The Salon

November 15th, 2007 at 6:44 am

I’ve just finished a deeeeelightful little graphic novel, Nick Bertozzi’s “The Salon.”

It’s an entertaining romp that rhapsodizes on the art and relationships of those modernists who rocked the art world (Picasso, Braque, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Matisse, Gaugin). I’m immediately inclined to call Bertozzi’s work “cute” but resist because it is too well done to be simply encapsulated by a term that more properly describes girls, puppies, and little pieces of pizza. Bertozzi takes the real life relationships and pursuits of these artists and throws in a murder mystery for a plot, a splash of absinthe for a good device, plenty of decent art jokes, and a thoroughly enjoyable characterization of a young Picasso to make a hell of a story.

I really appreciated Bertozzi’s aesthetic, declining to go the obvious route and let the era’s modern style invade his own story. Instead, and for the better I think, the lines are bold and certain in a very realistic style. Each portion of the story has its own light hue with muted, warm primary colors making for an inviting, comfortable read.

But don’t give it to the little kids this holiday season. In yet another Indecent-Material-to-a-Minor-Case, the owner of a comic book store in Georgia is fending off charges for giving away a preview copy of The Salon.

Who’s going to jail for putting up those slutty perfume billboards? Or mailing me those Victoria’s Secret catalogs?

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