ANGOULEME 2005 COMICS FESTIVAL MINI-REPORT
At very first we were supposed to be 135484132184, between friends...
Finally, Fred and I had some great moments in Angouleme this year. 8)
I was supposed to have a 05:20 AM train to Angouleme in my quiet town of Besancon, a 6 hours ride ; due to dramatic events, people from the french train company did a huge strike, and I had to take 5 differents trains, a little january tour between Dijon, Paris, Saintes and finally, Angouleme...
Not so easy, as we were thousands walking down the platforms, but I managed to reach Angouleme around 1:00 PM, which was something great. The day before, I worked on some "deadline-was-yesterday" project (published soon) and went to bed around 3:00, and, of course, I catched a cold a few days later.
On this train trip, I finished Philip Hensher's "the bedroom of the mister's wife" and started Toni Davidson's "scar culture" recent pocket french translation ; I really enjoyed the second book.
In my headphones, MF Doom's "special blends vol. 2", some Botanica Del Jibaro record label compilation of my own, Roy Hardgrove's "Crissol", Ammoncontact last shit, a Lou Rawls/Marlena Shaw/Gene Harris compilation of my own, some Planet Mu record label last shit, and Miles Davis' 1957 "Ascenseur pour l'echafaud" original soundtrack. Drine bought me some chocolate bars and I got some bananas : Ready to rumble !
Fact 01 : Angouleme looked far, far away !
Cannot leave Paris for a while : it took me a few minutes to go from one train station to another, and now i'm freezing cold with an awful hot chocolate, the third since one hour. Do i forget about some some morning train, and try to reach my parisians pals ?
I decide to grab the next train going to Bordeaux : there's some steps between Paris and Bordeaux, and maybe the traffic will evolve during this trip... If i got to stop somewhere, it's sunny outside : i'll try to do hitchiking if possible, at worst. and at best, this train stops near Angouleme.
I was very, very lucky. People who haven't took this train (there wasn't any informations this train stopped in Angouleme, it was a last minute decision) will have to wait for some train who leave paris around now. At least i'm under Angouleme's sunshiny weather.
I'm going to be at the first international meeting, featuring Eddie Campbell ; I run into some comics forums freaks (nice belgian fellow Frads, Miller's DK2 fan -i found one- Auroress and Mathieu from the BulledAir gang), speak a little, and decide to check the two big "big publishers spaces" in 2 minutes, cause it's probably the only day where i'll be able to do this : tomorrow, thousands of people will invades these very places, and being here will be nothing but wasting your time with suckers wanting their book signed. Speaking of Angouleme comics festival, and for those who don't know "how it works", let say clearly that Angouleme is a quiet and beautiful little town, and that there places devoted to comics everywhere for the festival ; two big twin tents, called "the bubbles", are devoted to the big publishers areas, while another one, in another street/place, is devoted to the indy people (authors, publishers...) and to these merchandising bullshit shops (the "New York bubble"). Here and there in some differents places, you can find exhibitions, workshops, or interviews, among many other things. Also, the CNBDI (something meaning like French National Center of the Comic Book) have differents great things to offer too, like, this year, some OuBaPo workshops, and finally, many locals initiatives are showing that Angouleme is definitely one of Europe biggest comic books hot spots on a constant and regular basis (think about "La maison qui pue", etc).
At "espace Franquin", on my road to see Eddie Campbell, we (the bulledair freaks and I) met scenarist Sylvain Ricard (who was nominated for the Best Story Award for "Beyrouth-Cliches" -Humanoids publishing-, alongside Brian K. Vaughan or Debbie Drechsler, to name a few) ; Sylvain hope his mate and fellow affilied artist Christophe Gaultier will finally be here. This train strike situation really fucks up the beginning of this festival, but hey, sometimes they got good reasons, and right now they got one. The meeting downstairs, with Eddie ?
Eddie Campbell speaks about his classic "From Hell" work on an Alan Moore story, and I spend a real good time listening to this guy ; seeing him in an international meeting in Angouleme was like SF for me. But it was cool, indeed. We've heard about the genesis of From Hell, and even if it ain't no scoops when you're a Moore geek like me, learning things from many Campbell projects, including his own "Bacchus", was interesting.
