Paris Review

Author: Maarten Vande Wiele

When I was asked to review a graphic novel, I jumped at the opportunity. A comic book geek at heart, this only seemed like a good idea. So, when my eyes lay rest on the bright pink cover of Maarten Vande Wiele’s Paris, a story of three girls trying to make it in the French capital as models, fashionistas and divas, I had second thoughts.


Ever the optimist, I opened the novel and got going. Paris is a combination of 2 novels. The first, ‘I Love Paris’ by Vande Wiele was published. The second, ‘I Hate Paris’, was published the following year. With these 2 chapters alone, it’s quite easy to see where the story goes. Predictable storylines are never good.


But, the job is to treat this book as a whole, which I intend to do. I have to say, I am partial to Vande Wiele’s art in this novel. His distinct black and white cartoons and illustrations have a great simplistic quality to them; it’s easy to see why he got into the business. He clearly has talent as a comic artist.


However, it’s the storyline throughout this publication which lets it down. In a nutshell, this novel is about bad things happening to good looking people. Page 5 sees a car crash, a death and a facial mutilation. That’s on page 5, if you missed that bit.


Hope, the lead character of the 3, moves toParisto become a top model. Her two housemates, Faith and Chastity, want to become singers and just plain famous, respectively. Superficial is a word that comes to mind. No need for an intellectual character in this novel. God forbid.


Each of the above perform deeds they regret almost immediately, on numerous occasions, throughout the story. A comedy of errors? No. I honestly have no idea. This is simply a book about narcissism, vanity and ultimately, self deprecation. But, even the latter is produced in a superficial way. Even the names of the central characters are egotistical.


I’ll put it this way. If you’re a fan of Sex And The City, and feel the need to get yourself a graphic novel that has the same idea, but not the same quality (yeah, I said quality) then Paris is the novel for you. But, if you want a good graphic novel, there are plenty of great Batman titles out there.

 Chris Droney

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