I first discovered the comics of artist Camille Aubry back in 2017 when I gave her feedback at the portfolio review ELCAF Springboard Meetings. I was particularly struck at the time with the versatility and scope of her work. Since then she has gone on to self-publish two autobio comics about parenting – Toddler Moments (reviewed here at BF) and today’s featured publication Double Trouble. Camille has also been longlisted two years in a row for the Laydeez do Comics Prize. As I often say here at Broken Frontier one of the greatest pleasures of writing this column since 2011 is being there near the beginning of the creator journey and seeing their work develop and grow as they move on to the bigger and better things they deserve. Aubry’s profile is certainly on an upwards trajectory at the moment.
Double Trouble follows the same format as its autobio predecessor Toddler Moments in compiling largely single illustration cartoons with accompanying pithy one-phrase commentary. Where Toddler Moments was full of Aubry’s observational comedy about first-time motherhood and a young mind slowly beginning to understand and interact with their environment, Double Trouble sees the dynamics of the family unit drastically changed by the arrival of a second child.
It’s an event that sees her son having to come to terms with sharing his mother’s attention, the extra demands on her time and the strange new interloper who is now a part of their environment. “So is baby staying with us… …forever?” he asks plaintively in one early scene. Baby though is cast in a mischievously witty light with their thought bubbles providing a cynical and deliciously ironic adult commentary on events. It gives Aubry an opportunity to be a little more conspiratorial in her relationship with her readers and ensures that Double Trouble is not simply a retread of Toddler Moments.
Double Trouble then is a neat mix of slice-of-life humour and family fantasy as we experience the new challenges that an expanded family has for Aubry. It’s framed in a fun sibling rivalry that often veers into the imagined, with Baby giving that input on their older brother’s behaviour exclusively to the readers. Sometimes that’s dismissive, on other occasions it’s almost in admiration, with a finale that sees a reconciliation of sorts that will bring a broad smile to the reader’s face. All the while Aubry moves through each cartoon like an exasperated supporting character in her own story.
Expressively cartooned with a bouncy energy Double Trouble sees Aubry move to colour for this second instalment of family fun. It’s no surprise to me at all that her work is building growing interest. That potential was abundantly clear when we met at that portfolio review two years ago and I await with interest and anticipation her first longer-form work.
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Review by Andy Oliver
Camille Aubry is a guest at this week’s Gosh! Comics and Broken Frontier Drink and Draw on Wednesday February 27th. More details here.