Review: Maggy Garrisson (SelfMadeHero)

Lewis Trondheim and Stéphane Oiry give us a French perspective on the classic English murder mystery in Maggy Garrisso. But will this new version of the classic bande desinée, now being released by SelfMadeHero, be worth investigating?

Publisher: SelfMadeHero
Writer: Lewis Trondheim
Artist: Stéphane Oiry
Translated by: Emma Wilson
Price: £14.99 from SelfMadeHero

Maggy Garrison is a bit of a down and out loner living in London who has been handed a job opportunity by her neighbour’s nephew – Anthony Wight. Wight is a private detective who seems to have neither any clients, nor any motivation to acquire any. Barely a day into her new role her boss is savagely beaten. Rather than run scared Maggy dives in to solve the mystery and embarks on a chancy caper.

The caper is a sinister one, embroiled in the shady underworld of London. A seemingly innocent object belonging to Wight is the key to a succession of events which takes Garrison from London to Brighton and back, as well as back to her home town of Long Eaton in Derbyshire.

Lewis Trondheim’s writing keeps you on tenterhooks throughout as this enjoyable tale twists and turns between characters and locations.

Stéphane Oiry does a great job of capturing the colours of England. He goes to the greatest of detail – from high street shops to train franchise and ambulance liveries.

The palette is fantastic and captures the mood in each scene brilliantly. Oiry manages to make quite a dark tale feel somewhat light hearted with his choices of colour.

The characters faces provide detailed focus to the emotions both you and the characters experience. Oiry uses this panel arrangement really well to put the characters centre stage.

As with Oiry’s eye for details, Trondheim builds great personalities with intriguing backstories. Whilst you are eager to find out what will happen to Maggy and her accomplice, you are also hoping to learn how each of the characters – all deeply flawed in one way or another – arrived at these points in their lives.

He also slips in comments and commentaries on modern life with observations about shopping and the decline of high street staples such as shops and pubs. That they are able to offer so many layers to the basic storyline makes even more enjoyable than expected.

Through the fantastic graphic novel Maggy Garrisson, you are left wondering not only about how the story will end but also reflecting a little on twenty first century living and what it entails both on a personal and community level.

If Trondheim and Oiry leave you wanting more, then the good news is that a Maggy Garrison – Volume 2 has been released and her story continues.