The Old Geezers find themselves divided!
Who should they save? The development project that brings new jobs to their small town again? Or the grasshopper that doesn’t jump?
Oh, and the biggest mystery of the series is answered: Who is Juliette’s father?
Credits That Don’t Hop
Artist: Paul Cauuet
Letterer: Cromatik Ltd.
Translator: Montana Kane
Published by: Dargaud/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 59
Original Publication: 2017
The Old Geezers Are Divided!
Everyone’s favorite local pharmaceutical company, Garan-Servier, is planning to expand and add new jobs from the local area after the events of the previous book.
But there’s something holding the project up! A rare grasshopper is discovered at the site and all plans to develop the land are put on hold. The grasshopper must be protected!
This puts Antoine and Pierrot at odds. Antoine is the old union leader who wants nothing more than to bring jobs back to the area. Pierrot hates big business and wants to sock it to The Man in his usual over-the-top way.
Meanwhile, Sophie continues to have issues with her absentee father, and maybe finds the man of her dreams. Is it too good to be true?
The Realms of Politics and Business
This book keeps the story flowing from the previous volumes while standing well on its own. There’s no cold open type of thing with Pierrot and friends having a daring adventure into ludicrous political protest, but the group — “Neither Eyes Nor Master” — does show up in the book. They want to wreak havoc, but there’s much less of a chance to do so here.
Much of European comics is often set up to make religion or politicians the generic bad guys. In this book, there’s a more North American feel of making Big Business out to be the jerks, but it’s interestingly balanced with a mixed set of feelings towards conservancy, environmentalism, and government regulation. Is one little grasshopper worth losing hundreds of jobs?
In a very “The Old Geezers” kind of way, this book handles those questions. They’re handled from the local, boots-on-the-ground point of view. This isn’t a clash of politicians and business owners. Everything is seen from the point of view of the locals who need the work, including the small businesses that want to see more people in town with more money.
The grasshopper is almost a side show. There’s a presentation from the local environmentalist to the people that goes sideways, in part because Vasco, the lead entomologist, is dreamy and Sophie is immediately smitten.
It also gives Pierrot’s group something to rally around. And, ultimately, it provides an interesting bit of irritation to the plot that puts things in action to wrap everything up in an amusing way.
Credit to Wilfrid Lupano, who writes a series filled with strong characters with a deep past who help to personalize the various conflicts you might see in real life. They’re not alway cut-and-dried, and each point of view gets a voice. .
On top of that, he juggles multiple plots per book to make sure everyone has a part of it. “The Old Geezers” is the “Seinfeld” of Franco-Belgian comics. It all comes together in the end, often in surprising ways. This book is no exception.
Meanwhile, with Sophie…
Betwixt and between the events of the main storyline, Sophie continues to have issues with her father. In this book, his eternal promises to see his granddaughter are continuously broken. You can tell that, though never surprised by it, she continues to be let down by it — probably more for her daughter’s sake than her own. No doubt this also feeds into her choices in being a single mother and how he handles that.
It’s something Lupano has been building on throughout the course of this series, and — tease alert! — will pay off in the next book.
Meanwhile, an encounter with a local leads to a possible revelation concerning her father that you might have thought of back in volume one, and the answer to the biggest question of the series so far: Who is Juliette’s father? It’s just as delightfully random and crazy as everything else in the series, naturally. It all ties into her history with men and why she’s all but given up on them.
Meeting Vasco, though, may convince her otherwise. Lupano and Cauuet dig into her relationship with him quickly, showing it through Sophie’s eyes in an immediately exaggerated manner.
It’s a very funny two page sequence where we see the same scene repeated, but through a very twisted lens the first time to show Sophie’s distraction at Vasco’s handsomeness. (That’s a sample above. The first one shows the dreamy-eyed view from Sophia, while the second shows the same scene, but as it actually happened.)
Sophie’s name might not be in the title, but she’s just as vital a member of the cast as the three old guys. She’s also, as we’ve seen from time to time, just as cantankerous and politically opinionated as them. It’s fun to watch her flip that switch off and on, most memorably on the second half of the first volume on the road to Italy. A relationship with Vasco would provide her with something to deal with on her own, and not in relationship to the title characters. It’ll be fun to see that develop.
Over the course of these four books, Lupano and Cauuet have built up a town of unique and colorful characters. It’s starting to remind of “The Gilmore Girls.” It’s Stars Hollow all over again.
Everyone has their own look and their own unique quirk. There are no small town secrets. It’s small enough that everyone’s in each other’s business, and the local bar or the local bakery is a strong gathering place.
The town action here takes place in the local bar, where the different characters on site give Lupano easy access to representatives of all the different sides of an argument.
And, of course, the occasional standout character has a history with one of the Geezers. In this book, it’s Jojo, the down-on-his-luck roofer at the bar who is able to solve’s Sophie’s long-running leaky roof issue, while providing her an interesting account of her father’s high school life.
I don’t want to see them take over the book, but it’s always fun to meet new townfolks, and see how they develop the series to be more fully fleshed out. They add character to the series while delivering plot points.
(For another book with quirky townfolks providing a few good laughs and extra points of view for the main character, check out “Back to Basics,” the wonderful semi-autobiographical series from Manu Larcenet and Jean-Yves Ferri.
Of course. This is a great series, and this book keeps the momentum going strong. There are threads running through all the books so far, but each book still tells one central story.
I’ve barely covered the amount of material this book covers. I didn’t cover the on-going treasure hunt nor the trio of local boys who continue to play the roles of chaos agents.
If you’ve read the first three books, you’ll finds lots of running gags, background plots, and character bits still playing out..
“The Old Geezers” is great art combined with great story and fun characters. What more could you ask for?
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”
Buy It Now
The book is available digitally from the following retailers: