Showtime is the story of a magician told by a journalist and relayed by a rodent. Not only is the comic about a magic trick, it essentially is one, and it comes with all the twists and turns of one.
The premise for Showtime is deceptively simple. A journalist is driving on his way to interview a magician (named ‘M’) when he finds some hitchhikers going in the same direction. There isn’t much to do so he tells them some stories about the magician he is set to interview. This serves as a framing device to link otherwise unconnected stories together, with each one of them telling a little bit more about the fictional M’s life. These stories all blend the normal with the strange in a way that is seamless.
Much like with a magic trick, it feels that even though the reader is told everything about M, the character remains something of a mystery. There is a lot of information in this book but there are not any answers. This is a book for readers who love to be presented with something to puzzle over, rather than being told everything about a story that there is to know.
Showtime is written in a way that emphasises expression over logic, and the same can be said of its artwork. The level of detail that the characters are drawn in isn’t always consistent. Their outlines blur with the story. In a similar fashion the background is ever present and detailed, until the story demands a simpler layout. At these points the detailed layouts are replaced with mostly blank spaces. These blank backgrounds draw the reader's focus towards the characters, to give such scenes a more intimate feel.
Showtime is a surreal tale. This makes describing exactly what is going on difficult, but one thing that is easier to explain is the impact it leaves. It is a comic book that invites the reader to stop and consider what they have just read. Showtime is a book that doesn’t make any sense, and strangely, that doesn’t feel like a bad thing.
SHOWTIME / AUTHOR: ANTOINE COSSE / ARTIST: ANTOINE COSSE / PUBLISHER: BREAKDOWN PRESS /RELEASE DATE: 21ST SEPTEMBER