Horizontal Collaboration Navie/Maurel

Horizontal Collaboration

OK confession time. This is my first ever graphic novel! Apologies are therefore needed, I can’t review Horizontal Collaboration from anything like an experienced fans point of view. I am simply a girl who has an interest in the plot (World War Two collaborators) and who was curious. The quality of the art, the conventions of the genre, the originality etc. are therefore not being judged. This one is purely on enjoyment.

Posh enough for your coffee table

I was surprised when the book arrived to see it was hardback. I expected it to be, well, a comic! My only experience of graphic novels was via a ‘women in comics’ elective during my A level Media Studies where I read everything from the Beano to Marvel. That was however more years than I care to remember and using comics many, many people had previously read. The genre has certainly come a long way since then.

This gleaming, hard backed copy of Horizontal Collaboration was a thing of beauty. I wouldn’t hesitate (from the cover alone) to buy this as a gift for any comic book fans. I’m already lining up possible male suspects for birthday presents.

Women in comics/Women in Horizontal Collaboration

I say male suspects however that is very sexist of me. Women like comics too and in fact the book is all about women. Lots of them, all interwoven, all flawed, all struggling for different reasons in war torn France. Josephine the cabaret/escort girl with tragedy looming. Rose the married nurse who is doomed to fall in love with a German soldier. Simone the young artist, struggling to live with her mother who wants nothing more than for her to be a nice lady and marry a good husband. There were quite a few names and I did have to go back once or twice to clarify who was who but given that the book as a whole took me about half an hour to read this was no great hardship.

We were only really treated to a brief snapshot of these women’s lives, yet this was enough to offer a myriad of issues and emotion. Despite the horrors of the war, war was not the only thing that loomed large in their lives. Yet it still permeated their home as smoke would a room, to equal devastating effect.

Exceptional artwork

It maybe my newness to the genre but I did have to concentrate at times as to who was saying what and what a certain section meant. I soon settled in to the rhythm however, which was made easier by the simply exceptional illustrations, From the striking front cover to the full page extraordinaires, I loved them.


My thanks must go to Korero Press via Random Things Tours for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it and was blown away by its beauty. I will certainly be searching out graphic comics with renewed interest from now on. Any one have any recommendations?

Horizontal Collaboration