Frankenstein Encore et Toujours

Comics Journal Review by Bart Beaty

This article appeared in the Comics Journal in 2001 as part of a round up of the best European graphic novels of that year, in which the book was placed second.

Baladi is part of the young generation of Swiss cartoonists who have made Atrabile the most exciting publishing house in Europe in the past couple of years. This book is a rumination on Frankenstein from the point of view of two young people in Ingolstadt. The book isn’t about Frankenstein the monster, it’s about Frankenstein the novel – and more importantly, about Frankenstein as a cultural myth associated with a particular geographic space. Baladi uses Frankenstein as a shadow cast over contemporary life, a function of the disconnection between people in an increasingly schizophrenic age. This is a dark and disturbing work, but then again, these are dark and disturbing times.


Baladi’s comics are reminiscent of a number of contemporary post-underground cartoonists whose work is influenced by dreams, although in many ways I think he is quickly surpassing his most obvious influences in terms of quality. Baladi’s stuff is sparsely and occasionally primitively drawn, but it is also incredibly sophisticated in terms of transitions and design. Ultimately Baladi takes more risks and strives to achieve more than many of his contemporaries, and that is what makes his work so exciting when it works. One might ignorantly dismiss Baladi as a sum of his influences, but his work in Frankenstein, Encore et Toujours demonstrates that he is one of the most challenging cartoonists on the scene today.

BACK TO BOOKS Copyright 2004 Bart Beaty / The Comics Journal