Fanny & Romeo

Yves Pelletier & Pascal Girard, 136 pgs, Conundrum Press,, $20

Yves Pelletier is well known in Quebec as an actor and comedian, particularly for his role in founding the boundary-pushing sketch comedy troupe Rock et Belles Oreilles. Fanny & Romeo, his first work as an author, finds him collaborating with Doug Wright award-winning cartoonist Pascal Girard (Bigfoot, Reunion) on a light yet oddly charming farce.

The titular Fanny is a struggling graphic artist living with her career-obsessed realtor boyfriend, Fabien. She has desires to start up a family, but Fabien keeps stalling since he feels that they’re in no position to even consider it. Into Fanny’s life comes Romeo, a neighbourhood cat taken in by a friend, with whom she instantly bonds. When the same friend leaves town for an indefinite period, Fanny takes responsibility for Romeo and she projects desires for motherhood onto him while her relationship with the allergy-prone Fabien begins to suffer.

Fanny & Romeo takes the comedy trope of a misunderstood “affair” in a different, slightly twisted direction and, given Pelletier’s experience as a writer/director in film, it has the makings of a fun movie or series. With likeable — albeit seriously flawed — human leads, the book never gets too heavy, despite the seriously disturbing undertones to Fanny’s obsession with Romeo. Fabien in turn starts out as a one dimensional, self-absorbed yuppie archetype, but then gets to have some of the best laughs in the book through his ridiculous plot to kidnap Romeo in order to win back Fanny.

Girard is a fit collaborator on the visual side, using simplified line strokes and bright washed out watercolours to keep the atmosphere light. It’s fun without getting too silly and hopefully not the last we’ll see from this team. (Matthew Daley)

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