I love these little old cranky man. They’re crotchety, quick to anger, have lived insane lives, and are often wrong in provable ways. But they’re always entertaining.
Thank goodness the book has Sophie to flush them out.
In this volume, an Australian stranger stumbles into town, but nobody uderstands his attempts at French. Meanwhile, Sophie’s next door neighbor, Bertha, is in danger when a flood strikes and her sheep need help. Oh, and it also turns out that Bertha doesn’t particularly like The Old Geezers for reasons that go way back.
Old people know how to hold a grudge.
It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s historically relevant.
Hey You Kids! Get Off My Credits!
Artist: Paul Cauuet
Colorist: Paul Cauuet and Gom
Letterer: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Montana Kane
Published by: Dargaud/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 66
Original Publication: 2017
First, A Quick Refresher
This book is in continuity. There are a couple of short subplots that link directly back to the events of the first book. The second volume is referenced on a few occasions, too, though mostly to comedic effect.
So let’s start with a quick refresher:
Sophie: Puppeteer and granddaughter of Antoine. She buys eggs from her neighbor, Bertha. She’s a single mother to one child, the story behind which we’ll discover in the next book.
Antoine: Grandfather of Sophie. Doesn’t like Bertha one bit and isn’t afraid to shout it from the rooftops. He’s a cranky old man.
Milsey: He’s the dark haired Old Geezer with the mustache who’s on medication. In many ways, he’s the most level-headed of the Geezers. Or, at least, he’s the most laid back.
Pierrot: He’s the self-righteous political fire starter. He likes to hang out with like-minded seniors in Paris and wreak havoc on his political enemies in creative ways. He has a quick temper, and also doesn’t like Sophie buying eggs from Bertha.
What’s Going On Now?
There’s a lot going on in this book, which I didn’t necessarily notice until I tried to summarize it all.
Lupano is building an interesting series by continuously adding onto it while never ignoring what came before. Not only are the characters’ actions consistent with what we’ve seen before, but the previous adventures always inform their next one.
Lupano is also building things up around the characters and the small town they live in. It’s a one company town, Grand-Sevieres Pharmaceutical. Its fortunes create or eliminate the fortunes of the town, which brings a lot of the tension in the series.
It reminds me a bit of some of the DC titles in the 90s that made their locations a main or major character in the series. Think about Starman with Opal City or The Flash with Keystone City. Of course, Gotham City is always its own unique persona, as well.
But mostly, “The Old Geezers” volume 3 is a book about Bertha, the equally old geezer who lives near Sophie, keeps to herself, has a small flock of sheep, and sells eggs to her neighbors.
As the book goes on, we learn more about her, and each time we see her in a new and different light. When everything is accounted for, she’s a completely different character from where the book started, and the explanation of why is not only fascinating and surprising, but also delightfully well told with a visual manner — it’s not just talking heads. Flashback scenes help a lot — particularly with their repetition as new information is layered on.
It’s also an interesting series of dominoes that fall to get to that story. This whole story is a bit of a Butterfly Effect at work — unintended consequences of seemingly unrelated events have dramatic effects. It’s fun to watch happen.
The other half of the story comes from the bedraggled-looking Australian man who shows up in town without being able to speak French. The locals can’t help him, but he hangs out around town for a while, anyway, until it’s time for him to enter the plot. There’s a connection there to the Old Geezers that helps provide a wonderful background for one of them.
In the end, this book is filled with characters who can be caustic, quick-tempered, and mean. But you can’t help but root for them, and want to see more of them. Their unpredictability makes for an exciting series
The most amazing thing to me is that Lupano creates a super political character in Pierrot here in a way that doesn’t feel like someone preaching to his audience. The point of the book isn’t the politics Pierrot is espousing, but rather how Pierrot acts so extremely with his politics.
In some ways, it’s a political farce, or perhaps a self satire with the character. He’s very timely, but the politics aren’t there as an end, they’re there as the means to show Pierrot’s personality — he’s dedicated, holds strong beliefs, and isn’t afraid to jump into action.
I’d love to see Lupano go even further and do a story more informed by the yellow vest movement that’s happening in France right now. That seems right up Pierrot’s alley. The trick would be to not make it a simple political parable. If anyone could do it, Lupano could.
This story, in particular, is a solid piece of work. It’s self-contained, moves at a good pace, keeps a mystery or two without beating you over the head with it, and has a satisfying ending based on a last minute surprisingly emotional turn of events.
The Art of Cauuet
I tweeted a random page of artwork from this series the other day, as part of a series of examples of how well Franco-Belgian comics include backgrounds in their art.
It’s one of the most-liked and most-retweeted things I’ve ever written. People responded to it. Cauuet is crazy good. His work is not flashy. It’s not so heavily stylized that it stands out and demands to be a poster. It walks the thin line between realistic and cartoony, and between tight and stylistic..
He’s not going to draw superheroes, but he makes ordinary people look believable while still being very expressive. The three Old Geezers, for example, can be easily differentiated just from their silhouettes. Their head shape and body positions give each away. And their every line of dialogue is punctuated with just the right gesture or tilt of the head and look in the eyes.
It’s like the way Jordi Lafebre draws “Glorious Summers” — with unique individuals who are designed well, look perfectly human while being slight caricatures, and act strongly for the people sitting in the back of the theater. I appreciate that grandiosity, though. Everything doesn’t have to be subtle and hidden in the shadows and left as an exercise for the reader/viewer.
Oh, and he can also draw a night scene in the rain and make it look dramatically awesome. That’s something every good comic book artist needs. (Colors are by Cauuet and GOM.)
You betcha, yeah. This series is a wonderful blend of character and location. The politics provide for a colorful backdrop, but it’s the characters who truly shine. Lupano does an amazing job walking that line. He brings the plot of this book together in the end in an interesting way, giving the characters a moment to reflect on the final “twist” before ending the album.
And Cauuet is a great artist. It’s not a flashy style, but it’s one that’s still visually interesting and that tells the story well. He has the basics down and a style of his own to go with it. Pay attention to the body language in this book. These are old people who look like old people just in the way they carry their weight.
There are five books total in this series as of this writing. The fifth just came out late last year. All are available in English today.
— 2019.008 —
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”
I love this title page art, and it fits into the story at the end.