Graphic Novel Review: Maggy Garrisson

Maggy Garrisson (SelfMadeHero)

Maggy Garrisson (SelfMadeHero) - Credit: Archant


Somebody option this for a television series. Now.

We can but hope that the powers that be responsible for commissioning new British TV drama aren't only paying attention to the mainstream comics industry, but have their fingers squidged deep into the independent pies as well.

Because this is a very good book. Did I say good, no, it's better than that, it's actually bloody brilliant, and features the debut of one of the most well-rounded and charismatic female sleuths of recent years.

After two years on the dole, Maggy Garrisson jumps at a job opportunity with ramshackle detective Anthony Wight, who just about manages to keep himself standing between bouts of excessive drinking.

But when he ends up in hospital after a brutal beating, Maggy picks up on an outstanding case which embroils her in a world of loveable gangsters, corrupt coppers and crooked businessmen…

The story and characterisation is first-rate, with a noirish feel that immerses the reader in Maggy's increasingly dangerous world, as she crosses from the mundanity of everyday life into the shadows of crime.

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French writer Lewis Trondheim certainly knows how to tell a tale, aided by the translation skills of Emma Watson, but it is artist Stéphane Oiry who really lifts this book into the higher echelons of graphic novel fiction.

Apart from her use of a tight panel grid to keep up a fast-paced narrative flow, she has an attention to detail which borders on the obsessive. Whether it's in the rain-soaked streets of Kilburn and Kensal Rise in London, or en route to and in the midst of Brighton, she brings every page to life with a detailed observation of actual streets, shops and pubs, so everywhere shown is immediately recognisable.

This volume collects all of the currently available instalments in the Maggy Garrison series, but hopefully this isn't the last we've seen of the vitriolic investigator, and she'll be back pacing the mean streets of north London again before too long…