Comic Publishers

November 1, 2013

Dark Horse Reviews: Bandette Vol. 1: Presto!

Bandette vol. 1

Bandette Volume 1: Presto!
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Colleen Coover
Additional Artists: Steve Lieber, Alberto J. Alburquerque, Tina Kim, Jonathan Case, Jennifer Meyer, Rich Ellis, Mich Gerads, Erika Moen

Bandette has been a series I’ve wanted to read for a long time. The first five issues are available digitally for five bucks. I wondered if the hardcover would be worth it. I finally got a chance to check it out, and I’ll get to the why in the rest of the article, but in short, it’s totally worth it.

Bandette is the story about a young woman adventuring thief with a heart of gold who lives in France. It brings back reading comics as a kid, like Tin-Tin or other all-ages fare. This book is fun, plain and simple. Bandette reads like a series that’s been around for ages. Colorful characters appear, and even though each and every one of them is brand new, they read like they’ve been around for decades. The whole book gives me a cozy feeling and a sense of adventure and fun.

The foreword for the book, written by Paul Cornell, sums it up perfectly. He talks of how this series brings about a sense of fun that a lot of modern mainstream comics are missing. This series has whimsy and joy, like the character Bandette herself. Never taking things too seriously, even if it’s an assassination attempt, there’s adventure and sword fights to be had.

Coover’s art conveys the story through the fluid movements of Bandette. The book even looks like the comics of old in the adventurous tone of some old European comic that only now exists as a book from modern day U.S. Beyond Coover’s art is all the guest art as well, another reason this trade is worth its price; you not only get the first five issues collected, you also get the short story comics and written segments with art provided by Coover. The short stories have guest artists who definitely keep the spirit of the book going. You may miss Coover’s depictions, but you won’t turn these away.

Reading the short stories from the perspective of Bandette’s friend (may be more but no one but Bandette could tell him) is delightful. You feel his infatuation with Bandette in how he describes the scenes he’s witnessing. He won’t tell you too much, but you will know, lovely use of show don’t tell. This even comes with a tour of Bandette’s collection of purloined goods. Behind the scenes of an issue is even covered as you get the script of an issue, a must-see for anyone interested in comics writing. The book really makes it worth grabbing in this collected format to get a full Bandette experience.

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you like adventure, action, or fun, then this is a book for you. You’ll want to be an ally to Bandette and help her any way you can, so maybe buying the book is a perfect first step in doing so. Now I really hope Tobin and Coover take that moon landing flag to heart. This book is a labor of love and it shows nothing but love to the reader.

Dr. Alexander Bustos

drbustos@comicattack.net

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