cover image Blue Is the Warmest Color

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Julie Maroh, trans. from the French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Arsenal Pulp (Consortium, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-55152-514-3

Love is a beautiful punishment in Maroh’s paean to confusion, passion, and discovery. Clementine, a high school student, is in the midst of an identity crisis when she locks eyes with older, blue-haired Emma on the street. That moment keeps bubbling up in Clementine’s dreams, drawing her toward a romantic truth that neither she, her family, nor her friends can or want to understand. Maroh’s moody, exaggerated drawings and cool-hued colors give everything a dreamlike patina. Adolescent identity-seeking plays out against a mixture of heart-thumping decisions and brief but steam-heated romantic interludes. Maroh twists this potentially diagrammatic love story into a more operatic affair by telling it all in flashback, as Emma reads Clementine’s diaries under the glowering eyes of her beloved’s parents, who blame Emma for their daughter’s death. Translated from the French, Maroh’s graphic novel has already been adapted into a film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. Controversy over the film’s explicit love scenes (criticized by some, including Maroh herself, for being too voyeuristic and unromantic) will likely result in a lot of interest in this elegantly impassioned love story. (Sept.)