After the meeting, I decided to check the "New York space", where alternative publishers and authors are sharing space with sellers of posters, toys, and others bullshit.
a quick trip between the plenty of people shows that once again, Angouleme festival will be deadly for my credit card...
I finally met Fred, who cames in car from Lyon with Guillaume Long ("without any oral sex", they told me, but i'm not this naive) and some other friend of him ; we do some quick check-up of this comics artists all stars all around us, and decide to put our stuff at the room we found for the night, a 15 minutes walking trip from the very middle of the con. Looks pretty cool, even with a cold really fucking with my nerves. On the walk back from our "home", Fred told me about his last great reads, including a book from this Anders Nilsen, which looked great from the little I knew of it, indeed. Also, something which was cool : when I wanted to talk about this comic I really liked, and that I forgot the name, some comics with a deer head on the cover, Fred instantly recognized it and when he says "do you talk about this "Cusp" one-shot ?", I was glad to be in Angouleme with this guy. Anyway.
fact 2 : since he's a father, Fred don't look my ass as he used to do. I'm so sad.
I did a little update : from phone calls to emails, we gotta people to check, people to see, people to met in the following hours ; Gilles, our living-comiclopedia, responsible of the Neuvieme Art blog, must be here probably on friday, as for Matt Murdock, who run also a pretty cool blog ; people coming here already know these guys, so I won't be too long about it ; Nicolas, some Belgian friend who do some incredible work on local indy-authors oriented fanzines called "Xeroxed", must be somewhere near Jason, the great scandinavian authors living in Bruxelles for a while. Laureline Mattiussi and Remy Cattelain, who do some killing art for "La maison qui pue" and others things (Remy just published a book through "Six Pieds sous terre publishers", which is one of the funniest things i'd read for months), must be around too. I also gotta see Vincent Rioult (who just released "Super CoinCoin", a little book between spandex parody and drama comics), and also Madame Fa, one of the Groinge Publisher activist ; let's remind that the best comics-related magazine in France, after 9eme art, is some kind of mutant freak called "Comix Club", a book of comments, criticisms and essays done through the comics medium by comics artists, about the comics medium -or comics artists, or books- and this is just great to see people give their time for this.
Gino, this kind of mutant of its own too (writer, rock band writer/singer, comics stories, comics reports, steampunk geek and neato blogger), should shows himself somewhere, too. Must grab all these people... Damn.
Fact 3 : never forget to refill my phone battery before running amok in Charente.
We've checked the Dave Cooper exhibition ; Dave Cooper in Angouleme is cool as fuck : it will serves, of course, Le Seuil publisher, who just publish "Ripple" as the very first Cooper book in french ; and it will give us the opportunity to check some Cooper original art, and more, if possible.
But it wasn't.
Let's make it clear : what do we get here ? a few original sketches, a really, really few studies, so-called rare/unseen pages, and big enlargings of some Cooper's finest color works.
Ok, it was really, really beautiful ; but frankly, I was waiting for more. If Cooper sent many great pages and studies, maybe working some kind of scenography was a must-be. And it ain't.
There were some of Cooper toys, also, and 2 or 3 technical studies for it, too.
The giant numeric printings, done in some technical ways I cannot really explain, were simply huge.
How could these Angouleme folks managed to get such great material and didn't work out something really, really good ? It makes us sad to see this kind of waste of such great shit. Dave Cooper deserved some better treatment, and if he got anything to do with this exhib, well, it didn't work out that much. A pity.
Funny : Angouleme teachers, probably doesn't know where they're going, coming to this full of tits-and-ass exhib with plenty of childrens, running and screaming... what a shock for them ! 8)
Angouleme : the frustration starts here.
Even if this exhib was quite a little deception for both of Fred and I (but hey, we saw Cooper shit, and for sure it was better than any other exhib, I suppose), we went back to the NY space and checked many shit from many international authors.
