Review: For as Long as it Rains by Zviane

Part of the Pow Pow Press Kickstarter, For as Long as it Rains is one of the publisher’s first English
offerings; it and a series of 5 other books were released for the first time in
English at TCAF this year. For as Long as
it Rains
is 128 pages of black and white comics in a softcover perfect
bound book with French flaps.

The story features two lovers in a longstanding affair on a
weekend getaway in Holland; the two are staying at a friends’ house, trapped
indoors because of the rain. The comic is a mix of sex, banter, cooking, and
arguing. Zviane is showing us a long-term relationship, and even though it’s “on
the side,” we see a couple who know each other at a deep level. The fact that
they never call each other by name (and are thus nameless throughout the book)
is telling.

For as Long as it
Rains
feels restless; there’s a level of deep dispute between the two
characters that doesn’t seem like it can ever really be resolved, potentially
due to the nature of the relationship they have. The pacing is very
ebb-and-flow; at times moving quickly and other times at a glacial pace. The
result is a comic that has some beautiful ambient scenes (the two play the
second movement of Scaramouche together, a moment infused with melancholy),
some frenzy, and a lot of the mucking around in the middle.

One of the unique aspects of For as Long as it Rains is a musically-inspired notation for “fuck
compositions” an idea that one of the characters has and the two discuss in bed
before the final sex scene. The notation is described in detail on the book’s
front flap, and a full two pages of the book are nothing but fuck notation,
forcing the reader to have an understanding of the notation if they want to
understand the action that isn’t pictured. It’s “clever,” but ultimately it
defuses the tension of some of the final moments of the book.

For as Long as it
Rains
is at its best when it’s showing a complicated affair between two
complicated people. Zviane has the ability to capture stillness and melody, and
a pervasive air of melancholy infuses the comic. But the book fails to find its footing in key moments, largely due to an interesting idea that would have been better left on the cutting room floor.

That said, if you can find a copy, For as Long as it Rains is a comic worth reading; a smart character study that encompasses

sexual desire and emotional need in a frank portrayal of a troubled relationship.

——

Zviane (Sylvie-Anne Ménard) is a cartoonist from Quebec. For as Long as it Rains is her third book with Pow Pow, and her first work with them in English. For as Long as it Rains won a 2014 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist.

Pow Pow Press powpowpress​ is a Québécois comics publisher based in Montreal. Last Fall, the publisher ran a successful Kickstarter to publish part of their French-language comics in English. You can check out more of their comics at their website.You can see an interview I did with Luc Bosse, the publisher at Pow Pow while the Kickstarter was ongoing here.

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