Comic Review: Yellow Cab (IDW Publishing)

A French filmmaker takes a break and decides to drive a Manhattan cab! This is the essence of IDW’s Yellow Cab, a graphic novel in black and white. The high […]

A French filmmaker takes a break and decides to drive a Manhattan cab!

This is the essence of IDW’s Yellow Cab, a graphic novel in black and white. The high contrast area for our narrator, movie-maker Benoit Cohen is that he is drained from his constant creative struggles, and thinks about how else he can gather new material. How about driving a cab in New York City!

Writer and artist Christophe Chabouté is a French creative who has worked in comics since 1988. In this graphic adaptation Benoit Cohen’s novel, (with translation into English by Edward Gauvin, letters by Nathan Widick, edits by Alonzo Simon and Zac Boone), Chabouté looks at black and white shapes and figures. The monotony of the cab surroundings, the suffocating bureaucracy around taxi licensing, the repetitive nature of the short fare. His characters enter and exit Cohen’s cab in quick successions, like the coming and going of the tide, high and low. Euphoric and sophomoric.

I really liked the rhythm of the Yellow Cab grind, the shifting of the gears, the story beats, and stop and go of the narrative. We feel for the character, we get the humility that he endures to play the game of cabbie. It’s all in the little things, the subtle gestures, the quick appreciation of the small tips, the tip of the hat.

It’s not for everyone, Yellow Cab. Some will find the small repetitive panels to be exasperating, the tedium to be, well, tedious. But for those with patience and appreciation for what a European graphic hand can lend to this Manhattan tale, it’s rewarding. It’s Time Square lit bright, the characters and settings, and Travis Bickle all in a jar.

IDW, Yellow Cab, $19.99 for 174 pages of content

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!