Then, I discovered some kind of giant Jim Woodring's character Frank on some indy belgian publisher called Mycose ; was it some work from the Woodring guy, but done on a different kind of, maybe some old stuff from him ? No, it can't. So was it some plagiary ? Does these guys have Woodring as their personnal God ? Sure it should be the best religion around, but hey : did they mess with Jim' shit or are they just fans without enough skills to do their own shit ? I dunno. I wish I had time to speak with these guys, who were looking great after all : they even got some TTC (the french hip hop band) silk screen printings, which looked nice. Angouleme : the frustration is following here.
fact 4 : Fantagraphics re-release some "Jim" comics from Jim Woodring : issues 1 to 6 will be available soon from your favorite retailer ; buy some and send it to those Mycose guys.
Another little walk in the big bubbles, especiallly the one with "not so big" publishers such as La 5eme Couche, Atrabile, Rackham, Imho, La Pasteque, Drozophile, 6 Pieds sous Terre, La Cafetiere, L'Association, Cornelius, les Requins Marteaux, Vertige Graphic, L'An 2, Ego Comme X, Cafe Creed, Flblb, Le Seuil, Denoel, Akileos, etc.
Well, it was hard to choose which of the two main bubbles was the coolest : the one with the publishers I just talked about, and the other bubble, with publishers like Bamboo, Joker, Soleil ? It was a difficult choice... Uh uh uh.
I saw my friend Seb from the bookshop i used to work in Dijon, we tried to not speak too much about our job... 8)
Having a few words with a few artists around here...
Peter Kuper was signing books, but each time he showed i was away...
Some genius called Willem was at the Cornelius booth, and frankly, i was too shy to go and tell him how his work looks great for me. Does anybody here had read the book he did for Futuropolis years ago, which is in the 30/40 collection ? Damn, you can use it for nowadays, its politics criticisms and social studies are more just than ever. Big guy.
Alex Baladi was signing his last book (well, until next month), "Nuit Profonde", a La Cafetiere publishing. Alex is living in Berlin at the moment, which looks like a cool place for him. I saw in the last issue of Diamond monthly comics catalog Previews that he have a book published in the states, one of its best : "Frankenstein now and forever" (Typocrat Press). He signed this last book for Drine (who's the biggest Baladi fan around), and told us to go to the CNBDI, where those freaks from the OuBaPo gang were doing their shit. Even if i wanted to check it, i did'nt got the time and i don't know how was this OuBaPo meeting. Some infos about it, anyone ?
Fact 5 : Some Baladi drawings for Drine, and then Junko Mizuno was right in front of me, alone behind the IMHO stand ! I had to get something drawn from her to Drine. Mission : be nice with your girlfriend, complete.
Having a drink in a bar with Didier Millotte (a kind of an Edward Scissorhands with pencils instead of scissors : this guy is just drawing, anytime, anytime, anytime, just don't miss his "Meilleurs Voeux" from Carabas publisher), Guillaume Long and some people from the Vertige Graphic staff ; Guillaume eventually went to say hi to Munoz, who looked as a very nice guy, just for making us like "whaoh, this is Munoz !". He was successfull, of course.
We finished the day by running for a place to eat, and finally found some restaurant for Guillaume, Fred and myself ; of course, we did the worse things that 95% of this annual weekend visitors must do : we introduced Fred as a big artist, published throught the biggest companies, but it wasn't enough for the chief to forget the bill. Aaaah, this is our fate : broke artist one day, broke artists for ever... Anyway.
Totally fucked up with early wake-up of the morning, and then hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, we finally leave. No awards party for us, Guillaume gave us a ride to our headquarters for the night, and we went to bed really, really early. Angouleme : the night is beginning here.
Fact 5 : Guillaume Long got an strange green/yellow car which looks like a giant japonese key ring.
We missed Didier Super live in Angouleme yesterday night ! Holy fuck, what a shame on us.
When I woke up, I put my phone on and got loads of SMS about yesterday's Awards Ceremony, about who won, and about my feelings about it.
First : personnaly, I don't really give a shit.
Second : from my job perspective, and even if it's cool to her publisher (l'Association, a publisher that I dig for years), I really don't think "Poulet aux prunes", Marjane Satrapi last book, was the best book of 2004. Not-at-all.
