As in literature, music, painting, theatre, sculpture, dance, cinema and all other crafts of expression, there are commercial and artistic comics. Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge is undoubtedly part of the second group. An interpretation by Jacques Tardi of the homonymous crime novel by Léo Malet, which I never read, it is a succession of grey, black and white pages reminiscent of film noir, but much more crude, violent and tender. The drawings of Tardi, altogether precise, clumsy, harmonious and grotesque, mirror the paradoxes of existence. In one glance we become aware of the subliminal appeal to cease narrow and judgmental perspectives on life.
The narrative takes us to 1950s Paris and to flashbacks going back to the late 1920s, two decades usually described as glamorous in most fiction, while here the reader is confronted with reality and social history. The detective plot is deprived of twists and frivolous embellishments, which Tardi mocks at in his Adéle Blanc-Sec series by using them to absurdity levels. This is a raw, straight to the point, very well known manifesto, with no intent to novelty whatsoever. The plot of life is always the same, the Orwellian boot on our face and our poetic and operatic attempts to escape from it.