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Bandette Volume 1: Presto! Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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About the Author
Paul Tobin is a New York Times-bestselling author. His writing includes Bandette; Colder; and many other comic books, graphic series and works of fiction. Bandette, drawn by Colleen Coover, was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Digital Series in 2013; again in 2016; and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Graphic Literature in 2016. Paul's graphic novel I Was the Cat, created with artist Benjamin Dewey, was nominated for an Eisner in 2015.The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat, first in Paul's series of five novels for middle-grade readers, debuted in 2016 from Bloomsbury Kids in the USA, the UK, and worldwide. The second book in the series, How To Outsmart A Billion Robot Bees, came out March 2017.
Colleen Coover is an Eisner Award-winning comic book artist based in Portland, Oregon. Her comics include the adult title Small Favors and the all-ages Banana Sunday. She has been published by Dark Horse, Top Shelf, Marvel, and many others. She works with her husband, writer Paul Tobin, on the Eisner-winning series Bandette.
Top customer reviews
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Bandette is a really, really charming and delightful character and book. If you're looking for dark and brooding characters or a world grounded in harsh realism, you won't find it here. Bandette is a character who is constantly smiling and is surrounded by friends who help her in her puckish rogue adventures - she's no dark solitary operator. Paul Tobin writes the book in a very breezy, lightweight and accessible style ("How dare you shoot at me? How rude!") where even though real threats like bank robbers and gangsters appear, they're not dealt with with over-the-top violence; instead Bandette utilises "knockout spray" (another feature that reminded me of Batman 66) and acting to outwit her foes.
The comic is drawn in a strongly European-influenced style, probably to match the French setting, like the Commissioner Gordon-type character, Inspector B.D. Belgique, who looks like a cross between Goscinny and Uderzo's Asterix and Dupuy and Berberian's Monsieur Jean, while the settings have a distinctly Herge/Tintin flavour to them. It's also coloured in a painted style similar to Jill Thompson's beautiful Beasts of Burden books - but I don't want to take anything away from Colleen Coover, her art in this book is definitely her own and absolutely gorgeous, I mention all of these artists to say that she's in good company and the comic looks great. The settings appear clearly but look almost dreamlike when the eye focuses on the characters like a watercolour, and her character designs for Bandette, Monsieur, and Matador are outstanding. The facial expressions especially are subtle but distinct and in certain panels she even fools you into missing certain details that, when you turn back, you notice were there all along (I'm thinking of the pickpocketing scenes in particular) which displays a truly masterful technique.
The story itself of Bandette, her rival Monsieur/Leon Corvo, Absinthe and FINIS, is really fun and I loved reading it for that, but it's the little details that put this book over the top for me. That Bandette is a hero who, in her downtime, enjoys reading books is great; that her outfit turns into civilian clothes is brilliant; and that her hideout is accessed through a puddle is amazing. I love that Belgique constantly swears but that his expletives are deleted (which again reminded me of Asterix where Goscinny and Uderzo came up with the most amazing ways to represent swearing without using words). There's also one scene in a graveyard where Bandette fights Matador, an assassin hired by FINIS to bring Bandette to them, and their fight - after the theatrical flourishes both love saying precisely for their theatricality: "And so. We meet at last. Yes! I've always wanted to say that!" - divulges into a discussion about clothing, as they're fighting!
Bandette: By the way your cape is very nice.
Matador: Oh, thank you!
Bandette: Did you make it yourself?
Matador: No, I am no good with the needle...
The book ends with a series of short stories drawn by different artists and includes a prose short story by Tobin that fleshes out the Bandette/Daniel the Rad Thai delivery boy storyline, and all of them are excellent.
Bandette is the real deal, the full package, and whatever other cliches you want to call it - maybe the best one of all: a good read. It won the Eisner this year for Best Digital Comic and deservedly so. Tobin and Coover have created a wonderful character and world that I completely fell for and will definitely be returning to again in the future, especially for the prospect of reading about Bandette and Monsieur's Great Thieving Race. Tobin's script is dynamite, Coover's artwork is sublime, and Bandette is pure joy expertly distilled into a perfect comic - an absolute success on every level.
Dark Horse seems to be making a habit of printing these digital first comics into fantastic collected volumes. Its a good habit to have, Dark Horse.
Bandette is fun.... Probably the most accurate work for it. Bandette is also more fun when you read everything with a silly French accent, non? Writer Paul Tobin and artist Colleen Coover created one of the most exciting adventures that I've read.... I was going to say "in a long time", but so many good graphic novels have came out recently! I guarantee you'll crack a smile or two at the dialogue. I applaud Tobin at creating quite a few fantastic one-liners.
One of the turn offs I could see for others would be the art... Many would look at this and think it is a comic for young girls, but I assure you that it isn't. The art is the main thing that drew me to the comic. It is masterfully ink washed by Colleen Coover (a process she thankfully shares in a tutorial at the end of the book) and some of the content is adult. Colleen is no stranger to adult material (check out Small Favors), but it is kept to a level where I would feel comfortable letting my teenager read it.
From a parent's standpoint, there is a scene where a man and woman are about to make out, but hey are still clohed in underwear. Another is after the main story in a short by a different artist. It has reference to a bordello and has a woman topless, but covering herself. There is also some bad language, but it isn't used very often. Two, maybe three times.
The physical package is perfect. Smaller than the usual graphic novel, but hardbound with thick, glossy pages. Because the main story is relatively short, there are several short comics by different artists, as well as a 10+ page "glimpse" into the creative process behind Bandette. Definitely a nice presentation for the low price. Again with the good habits, Dark Horse. =)
Overall, great volume. Can't wait for more. (And if you're like me, you'll get the digital comics on Comixology. Issue 6 should be out now.)
Most recent customer reviews
We really liked the story and the artwork.
The females is the family were exited that the main character is female and the good...Read more