It says something about the still fledgling status of comics as an institutionally accepted art form that the large Moebius retrospective currently on show at the Fondation Cartier in Paris (until March 15th) is the first of its kind in France. Entitled “Moebius transe-forme,” it catches up with a metamorphosis that has been ongoing since the seventies, marking his retardaire arrival as a fine artist in the public consciousness with all the requisite bells and whistles.
This year’s AngoulÃªme festival was a solid if somewhat unremarkable one, plagued more than usual by the cultural myopia that has always characterized it to an extent. Its organizers described it as a success, but below the surface, it turns out, lurk conflicts of financing and responsibility.
In the second part of a two-part interview with Chris Ware, conducted by Matthias Wivel at Komiks.dk, the pair talk about “an ideographic style of drawing, a cartooning style of drawing,” Building Stories and the fourth dimension.
The first part of a two-part interview with Chris Ware, conducted by Matthias Wivel at Komiks.dk, about Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.
It has just been announced that Art Spiegelman is the recipient of this year’s Grand Prix at the Festival Internationale de la Bande DessinÃ©e in AngoulÃªme. Selected by the festival’s academy, which is composed of former recipients, he joins Will Eisner and R. Crumb as the third American (and fifth non-francophone) to be bestowed this, the highest European honor that can be accorded a comics artist. Spiegelman has long been an obvious choice, but it has still taken the notoriously francocentric academy long to recognize him. The author of the seminal graphic novel Maus, surely as influential in Europe as in America, will act as next year’s president.
As usual Saturday brought the crowds to AngoulÃªme. It is difficult to get around, but it brings to the festival a heady atmosphere of art and commerce. Even the Association staff decided today partly to suspend their ongoing strike in order to support their artists who had turned up to sign their books. Killoffer, Gerner, Baudoin, Sury, Ruppert & Mulot, and several more were drawing up a storm for the throngs passing through the doors to the Nouveau monde. There is talk of upcoming negotiations between direction and staff, but for the moment the situation remains strained.
As mentioned in several places already, the big story here is the ongoing strike at L’Association (I’ve been writing about it here and here). Their booth, which is placed at the head of the big so-called Noveau monde tent (which houses all the small press publishers, fanzine emporia, etc) has a massive sign up saying “Employees on Strike,” with pamphlets out explaining the situation, and no books for sale. One speculates whether, as bad as this surely is for the publisher (in terms of sales in addition to everything else), it might also be something of a perverse, unintended PR scoop. At any rate, this particular AngoulÃªme will surely be remembered by many as the one with l’Asso on strike.
I have long wondered what makes Finland such a regional epicenter of inspiring experimental comics, increasingly making waves internationally these days. What, for example, makes it different from the other Scandinavian countries, in which interesting work is also being produced, but not as consistently and across as diverse an expressive field? The conditions of production are comparable if not identical, and yet Finland has maintained the lead for at least a decade-and-a-half.
I wonât pretend to have the answers, but visiting the Helsinki Book Fair this weekend as a guest of the Finnish Comics Society at least gave me a sense of Finnish comics in the larger literary, if not cultural, context afforded by the kind of union of the tribes that a major annual book fair provides.
Told with great confidence and uncomfortable frankness across a sprawling 450 pages, Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens is a coming-of-age narrative that inevitably places itself in the tradition of German travel literature, perhaps unwittingly joining the company of such august figures as Goethe and Hesse. Lustâs ambition, though great, never overtly shows literary pretense, however: hers is a story of two young punksâUlli and her friend Ediâtraveling with no money, no passports, and no more than a change of clothes; a story of two girls seeking adventure and getting in over their heads.