Yellow Cab

Chabouté and Benoît Cohen, trans. from the French by Edward Gauvin. IDW, $19.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-68405-892-1

Eisner nominated artist Chabouté (Park Bench) captures the restless spirit of New York City in this comics odyssey adapted from the 2018 memoirs of filmmaker Cohen (Mohammad, My Mother & Me). The burnt-out artiste determines that becoming a taxi driver will salve his woes, offering a palate-cleansing mundane day job and, he hopes, plot fodder for a new script. But the red-tape-ridden route to a license proves complicated and expensive, with moving deadlines, closed offices, ever-changing regulations, and confounding micromanagement. Cohen finally gets the go-ahead to pick up fares, contending with traffic cops and other unexpected encounters along the way. He cruises the streets with eccentric passengers in his backseat, from bawdy-talking businessmen to a silently weeping young woman, all drawn in precise portraits. Cohen mulls over what his fictionalized script might be (“Important: show these moments of solitude and waiting”), and it all comes full circle when he helps a nervous new taxi driver negotiate his first day. Chabouté’s wide, detailed panels and hallmark silhouetting portray the diversity of the five boroughs, with exquisitely lined architecture, subway cars, and vehicles in backdrop. The quiet desperation recorded between “Points A and B” feels reminiscent of Harvey Pekar slice-of-life comics crossed with Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth. It’s a truly cinematic study of the grit and glory of the city. (May)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly identified Chabouté as having won an Eisner award.

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