Curtain Call

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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This book is a depressing and sad adventure of two very down and out characters. It is interesting, it covers a lot of themes. The art is enjoyable in it's own (intended) bleak fashion. It coveys the underlying tone of fragile hope/ looming doom very well. I am glad I read it, but I am conflicted about whether I 'liked' it. I don't know if you are supposed to 'like' this story. It is, after all, not a happy story. It does drag in places so you have to be patient with it.
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There was not a lot to like in this story.  The characters are unlikable and their actions do nothing to help them. Vincent has abandoned a women and a child in Senegal and pretends that he wants to return.  His best friend is an older down on his luck drunk.  Together they plan a heist. Of course nothing goes right.  The story was not imaginative enough to overcome the unlikability.  The artwork is equally dark and does suit the story.  The book was a quick read.
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A character-driven story with unlikable characters, a slow-paced plot, and unappealing artwork. I did like the lettering, that was about all. While I can appreciate unlikable characters and a slow paced plot, this just didn't do it for me. Nothing was moving me forward in the story, and I have zero investment in anything or anyone.
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This graphic novel was not long but it managed to fit in so many interesting aspects of French lower and middle class existence. The inherited resentments that bear xenophobia, the struggle with the colonial past, the inconsistencies in political affiliation. I usually read op-eds in English on these subjects, and in the best cases they are reflected in works of fiction. But to see a graphic novel present, so unexpectedly, through a caper, but powerfully, all the ways in which our society is ailing, was unexpected, and such a magnificent treat. I am in awe and will seek out more work by Wilfrid Lupano.
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I was anticipating liking this graphic novel, but sadly it wasn't my cup of tea. The art is old school and I liked it and the synopsis sounded intriguing, but I couldn't like the main character and be interested in his story, so sadly, this fell flat for me, but I'm thankful for netgalley and the publishers nonetheless for the book!
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The idea of real life told in a hyper-real way has marked some of the best aspect of graphic novel lore. This reflects in the idea that skewed faces can represent the inner working of a character’s brain or soul. The key is that the art needs to be just different enough from that which surrounds it. “Curtain Call” [Wilfred Lupano/Lion Forge/128pgs] has a very simple story at its core. A guy, down on his luck, just needs a break to get back to the person and place that makes him happy. The problem is that he ran away in the first place. The lead character Marco, like the passive protagonist in “Fight Club”, knows what is right but also what needs to be done although he might have a skewed vision of how he justifies that. Marco is a simple man but knows the wrong people. He also is not exactly the most confident person despite that he knows when he needs to do the right thing. His biggest misjudgment has to do in his choice of friends specifically Gaby Rocket. Gaby is an awesome character. He is boisterous, an asshole and seemingly doesn’t give a shit but he surprises you in the 9th hour. One sequence in particular after he and Marco are staking out a bar where a family dispute goes horribly wrong, he, despite his own best interests of being a bad guy, turns into a good guy without a sense of bias. It only hits him afterwards. This is a story of human foibles and fact that human nature is undeniable. One can dream of redemption but unfortunately time cannot be turned back. “Curtain Call” shows that this is not necessarily a bad thing but one has to come to terms with it. In this instance this graphic novel in both its voice, mannerisms and visuals, despite its simplicity, works with a degree of genius.

B+

By Tim Wassberg
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“Curtain Call” is a story that went against my expectations. At the beginning, I found the protagonists to be unlikable, slacker losers. Vincent is an unemployed 30 year old, who fathered a child, then ran away. Gaby is his 50 year old rockabilly-obsessed friend. Neither has much going on until one day when Vincent decides they should pull a heist. The money would allow him to reunite with his family. 

