Je t’aime (I Love You), published by Presses de la Cité in their Hors Collection series, is a collaboration between Barbe and his close friend, the author and satirical newspaper editor François Cavanna. It has all the hallmarks of mirroring the personal romantic experiences of either or both men, being a graphic fantasy of loving women in a variety of ways, from ‘un peu’ (a bit), through ‘beaucoup’ (a lot) and ‘passionnément’ (passionately) to ‘à la folie’ (insanely). The final page, ‘pas du tout?’ (not at all?), questions the whole idea of the conventional love/sex escalator.
Je t’aime is very much a male point-of-view portfolio, but the women do seem to be enjoying the sexual attention, and Barbe’s deceptively simple drawings convey both intelligent sexual technique and obvious passion.