Fumi Yoshinaga's Gerard & Jacques: Volume 1
By Leroy Douresseaux
September 18, 2006 - 18:31
Gerard Anglade and Jacques first meet in a brothel. The older Gerard is a customer, and Jacques is a young male prostitute, but he was once Count Jacques Philippe du Saint Jacques, the 12th heir to the Du Saint Jacques family. However, upon his father’s death, strange men went to the family mansion and seized Jacques (as he tells Gerard). However, it is Gerard who informs Jacques that the late Count du Saint Jacques borrowed money heavily in a desperate attempt to keep up appearances and to preserve his reputation, but the father used the son’s body as collateral.
After a rough first romantic encounter between the two, Jacques eventually becomes Gerard’s servant, but the spoiled child of nobility needs the older commoner who built his wealth with his hands to teach him how to survive on his own without selling his body. Rising to the challenge, Jacques eventually becomes Gerard’s houseboy doing manual labor at the older man’s estate near Paris. It’s not long before Jacques begins to see Gerard in a different light, and the readers learn the origin of Gerard’s facial scar.
Gerard & Jacques, Vol. 1 comes with a “Parental Advisory” label warning of “Explicit Content.” There isn’t much explicit content, but what is there is quite shocking – Gasp! – gay sex. Actually, the sex scenes in Gerard & Jacques aren’t nearly as graphic as that found in two adult comic book sensations from the 1980’s and early 90’s – Omaha the Cat Dancer and Cherry. In fact, G&J is more like Omaha, a narrative with erotic scenes and sequences.
While Omaha blended the love story with soap opera, murder, mystery, and suspense, G&J is that sub-genre of the modern romance novel known as “historical fiction.” The story is set in France, near Paris, during the second half of the 18th century. The stories in Volume 1 take place several years before the French Revolution, and span a time period of just over three years. Manga-ka Fumi Yoshinaga takes the best of historical fiction to create this manga – a love story neatly set in a particular time period.
Yoshinaga’s composes his art with a delicate line to create shape and form and uses toning to give it texture. That delicacy is best exemplified by Gerard’s elastic and grasping fingers. Digits and shadowed, textured art help to create the perfect atmosphere for this highly charged romance. This is an erotic page turner that left me begging for more, and Gerard & Jacques is yet another example from another country of how effectively comics can tell stories that aren’t superhero.
9 of 10
Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15