You seriously can't go wrong with Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, can you? Bandette, a 13-page comic about a French thief, is a sheer delight. And what's most interesting is how the language patterns of a Frenchwoman speaking English are so similar to the way Zooey Deschanel speaks English. It's an instant sense of quirk which takes over the story in a simple, delightful way, and dictates the tone and style.
Tobin's script is light and takes a little inspiration from the style of Amelie, mixed with bits of Inspector Clouseau and, uh, Liam Neeson's Taken (well, okay, my list of French-set references are perhaps a bit limited). The lead character, Bandette, comes to life because of her own sense of fun and silliness, and she seems to infect the rest of her cast with a lightness of touch which makes, for perhaps the only time I can ever remember, a comic book into something whimsical.
There's also a bike chase and overarching story about a "big con," drawn masterfully by Coover, who is just the best, you guys. Her art has always had a distinct European style to it, with her use of facial expressions honestly — legitimately, you guys, I'm not just saying this because I don't know much about the French — owing a small debt to the work of the Belgian Hergé, creator of Tintin. There's a sparkle in the eyes which makes them feel cartoonish but real at the same time. Here, gifted with a dynamic, fun lead character, Coover makes Bandette woosh around the page like her feet never touch the ground, mixing faded coloring for the backgrounds with bold, vibrant colors for the characters.
It's a fun strip, and a nice introduction to the character and world. It's slight and throwaway, but that's half the intent. It's a breakfast comic. You read it with a coffee and piece of toast, then you go buy a croissant to eat tomorrow. It's fun! It's what more comics should be trying for! And it feels utterly effortless. Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, you guys. They're just great.
Steve Morris is the head and indeed only writer for Comics Vanguard, the internet's 139th most-favorite comic-book website. You can find him on Twitter at @stevewmorris, which is mostly nonsensical gibberish you may enjoy or despise. His favorite Marvel character is Darkstar, while his favorite DC character is, also, Darkstar. He's on Team X-Men, you guys.