Paul Has a Summer Job
Michel Rabagliati, Drawn & Quarter. Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-896597-54-6
High school dropout Paul is working a miserable job printing raffle tickets at a Montreal print shop, well on his way to becoming a slacker, when he lands a gig at a summer camp for underprivileged kids. Will the spoiled city boy learn a lot about life and himself over the course of the summer? Before September, Paul will fall in love, learn how to rock climb and discover that not only can he deal with kids, but that having them grow to love and trust him is a great reward. It's all a bit ""After School Special,"" but it charms nonetheless. As Paul chases snakes out of his tent, meets cute co-counselor Annie and learns how to get the children to behave, readers keep waiting for the dramatic story to start. But suddenly the book ends, a warm summer memory of long-ago bonding. A contemporary epilogue skillfully and satisfyingly ties up the story's loose ends, showing how far Paul's come in 20 years. Rabagliati is a relative newcomer to comics, having spent most of his career as a graphic designer, and his art shines. It's highly reminiscent of the rounded, cartoony style of Peter Arno and other great New Yorker cartoonists, and Rabagliati has a sure sense of storytelling and the ability to strip even complicated emotions down to just a few lines. Originally published in French, the work is on the lighter side, but teens and adults who attended camp will find much to relate to.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2003