This story is set in France during 2010, and it is honest and unapologetic. It is full of swearing, violence, nudity, racism, prejudice, etc. The art is detailed and appropriate for the story being told. The main characters have their own baggage to deal with, but they don’t use it as an excuse for their behavior. As the story progresses and they get to see into the lives of others, Vincent and Gaby are forced to reflect on themselves and what is truly important in life. At the heart of it, “Curtain Call” is a story about love and family.
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The story of a deadbeat guy who plans to rob an armored car to finance a trip to Senegal to see the child and woman he left behind.  He's convinced himself he's not doing anything wrong because he's stealing from the bank.  The problem is he's a huge screw up and his cohort is worse.  This thing just dragged on and on.  We get pointless backstories that never go anywhere for every character we come across.  The book would have been much better if the author had skipped the first half of the book.  The art was very good though.
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French guy wants to get back to the woman and child he abandoned during a trip to Africa, so he plans an armored car heist with possibly the one person the least in contact with reality in the whole world.
This story feels like it could have been told a lot quicker if it wasn’t for all the frequent asides and explanations as to why things are the way they are. The narrator mentions the armored car robbery he’s planning, but nothing happens for the first half, other than long justifications as to why everyone is racist and/or a homophobe. And that’s only a few of the ways this gets so depressing. Plus I really hated the ending; why didn’t he just do that in the first place?
I’ve read a couple of others by this author, and while it feels like the same kind of narrative, this time it’s even more so. The artwork is of a kind as well, which on the one hand makes it consistent but on the other means the books are not getting better.
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You have to read the whole story to understand. There are back stories in this graphic novel. At first i was kinda bored but when i got the half way i couldn't stop reading it. It was a good story to read. I liked it.
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Art work seemed a bit dark, not sure if it was due to my computer, regardless though, this was an interesting read!
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Curtain Call reminded me what if the cast of aqua teen hunger force were in human form? That is the exact vibe I got while reading this graphic novel. Some pages though were a little risque and adult rated so I would say probably not for the young teens and geared more towards the adults. However, the storyline pulled you in and you could not stop reading to see what happens next. 

Thank you NetGalley and Diamond Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. We will consider this title for our adult graphic novels collection in our library. That is why we give this book 3 stars.
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Liked the style of the artwork, felt it worked really well alongside the storyline. Quite a simple plot, no huge surprises, but it did touch on some interesting themes. Well thought out characters, overall very enjoyable.
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Nah.  Messy crime saga designed to get a rise out of anyone who dislikes non-PC language.  Unattractive design, a host of unattractive characters, and not enough in the way of interesting story.  This author can give us marvels – but nothing here is anything like.
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Nice artwork though not my style. The story jumps around a bit and I wasn't a fan of the way the fourth wall is broken. I don't need the narrator telling me they didn't start their story where they should because they don't want to reflect etc. Give me it chronologically or make flashbacks later on rather than leaving me thinking 'why did u start it here then bc it's hardly any better?'
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Cinematic and gritty, this book works like a bullet-riddled blaze.  Both the art and story work well together.
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OK, these are probably the stupidest 2 people ever, but one of them is lucky so it works out in the end and actually becomes a pleasant read. You have to get to the very end though, in my opinion, so don't give up early. I really liked the artwork, very gritty.
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Overall this was a very enjoyable read. Author Wilfred Lupano has written what, at first glance, might appear to be a heist story. Vincent and Gaby are an unlikely pair who have teamed up to rob an armoured bank truck. But as the story develops it becomes much more complex than this and the story of the robbery really becomes more incidental to a story about personal relationships in general, and about fathers and sons in particular. Vincent narrates the story, which works well in general, but the device of having him be aware he is the narrator of a story was less successfully used. There are also a few sections of the story where Vincent fills us in on his background and that of other characters, which I would have liked to have been a bit more extended with more dialogue and less narration. But overall the story is strong and well constructed.

The art work of Rodguen (Rodolphe Guenoden) is exceptionally good. His drawings of people have a perfect balance of realism and caricature. The backgrounds and frame composition are detailed and dynamic. There are a few brief sections where there are a number of panels in a row without any words (most notably, the scene where Bernard arrives at Ludo's apartment and the scene where Ludo's mother receives the news of what has happened). The artwork is so well done we not only don't need words to know exactly what is going on, but it heightens the emotional impact. But the best section artistically is the use of the jigsaw puzzle motif when relating Bernard's backstory. It's visually a brilliant choice.

The work of colourist Ohazar is also worthy of a comment. The colouring does an amazing job of highlighting aspects of individual panels. The variety of palettes used for different scenes and purposes is remarkable and contributes a great deal to the overall effect of the storytelling. The visual impact of the colours is quite impressive.
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A gritty, crime graphic novel with a lot of great characters and artwork. I'll definitely recommend this one to our patrons.
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