Comics Reviews

'Paul Goes Fishing': It Floats

Our take on Michel Rabagliati's charming semi-autobiographical story about a man facing impending fatherhood. Plus: ''Hazed,'' Mark Sable's satirical look at the freshman sorority universe

PAUL GOES FISHING
PAUL GOES FISHING

PAUL GOES FISHING
Michel Rabagliati
(Paperback; on sale now)
The third in Rabagliati's series of semi-autobiographical stories finds the sensitive protagonist dealing with his and partner Lucie's impending parenthood during a chilled-out fishing trip with friends. Meanwhile, a series of wistful flashbacks sprinkled throughout the story touch on Paul's loving relationship with his parents — this, despite some rough teenage years in which he dropped out of school — and make you root for this good-natured dad-to-be. FOR FANS OF... Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story; Little Star. DOES IT DELIVER? A warm and funny guy (who delivers a goofily compelling Hank Williams tribute, to boot), you can't help but like Paul: He's yet another a man who predictably cites The Catcher and the Rye as his favorite book, but is self-deprecating enough to admit that he loves Lucie most because she's smarter than he is. While the flashbacks remain amusing and insightful (such as an adolescent Paul explaining that while he thinks of Jesus as his friend, God's more like his scary father), a large cast of friends and family — and subplots therein — can crowd the story. Still, the overall humanity of Rabagliati's tale and the wit with which it is written and drawn will grab you — hook, line, and sinker. B+ — Loren Lankford

HAZED
Mark Sable and Robbi Rodriguez
(Paperback; on sale now)
A freshman coed with some junk in the trunk and knee-jerk feminism on the mind is bent on taking down her college's Greek system. But how? Why, by infiltrating its most despicable sorority, called — and don't say we didn't warn you — the STDs. As our hapless heroine gets roped into the transparent-as-cellophane trappings (bulimia, plastic surgery, dubious fashion choices, the thrall of an alpha ''sister''), she trades hotness roles with her clueless but far-too-fetching-for-her-own-good roommate, who's the target of some jealous coeds herself. This, of course, is an allegory for...well, we're not quite sure this story ever gets that deep. FOR FANS OF... All the ersatz offerings, less the satirical bite, of Mean Girls, Heathers, and Dazed and Confused. Also, Revenge of the Nerds, minus its nascent charm. DOES IT DELIVER? There's no doubt that writer Sable has a fertile mind: His Fearless comic enticed with its premise about a superhero addicted to a timidity-eschewing drug; his Grounded comic intrigued as an impotency tale of a power-challenged adolescent boy attending a school of superhuman peers. Yet neither really lived up to its promise. The flimsy, all-too-mortal Hazed, meanwhile, doesn't even take flight despite Rodriguez's heavy-on-the-physical-comedy illustrations. After an eternity of one underdog setback after another, it culminates with a revenge date-rape gag. Emphasis on gag. D — Nisha Gopalan

Originally posted Mar 19, 2008
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