O Josephine!

Jason. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-68396-210-6
In his trademark spare style, Norwegian cartoonist Jason tells four short stories of romance, wanderlust, and human foibles. “The Wicklow Way” recalls a long hike along the titular Irish trail; “L. Cohen: A Life” turns Leonard Cohen into a comic farce; “The Diamonds” mires an old-fashioned stakeout in interpersonal drama; and “O Josephine!” imagines a romance between Napoléon Bonaparte and Josephine Baker. The first half of the volume is a marvel of absurdist splendor: Jason’s adoration for chicken salad sandwiches and Bruce Springsteen are among the many charming elements of the initial story, and descriptions of Cohen’s imaginary exploits (fighting Jimi Hendrix, impregnating a teenager through the power of his art) are hilarious while somehow still a celebration of his spirit. The latter two pieces pale in comparison, unfortunately, getting lost in the weeds of their own cleverness. The stakeout story gets bogged down in minutiae, and the pairing of Napoléon with a different historical Josephine is a joke that goes nowhere. Regardless of unevenness, the work manages to be fanciful without running twee, and bizarre without getting gross. Jason continues to be as innovative as he is inimitable. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/21/2019
Release date: 06/04/2019
Genre: Comics
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