cover image Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus

Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus

R. Macherot, trans. from the French by Kim Thompson. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-60699-452-8

A charming but slight entry from the field of post-Tintin Franco-Belgian all-ages comics. Field mouse Sibyl-Anne (Sibylline in the original bandes desinées, published in Spirou magazine in 1966 and 1967) lives a quiet life in the French countryside, alongside her friends Sergeant Verboten (a porcupine), Floozemaker (a crow), and fellow mouse Boomer. When the greedy, power-hungry rat Ratticus shows up, his destructive ways turn the animal community upside down. Ratticus’s nefarious plots, at first harmless, evolve into full-fledged war, with an army of city rats storming the village and setting fire to Floozemaker’s shop. Sibyl-Anne and her friends, of course, organize la resistance. (Imagine how this played in a France just 20 years removed from Vichy.) Macherot’s plotting is lively and unexpected; his drawing style is an acquired taste, overly busy at times and lacking the elegance of line that you might expect. (That is to say, his rambunctious panels owe more to Albert Uderzo’s Astérix than to Hergé’s Tintin.) Thompson’s translation is colloquial and funny and, one can assume, smooths out some of the original’s mid-century social attitudes.(Aug.)