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The Professors Daughter Graphic Novel Review

3 min read

The Professors Daughter
The Professors Daughter
A mummy on a date and accidental poisonings make for one dark and humorous tale.

What They Say:
Imhotep IV is an Egyptian mummy who’s just opened his eyes for the first time in 3,000 years. Lillian Bowell is the daughter of a renowned Egyptologist. One day, when the Professor’s away, the two go out for an afternoon on the town. The heap of trouble that they land in–brought on by Mozart, afternoon tea, and a passing gentleman’s sensitive nature–only deepens when they learn Imhotep IV’s father is in town. Can Imhotep IV and Lillian stay together when both their fathers, the London Police, and even the Archeological society are desperate to drag them apart?

Written by the hilarious and insightful Joann Sfar and painted in muted, sepia-toned watercolors by Emmanuel Guibert, this book is something to keep as a display piece, a thing of beauty–if you can put down the engaging story long enough for others to admire it! (From

The Review:
Reading this graphic novel was a trippy experience. It’s not often one of the protagonists AND the antagonist are fully wrapped mummies wandering around Victorian London. Lillian becomes the beloved of two ancient pharaohs, and black comedy ensues.

The story begins with no back story or explanation. It was a little disorienting, but I quickly got the feel for what was happening and started to smile and chuckle at the dark humor of it all. Imhotep IV gets drunk with a sip of tea, starting a fight with a random gentleman, and creating a riotous start to the tale. There are accidental poisonings, ghostly hauntings, kidnapping, and even the Queen gets into the act. Hundreds of mummies are confiscated and examined to try to locate the culprit, and no one seems the slightest bit surprised to have in depth discussions with men wrapped in gauze. All of these elements combine to make a memorably entertaining tale in Victorian London.

The art is lovely, with a muted sepia toned color palette. Some scenes, like Imhotep IV chatting with his ghostly children in his dreams, are emphasized with backgrounds of blue or green. The overall style of the art and coloring enhanced the Victorian feel of the story beautifully.

While relatively short for a graphic novel, the plot kept me hooked the whole way through. The pacing was excellent. The relaxed and breezy beginning as they strolled hand in hand gave way to an increasingly faster pace as the deaths, kidnappings, and escapes continued. A high point in the hilarity was seeing the Queen yanked over her desk by a mummy and carted through the streets of London under his arm.

There were a few parts in the story that were slightly confusing, mostly involving the dream sequences with the Pharaoh’s children, but overall it all worked and fit well together. I particularly enjoyed the way the story ended.

In Summary:
This graphic novel was a recommendation to me from a random teenager in the library. I wish I could and thank her for sharing her it with me. The Professor’s Daughter has an implausible, crazy plot, but it works. The twisted ending was the perfect way to wrap up this comedy of murder and mayhem.

Grade: A-