Author: Joann Sfar
Illustrator: Emmanuel Guibert
In Victorian England, the daughter of a professor of archaeology has found herself in some rather unusual company. Her name is Lillian, and her companion is none other than Imhotep IV–one of her father’s mummies now up walking and talking, still wearing his grave wrappings underneath the dashing tailcoat and top hat. Remarkably, the two fall in love, although it seems their romance is fated for difficulty as one thing after another seems determined to tear them apart.
What a remarkable and unusual graphic novel! The Professor’s Daughter is truly rather absurd, jumping into the story with a walking, talking mummy (actually more than one) with no explanation–and perhaps even more absurd, featuring a young woman who would love said mummy. And yet there is something quite charming about this spunky, daring couple. Their hijinks, while ridiculous from one perspective, are also rather romantic and exciting. In a sense, the feel of the story is reminiscent of some of Elizabeth Peters’ books, what with the Egyptology and the strong, extraordinary heroine and such. Guibert’s art is truly enchanting with subtle tones and great facial expressions. I think it’s also nice that this is such a short graphic novel (only 64 pages for the actual story) that it could easily be read in one sitting. So, if you’re able to just go with the oddness of the unexplained walking mummies, I think The Professor’s Daughter is a particularly charming graphic novel–definitely recommended.