Books like the excellent Yoshiharu Tsuge (courtesy of Ego comme X publishing) or the fantastic second volume of Frederik Peeters's "Lupus" (Atrabile publisher) definetely deserved it, far away before Satrapi's book. I don't talk about the fantastic Kim Deitch book, or about "Louis Riel" from Chester Brown. All of these books were some proofs that things evolved these last years in France, and if Satrapi universe is something deserving to be read, she's a little bit below all this masterpieces. Anyway.
Fact 6 : any publisher who want to get the Best Art Award in 2014 must call me, as I know a girl who got strong skills. I only keep a 75% tax on transactions. For a free sample, contact her right here, and ask her for one "Emulation book".
The house where we live looks like a training camp for comics geeks, and we had strange flavored jam for breakfast, while speaking to some young kid who came to show his sci-fi art to... Joann Sfar. First laugh-for-ourselves of the day, we wished (sincere) good luck to the boy and to his father, and finished the breakfast quickly, which was cool. Which was cool if the dog of the house didn't have the great idea to fall in love with my knee... Anyway. We also learn that the place that we found for tonight sleep is away from the town. We decide to give up and try our luck, searching for some place to sleep as soon as we'll be outside.
fact 7 : don't hope to get some cool places to crash in Angouleme if you wait january for searching, as the half-stupid am I.
After one hour waiting for the shower, Fred and I leave quickly the only warm place in Angouleme (our beds) to visit the NY indy spaces, where we run into many people ; Fafe wasn't there on the Groinge stand, but i met Big Ben who was there, as the main half of this cool publisher i spoke about before ; then, right in front of le Groinge, the one and only Jonathan Larabie, who was near Imius and the cool people behind Les Taupes de l'Espace/Judith & Marinette stand ; We already spoke together a little bit while Bourg-les-Valence Indy comics 2004 festival this past march, and all the comics i got from Jonathan were instant hits at the bookshop. I also met Imius and it was becoming clear that they never receive my order for the bookshop, due to faxes machines they probably bought from Jonathan, that he bought himself while one of his north-scandinavian trip... The perfect time to tell to you people : do not miss two of the best indy french books of the last months : Naz's "Bomba" (La Chose publisher) and Jonathan Larabie's "en Bulgarie" (Les Taupes de l'Espace). They definitely worth the time you can wait for it, really... 8)
Jochen Gerner was around, and i let him know that i really dig the artwork he did about Besancon in "Liberation" (some big french daily national newspaper) in its Besancon special ; yes, exactly, Libe did a special Besancon, what do you want more, uh ? anyway. Jochen did the double central pages, and he really did some nice work. People who come home often should have a look in the toilets : it's on the wall right here, no offense to Jochen brilliant work. He also did some artwork in "Polystyrene", some monthly magazine available from Strasbourg to Nancy, from Dijon to Besancon, well, in all the little zone called "eastern side" ; while speaking about it, let's not forget that Vincent Vanoli, Sylvain Moizie (from the Institut Pacome hall of fame), also did the thematic page (each month, some author do his one-page version on the subject "I'll go out tonight, once again"), and that Drine did this month' thematic page. Buy it, buy it ! 8)
fact 8 : 90% of the people around got some sunday morning faces, even if we're on friday. The weekend will be hard.
Right after this, and before Fred and Jonathan get another constructive conversation on Craig Thompson's "Blankets" book (last year, I gotta admit that this Larabie guy restructured my initials thoughts about "Blankets" on some french forums - no, on Gilles' blog, sorry), we got to see... this very Thompson guy, along side Alex Robinson, who won the award for best First Book yesterday night, which is the only prize i'm really glad about. I was sure that "Blankets" will get it, I was dead wrong. My faves were "Extreme Orient part.1" from Frank Bourgeron (Vents d'Ouest publisher) and "Same Difference" from Derek Kirk Kim (6 pieds sous terre publisher), but Robinson winning it (for the french translation of his "Box Office Poison", this is cool.
