One of the earliest full-length, standalone graphic novels to be published in Europe and certainly one of the most original, Ici Meme was seralised in the adult French comics monthly, A Suivre, in the early 1980s. A quarter of a century later, this dark, funny, consistently surprising masterpiece has finally been translated into English as You Are There. Drawn in Tardi's crisp, 1980s neo-clear line style, gorgeously detailed, elegantly stylised with impossibly deep slabs of black, You Are There is a feast for both the eyes and the brain.
Translated into English for the first time since it was written, more than 25 years ago, Jacques Tardi & Jean-Claude Forest s You Are There proves well worth the wait. Forest s satirical, minimalist writing lampoons French society and human greed with equal skill, and Tardi has never done better art: It s all deep, dark pools of blackness that perfectly match the pitch-dark humor of the writing. Equal parts Beckett and Kafka, the story explores the conflict between greedy speculators and the last heir of an aristocratic family whose land has been reduced to a series of precarious walls and towers. Tardi s intricate, gorgeous art gets better and better until the book s spectacular ending. It s an absolute must-read for anyone interested in how European comics got to where they are today. Had this been translated earlier, it likely would be counted as one of the masterpieces of the rich period of the mid- 80s [Grade: ] A.