book taken up with introductions to the secret society of old folks. I hope Lupano and Cauuet took their time in introducing everyone in the house because they have plans to use it more in the coming volumes. It’s a place that’s filled with great visuals, great tenants, and tons of potential story gems.
Backgrounds Aren’t Traced; Sometimes They’re Missing for Good Reason
I don’t know what Cauuet’s work process is. He may very well be using Sketch-Up to lay out his backgrounds, but I can tell you this: He’s not tracing from them. He’s not relying on them.
His backgrounds, particularly in interior rooms with all their details, don’t ever look like the perfectly stiff Sketch-Up architecture. His inks leave details to the imagination, but also add a lot of texture. It’s not all slick straight lines. There’s a fair amount of feathering and cross-hatching in those backgrounds. Cauuet leaves out extra details to let your imagination fill in the gaps.
He makes sure his backgrounds don’t distract you from the subject of the panel. They disappear in places where they might interrupt the story in the foreground or middle ground, leaving the colorist to fudge the details to keep your eye from being distracted.
Where, for example, did that curtain in the background go in this panel? The colorist blocks out the color, but there’s no linework there, which would only distract from the kids using that hospital bed as their own jungle gym.
Check out the floor tiles in this opening shot in the house’s foyer. The checkerboard pattern disappears completely around the main characters, helping to draw your eye straight to them. You don’t notice the lack of detail; you see the spotlight shining on the subject of the panel.
I also like how the lines don’t abruptly start and stop. They are “sketched” in around the open spot before becoming solid again further away.
Lupano Has Fun
It feels like Wilfrid Lupano is having a blast writing these pages. The crazier the story gets, the funnier his dialogue runs. Take this panel, for example, where the local explains to Antoine that the owner of the house is ancient. I love the word balloon here, and I don’t care that it’s so large. It works because it’s got bite to it.
This whole building belongs to Francine de la Rochebonnefoy, aka Fifi Hot Buns, blessed with the blood of an aristocrat and the heart of an anarchist, who was a zealous sister in our fights of yesteryear, and who is now 91, with a spine as twisted as a grapevine.
I don’t know how much of that is directly translated from Lupano’s script and how much is added by translator Montana Kane, but it’s a great dialogue sample from the book. Makes me laugh every time.
The other great example of this humor centers on the bread store that the characters visit throughout the issue. It’s a commentary on how complicated things can get. You know how hard it is to order a simple coffee at Starbucks? Picture that in a bread shop in Paris. This is how it all begins:
It’s a recurring gag, and it gets funnier each time.
Yes! This is a great volume filled with the right mix of the absurd, the realistic, and the humorous. This is the book which will make you fall in love with Pierrot, even if you do worry about him a little bit. Sophie gets to be an active co-star in the book, too, as her role continues to expand.
The other two Old Geezers get their own plot lines that keep things interesting, too.
As with the first book, we have a strong ending that doesn’t play to the usual three act structure of bombast, but instead settles things in a generally sweet way.
A third book in the series just came out, and I’m looking forward to checking it out soon.
(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #107.)
Buy It Now
The Rest of the Reviews
- Volume 1: “Alive and Still Kicking”
- Volume 2: “Bonny and Pierrot”
- Volume 3: “The One Who Got Away”
- Volume 4: “The Magician”
- Volume 5: “Stark Raving Bonkers”