The amazing independent comic Tart, by Kevin Joseph and Ludovic Salle, has just seen it’s fourth issue released. I have always been a loyal supporter and you can read my review of the first volume on this blog. The spectacular part of this new issue is the artwork and development of its female characters. I have already described Ludovic’s art in previous reviews but the natural beauty of his women shone through this issue, and I think it is worth highlighting.
The first point I must mention is that Ludovic is not afraid. There are a few shots of bottoms, breasts and bare skin throughout but because there is no attention drawn to it being risqué, as it comes across extremely natural. Kevin Joseph has a way of writing that brings out the natural insecurities of people, not just a focus on female physical insecurity. The art comes across similarly as the book is not overwrought with Playboy poses or alluring young girls. They are there, but not in every panel and there are a number of shots of girls in bikinis in this book! It is also noticeable that there is not a focus on large breasts and big buttocks throughout the issues. It is finally as if someone realised that attractive women do not all have to have ridiculous curved figures. Tart herself is wonderfully slender and well proportioned, this is demonstrated by the cover of the issue.
The first few pages show very distinctive looking women. Not only are there clothes distinctive, and pretty stylish, their facial features and skin tones are different. It is often the case that many artists draw female facies extremely similarly, and rely on hair colour and birthmarks to distinguish them. This is certainly not the case with Ludo as he uses skin tone and hairstyle to create his characters. Together with the complexions, the colouring is incredibly warm throughout the book and the tones make it very pleasant on the eyes. It is an interesting affect because the girls really fit their environments and create a lovely atmosphere. We have already seen in issue two how the tones change to allow us to appreciate the cold of snow.
Tart does not appear to have a uniform as such, but has unique sense of style. She is seen wearing a different outfit in almost all of the issues. This means her figure and face needs to be recognisable thoughout, which it is. In this single issue alone she moves from a dress, to a bikini, to a nun’s habit, to underwater wear, which is surprisingly practical! I adore the variations and styles each character has, in not only their features but in the clothes they choose to wear. It is surprising to see a male artist have a true appreciation for female fashion!
The story is allowed to be the centre of the book without the need of gratuitous glamour shots, allowing Ludovic to run wild with his imagination. He seems to be completely unrestrained with his pencilling and it is refreshing to see that characters can be seen looking differently, but still recognisable. I am really falling for Tart as a character because she is confident, caring and beautiful in an intimately relatable way. This book is moving from strength to strength and I enjoy watching it mature into a beautiful and comforting work of art!