cover image Petty Theft

Petty Theft

Pascal Girard. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (104p) ISBN 978-1-7704-6152-9

A chatty, neurotic cartoonist becomes obsessed with the beautiful kleptomaniac who stole the book he wrote from his local bookstore. Fine cartooning by Girard (Reunion) enhances an already lively and agile plot, and his plainspoken but funny urban characters. Like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, cartoonist Pascal is kept away from his favorite physical activity—running—by a back injury, engaging in amateur detective work while falling feverishly in lust with the object of his amateur investigation. Pascal’s bumbling, passive-aggressive plots to reform thief Sarah are met with her gleefully unrepentant resistance to change, until Pascal resolves to catch a criminal by becoming one: stealing back the books from Sarah. Girard’s fluid and simple but immensely expressive cartooning enlivens Pascal’s increasingly ridiculous plans and sexual daydreams, and his cartoon self is a celebration of sheepish absurdity. Quirky supporting characters—the sadistic chiropractor, the grizzled work supervisor with a sure solution to all of life’s problems, and Pascal’s ever-present ex, in the form of an oversized novelty Halloween head—contribute to the avalanche of hysterical catastrophe on Pascal’s journey. Girard’s overanxious and wired protagonist will draw quirky comparisons to Seinfeld’s George Constanza and Woody Allen, and his breezy, evocative cartooning creates its own distinctive vision. (May)