Micrographica by Renee French

Categories:  Reviews

by Renee French
Top Shelf Productions

micrographica3.jpgMicrographica is about the two types of rodents in the world.

The first type cannot see beyond what’s in front of it, has a minor preoccupation with crapballs, and is perfectly happy finding a wet squishy hole to crawl into at the end of the day.

The second type cannot see what is right in front of it, takes situations too seriously, craves acceptance, and is intent on reaching that glittering mountain of crap in the distance.

Which one are you?

Micrographica was originally a webcomic on Serializer.net, but Renee French’s comics are such that they reward repeated viewings. There is a compulsion to keep a physical version of it handy to flip through during inbetween times.

Fans of French will notice that visually, Micrographica has very little of the detailed stipple shading and marshmallow fleshiness that we’re used to getting from her. And at first glance, this seems like a quickly doodled series of panels, a preliminary treatment, or a B-side. But like everything about French’s comics, there is a bit of detail that changes the story–the actual drawings of each panel were done only a centimeter wide and blown up for viewing by human eyes.


Perspective figures largely in Micrographica, and in this case the perspective belongs to a few rodents by the names of Moe, Preston, Aldo, and Nubbins. What we understand of the world is limited by what these tiny rodents see and by what the frames of the panels show. And within all that, she is able to give each rodent distinctly different perspectives.

French is an unusually deft visual storyteller, with a style that is a cross between Magritte and the Garbage Pail Kids. Not only does she produce art that is fascinating to look at, she is able to tell unusual stories without being arbitrarily perverse.

Her work succeeds where most cute-plus-weird art fail. Instead of leading you down the worn path from innocence to ironic distortion or micrographica.jpgjuxtaposition–satanic little ballerinas twirling on a giant slab of bloody steak, for example–French actually gives you something organic to feel, most of it being strange, barely explainable sensations.

Micrographica is less perverse than her usual stuff, mostly because the perspective of the rodents makes some of the weirdness seem par for the course. The rodents themselves, with their short arms and round bodies, also lend a huge cute factor.

For a smallish comic book, Micrographica is a very satisfying read that is rounded out with some fun goodies at the end.

-Elizabeth Chou

No Comments to “Micrographica by Renee French”

  1. mrauchterlounie | March 21st, 2007 at 11:53 am

    this looks right up my street. slightly surreal. It reminds me a little of the moomins.
    my own stuff could with a little more “odd”

  2. Jody | November 30th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I love Renee’s work so much I asked a tattoo artist friend of mine to do some ink on me of a few of her characters. I have two. I love them so much… I am so excited to order her new book!
    Id love to meet her someday!

  3. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Mar. 22, 2007: Farting space potato