Metaphrog - Louis: Red Letter Day (3 stars)

Metaphrog - Louis: Red Letter Day

Reissue of the Glasgow-based graphic novel duo's 2000 Louis debut


A year after the publication of the fifth Louis book, Night Salad, the Glasgow-based writer-illustrator partnership Metaphrog celebrates a decade of their series of graphic novels for kids and adults. To mark the event, Scot John Chalmers and French expat Sandra Marrs bring us this reissue of the first Louis book from 2000, complete with entirely redrawn and repainted artwork.

For those unfamiliar with Louis, he’s a pudgy, baby-faced working man-child who lives with his companion, a blue mechanical bug named FC, in a suburban community. Louis spends his working day filling bottles with air, his leisure time writing to aunts who don’t exist and the time in between being baited by his troublemaking neighbours.

Louis’ day-to-day life is a touch surreal, which is one of the distinguishing features of the series. There’s also a dark vein of humour that contrasts its imaginative protagonist’s charming daydream life with a wicked parody of the pointlessness of daily labour and the unfairness of life in general. That humour strikes a surprisingly bittersweet note at the book’s blackly comic downbeat conclusion. Much of the above may be lost on youngsters but should tickle older readers, which leads one to conclude that Metaphrog’s idiosyncratic graphic novels are for readers of all ages that share a certain sardonic disposition.

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