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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > MAY 2016 > Paul in retirement

Paul in retirement

Graphic novelist Michel Rabagliati puts his popular character on the shelf – at least for now



Michel Rabagliati, the author and illustrator known for his series of semi-autobiographical comic albums featuring a character named Paul, recently took a stroll around his childhood neighbourhood in Montreal’s east end. Rabagliati has a fairly unassuming look, despite a bold pair of eyebrows that define his round, gentle face, and no one gave him any particular notice as he walked, even though his work has granted him a certain amount of local celebrity. Many of the personal landmarks he visited have appeared directly in the stories of his fictional stand-in: a hardware store, a bakery, the local public school. Rabagliati smiled as he took credit for inspiring a faded sign outside his family’s former apartment prohibiting the bouncing of balls against the brick wall. He became especially animated discussing a large courtyard that acted as a makeshift playground between buildings. “This used to be paved, but when a new landlord moved in he tore it up to plant a garden and installed this fence,” he said. “That was the end of the open and free-flowing yard. We used to be able to ride our Mustang bicycles straight though all the yards down the block. This fence screwed everything for the kids.” Rabagliati beamed as he sat down to overlook the area. “I haven’t been back here for a very long time,” he said wistfully.

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Graphic novelist Michel Rabagliati puts his popular character on the shelf – at least for now. Plus, reviews of new books by David Adams Richards, Carmen Aguirre and Dany Vyleta.
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