By Dustin Cabeal
For some reason, I thought this story would be a super serious story in which a man has to determine, what is art. Thankfully, it did and didn’t end up being about that. From beginning to end, The Cross-Eyed Mutt was a treat. Full of familiar family settings, romance, and art.
The gist of the story is that a security guard at the Louvre visits his girlfriend’s family for the first time and when they find out his job they assume he’d be able to get their grandfather’s, grandfather’s painting hung in the Louvre. Enter the Cross-Eyed Mutt. A painting that frankly makes me laugh just thinking about it.What happens after that is a strange turn in which our guard meets one of the secret curators of the Louvre; a secret society that determines what goes into the museum and for some reason, the Cross-Eyed Mutt has caught their eye.
At its core, this story is a love story. Which is fitting because the society is built around love, the main character’s entire motivation is love because he’d have to be in order to deal with his girlfriend’s crazy ass family. Let me just take a moment and tell you how much I related to the crazy ass family part. You don’t get to pick your in-laws they say… or some bullshit like that.
Étienne Davodeau is both the writer and the artist. Frankly, this has become my preferred method of storytelling in graphic novel format. There is a wonderful pacing to the story that Davodeau is in complete control of, making for a wonderful reading experience. The writing is full of wit, pouty emotions and characters that are interesting to experience. Even the brother’s that are extremely over the top, still come across naturally in the story.
The artwork is gorgeous. It has a very European style to it, and by no means is that a backhanded compliment. I absolutely love Davodeau’s style and wish that more American comics were in sync with the European style. The comic is in black and white with gray scale, but the depth to the artwork blows away anything else I’ve read and reviewed in the past few weeks that was using the same technique. Ah, the depth to the images is just incredible. That and Davodeau does a phenomenal job of recreating other pieces of art within the pages of The Cross-Eyed Mutt.
I hope to see more work from Davodeau, who is a talented storyteller. It's these complete packages from both a writer and artist that truly shine above other comics. When you produce something as finely tuned as The Cross-Eyed Mutt, then you reach this level of mastery that few comic book creators manage. This book is masterful and something any comic book fan can enjoy, but a step further, any fan of art could and should enjoy.
The Cross-Eyed Mutt
Creator: Étienne Davodeau
Translation: Joe Johnson
Publisher: NBM Publishing