By Dustin Cabeal
While trying out the izneo platform I came across Louca. The concept is a high school boy that’s bad at everything ends up befriending a ghost that’s his complete opposite. It’s not a new storyline, but I will admit that I’m a sucker for this type of story. The success of the story lies in the journey and the mystery of how the young man came to be a ghost haunting his old high school. If you were looking for something similar to compare it to, I would recommend Brody’s Ghost from Dark Horse Comics.
The first volume of Louca has a wonderful setup. We’re introduced to the title character as he’s held after class. The teacher informs him that he’s at risk of failing the year and being held back. After that, he trips down some stairs and snaps at the girl of his dreams when she goes to check on him. Wait, we’re not done because Louca’s luck is so bad that he’s then hit in the face with a soccer ball. These events, are all in a standard day for Louca. No joke, the next day is much worse for him.
After this intro, it’s not surprising that Louca wants to change his way of life, but he knows he needs extra help on the upcoming test. He does what any desperate person would do and attempts to steal the test. Only he can’t because he sees a ghost and freaks out. Eventually, he falls asleep hiding in a bathroom stall because that’s just how Louca’s life goes.
The ghost, Nathan, is excited that someone can see him. He seeks Louca out in class and scares the crap out of him, but he also helps him on the test that he couldn’t steal. They find a spot after school to talk so that Louca doesn’t look crazier than usual. Nathan wants to help Louca, mostly because he feels sorry for him, but also because he’s a dead bored ghost. Louca agrees to be Nathan’s student and begin training with him to be cool and learn soccer. Hence Louca and Nathan’s journey begins.
There is quite a bit more story to read in the first volume so don’t think that I gave everything away, really this is all just the setup for the rest of the story which has several other components at play. That’s the only way a story with a mystery such as this can be successful; it must set up elements of the story to be introduced and explored later, which Louca does well.
Author Bruno Dequier’s story pacing is strong and consistent. Again, I’m familiar with this story setup and dragging or rushing, in the beginning, would harm the overall story. Dequier’s dialogue is also solid. Louca’s character is hashed out instantly, as is Nathan’s. There’s a sense of the world, the tone of the overall story and while it’s humorous and lighthearted, there is that mystery surrounding the death of Nathan. I’m looking forward to seeing how the drama plays into this story because Dequier has threaded the needle.
The artwork is gorgeous. It looks like a cartoon but is wonderful because of that. The character’s features are all a bit exaggerated, but it gives the art a style and uniqueness. The artwork is very fluid, and there’s a real sense of movement when Louca runs, which he does a lot of throughout the course of the story for a variety of reasons. The coloring is a big part of the artwork, and this is where the animated feel comes from, there’s so much depth to the coloring, but then also this look that reminds you that it’s a European comic book. Hence why it’s published by Europe Comics. The lighting effects that Dequier illustrates throughout give a sense of time passing and it’s just something more books should work on, not this one, it’s nailed here.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted story in the vein of Brody’s Ghost, which if you’ve read Brody’s Ghost you should be looking for more like it, then Louca is a great read. I will for sure be checking out more volumes of this series and keeping an eye out for anything else that Bruno Dequier is working on in comics.
Louca vol. 1: Kickoff
Creator: Bruno Dequier
Publisher: Europe Comics