Review: La Famille


I was immediately arrested by the cover page of La Famille, which features a young boy playing with a toy car thinking, “J’aimerais tellement me marier avec maman, si seulement y avait pas papa” while his sister plays with a doll thinking, “J’aimerais tellement me marier avec papa, si seulement y avait pas maman.” The Freudian in me had to get it.

This simple little comic is a pleasure to read because of the amusing dialogue. My favourite exchanges were between the parents and the children. I’m not sure if the author, Bastien Vivès, has children, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t because he captures the thoughts and questions of children so perfectly, as well as their parents’ insouciant replies. The artwork itself is disarmingly simple, gestural and expressive. The comics are border free, but the timing is perfect.

An example (please excuse my poor translation) as the son talks to his mother, who is out of the “frame,” perhaps busy with some task:

Son: Mum.
Mother: Yes.
Son: There was a boy at school who called me a pedo.
Mother: We don’t say “pedo,” we say “homosexual.”
Son: How do you know if you’re a “homosexual?”
Mother: Well, if one day you feel like you’re attracted to a boy and you’d like to hug him, there’s a good chance that you are a “homosexual.”
Son: But I don’t want to hug a boy.
Mother: Well, for now, you can say you’re not a “homosexual.”
Son: What do you mean, for now?
Mother: You’re still a child. When you become a teenager, you’ll have a choice: girls or boys.
Mother: There are men who have a wife and kids and then one day, they give it all up because they discover they’re “homosexuals.”
Mother: This can happen anytime.
Son: Anytime?
Mother: Oh yes, maybe from the moment you’re talking you already feel homosexual impulses [n.b. not 100% confident of this translation], but you don’t know.
Mother: Maybe one day you’ll come across a picture of a naked man, and you’ll want to touch him, caress him, make love to him.
Mother: Before you know it, you’ll be hiding videos of black beefcakes on YouTube to watch.
Son: I don’t want to be a pedo, mum.
Mother: You know, you don’t have a choice in the matter.
Mother: But know that it would make your father very sad.


I purchased my copy of La Famille at The Beguiling. Call beforehand to check if it’s in stock.

UPDATE: The wonderful blog, Comics&Cola has reported that this little series by Vivès might be translated into English. Read on for reviews and a great selection of sample pages from Vivès’ other works. I’ll post more info here if there is eventually a N. American release.