Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
I can’t say I know much about the French comic artist Bengal — I wasn’t even sure of his gender until I looked up his Lambiek entry. As far as memory serves, none of the series he’s worked on in France have been translated into English. My only exposure to his work is an anglophone edition was the sizable gallery of his art in the second issue of Ashley Wood’s defunct art-mag Swallow from 2006. Lately he’s been blogging commissions of characters from U.S. comics and media. In lesser hands, the drawings would be more typical cheesecake. Bengal’s poses tend to be more interesting than that, expertly using body language to suggest characterization and narrative. Even his version of that stereotypical nerd fantasy, the slave-girl Leia, avoids a straightforward charge of exploitation by concentrating the viewer’s gaze on her indignant, accusatory stare.