Book Review – Hubert & Kerascoet, Miss Don’t Touch Me Omnibus
by Rachel S
Disclaimer: I’m not an artist, illustrator, or anything near learned on art, comics, graphic novels, and the like. I just read a lot of them in my spare time. This is kind of out on a limb from what I’ve reviewed before, but I’ve been screaming at anyone and everyone who may get it about this one (and another by the same creative team) for weeks.
Quick summary: Since this is the omnibus edition, the story follows two major arcs. The first is the attempts of the main character, Blanche, to locate her sister’s murderer through getting hired at an upscale Parisian brothel. The second follows Blanche’s complicated relationship with a young man, and the mystery of his sudden disappearance.
This absolutely gorgeous (and large) graphic novel just sort of fell into my lap, and after just a cursory glance at the cover and a few of the pages I was both confused and intrigued. I read a lot of Tintin when I was growing up, and the general impression I got from this book was the similarities between the two. However! I really liked how the figures and motion in Miss Don’t Touch Me were far more dynamic, and the colors, though simple, were vibrant and beautifully chosen to accentuate the scenes. Even in backgrounds, it seemed like the colors conveyed the feeling of a different place, rather than just the representation of it. Because the story deals a lot with the main character’s life both inside and outside a Parisian brothel, it suited perfectly.
In terms of the story itself, I’m always a fan of a good mystery (especially period ones) and this one was really gorgeous. It’s tied in very well to the development of the main character, Blanche, but never feels as if the focus between the two is divided. And as someone who usually can be detached enough to guess the ending, I was pleasantly surprised at the end of both major story arcs. Looking reflectively, I believe this has something to do with the way that the story’s conveyance, while focusing on Blanche, is also tied very well to the actions and relationships of other characters. Instead of having a protagonist while everyone else is window decoration with a subplot or two, the feel of Miss Don’t Touch Me is a lot more intimate, with the characters relating to and acting on each other in ways that may seem superficial but are tied deeply to the story on an emotional level. That may seem vague, but there you go.
All in all, hugely enjoyable, but because of the subject matter probably more suited to older teens and adults (brothels, prostitutes, murder, etc.).
Hubert and Kerascoet, Miss Don’t Touch Me: The Complete Story. Hardcover. New York: ComicsLit (imprint of NBM Publishing), 2014. English translation © NBM Publishing 2008, 2010. Initially published in French by Dargaud, ©2007-2009. ISBN:978-1-56163-899-4
Available on Amazon (in Kindle Edition too yay!)
Notes: The opinions expressed in this post are my own, and the material reviewed is the property of other people (in this case, Hubert & Kerascoet and the publishers of this volume). I like doing reviews, it gives me an outlet for all the weird things I think of when I read. Plus these seem to be getting more detailed and/or rant-like. I have another one scheduled for next week! ~ B&C