Bandette is Campy, Retro, 1960s-esque Fun At It’s Finest

Bandette – Presto! (Vol. 1)

18124640Author: Paul Tobin
Illustrator: Colleen Coover
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Comic
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Adventure, Comic Book, Graphic Novel

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers:  Low
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I knew as soon as I read the introduction at the beginning of this book that Bandette was going to be something special. When I first looked into getting this comic for review I didn’t really think too much of it. I figured, hey, it looked like it would be a quick and fun read. It looked cute and polished. But I didn’t really put a whole lot of thought into it beyond that. However, the introduction made me re-think how I was approaching this book. The foreward talks a lot about Bandette as a character but also a as a heroine. She’s a strong female character who rejects the usual notions of comic books and society in order to shape her own future. She laughs in the face of danger, jokes around, and makes a place for herself in the world by creating strong bonds and relationships with all sorts.

One of the most moving moments of the foreward, however, was when the guy writing it commented on how putting a 15+ age warning on this comic was a bit overly cautious. He says he’d want his daughter to be reading this at a young age and pretending to be Bandette with her own masks and capes and such. I completely and totally agree. Bandette is, well, a bandit. She’s a thief. But she’s a Robin Hood-esque character who only robs from those who deserve it. She loves animals and reading. She has any number of friends she can call on a moment’s notice when she’s in trouble or needs help. She even has a relationship with a Lestrade-esque character who resents having to call her in because she’s a criminal but who also trusts her to get the job done.

Bandette is a fantastic female character who gets by on her own wits and cunning and doesn’t cater to anyone else. I don’t want to make out this series as being too girly or anything but I do think it’s probably targeted more towards a female audience. It’s very much the sort of story I’d want to read to a future ten year old daughter at bed time or something. It’s fun, it’s full of adventure, and you really get into it.

It’s a really just remarkable book.

Not just because you get to see Bandette in her element but just for the story and the artwork. I was right about the artwork, by the way. It is cute. I absolutely love the sort of older fashioned style they chose to use for these comics. It fights with the story and the carefree nature of Bandette and her exploits. There’s a lot of old fashion sort of nods in this comic. It reads like a lot of classic caper stories but with a particular sense of whimsy that you’ll more than appreciate. Bandette has a very campy, classic Adam West-style sort of comic feel to it. Straight up retro 1960s French comics with plenty of nods to series like the Pink Panther and others.

You’ll love Bandette, you’ll love her friends, and you’ll love watching her foil crimes, match up against Monsieur, and rob from the rich and vile. I really wish I had a physical copy of this TPB because it’s the kind of book I’d love to share with people and even gift. It’s just great.

Final Thoughts: 
Bandette is a fantastic read and I can’t really recommend it enough. It’s campy and fun and really a nice departure from how nitty and gritty a lot of comics have become. If you’re looking for a strong, quirky, and motivated heroine, Bandette is definitely for you. I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss out on this series for so long. I guess it started back in 2012 but this is the first I’ve heard of it. But now that I have heard of it you bet I’ll be keeping my eye out for more.

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