So both of them were speaking, and I really liked Robinson points of view on his work, and on doing comics ; once again, I must be a comics geek because I haven't learn anything through this meeting, but it was pretty cool to have these 2 authors speaking together in front of an international crowd who probably never heard about them 2 years ago.
Fact 9 : Did you know ? Craig Thompson is a midget. He's a creative guy with plenty of talent, but he looks miniaturized. Do little guys spend more time drawing ? this is the next thematic subject of this blog. Stay tuned for more exciting stuff.
At the end of this meeting, we learned that there will be some investiture : Art Spiegelman will receive some decoration from the french secretary of state for arts and culture. Fred and I decided to stay for this, as far as it doesn't last 2 hours... Soon, the place become empty due to the end of the Robinson/Thompson conversation, and re-fill for the Spiegelman comes.
Albert Algoud is sitting behind us when the Bernard Pierre Donadieu de Vabres does his oration ; a brilliant speech about Spiegelman filled life, with many details, many facts about comics history and Spiegelman carreer. Frankly, the politic team of BPDdV office did a good job on this. Spiegelman brillantly answers back : "I wish that US government knows one percent of what you knows about me...", making the hall laughing a first time, then a second, far more cynical, when saying "We citizens of the USA don't have any government secretary for arts and culture, but we got a secretary of war...". And many other things, too.
While going to visit the exhibition on Disney's Uncle Scrooge (art from Carl Barks, Cavazzano and Don Rosa, scenography from the great Winshluss), I got a call from Gilles (neuvieme art) who was waiting to have lunch with Marc Lizano. Avengers assemble ! I grabbed Fred after 1 minute of Scrooge visit and we found Gilles, then Matt Murdock, then Marc, with Didier Millotte, then Capucine and her boyfriend (is it "Libon" ?he's this guy who post awesome drawings here and there, but whom I totally forgot the name... Nevermind. So we finally found some restaurant with 6 seats : Capucine and Libon (?) went to another place to eat. Sad as I really loved Capucine's "Corps de reve" comic book, where she talk about many others things, from a fresh point of view, around maternity. A real nice little book.
So while Marc Lizano spoke about his 3298584 projects to come, including his next surprising project about espana in 1982 (more infos on his web spots), Matt and I finished a talk who'd began on the net, around Mezzo and Pirus last book, "le roi des mouches" (even if I loved the last M&P' books from years ago, and even if it always tasted like Clowes/Burns shit, now, I was pretty sure that their next book should be more personnal. which isn't the case at all for me ; this book isn't bad at all, but each page reminded me too much of Burns graphic style, which is not a problem for Matt. Speaking about Mezzo and Pirus, there were nice prints in the NY space...
Fact 10 : never forget kleenex in january in Angouleme.
After eating vegetarian food in a nearly macrobio restaurant, our friendly authors were running to their signing times in their respective bubbles : leaving the restaurant, Marc had just the time to shout some giant "Loooooic !" to somewhere in the parc in front of us, and one of the 50 people walking stopped and went to us ; I finally met Loic Dauvilliers, who write comics and run Charrette publishing, a little indy structure who do huge books ; Loic is one of the more nervy energumen in this independant field, and meeting him after the many ideas and words we shared (or wrote to each others in less nice exchanges) was something cool. But our people here got to work, and I wanted to start spending money.
Hell ! at least Angouleme is one of the ultimate place to discover unseen shit and rare authors, while sheeps are waiting for hours to get some less-than-anonymous sign in one of the 20 books they carry in some backbag for 3 days.
Fred and I did our personnal reviews of don't-dare-miss-this spots, and when talking about it, we felt like some people must grab attention of good friend Nancy Pena : "Kaleb wants to kill a dragon", a stand where a book remind us of Nancy unique little comics world.
Aside this, we saw also that those guys from Buenaventura Press, some US west coast based people, had a stand too, which means original art from some of our favorites indy american authors.
Belgium' own Bries were there too, as L'Employe du Moi.
Alternative Comics had a stand, scandinavian Asema were here once again, and many, many others structures.
It was time for another meeting in the Franquin area ; I was about to sleep when Frederik Peeters and Jason came in and spoke about many differents things, including what's the motivation and the inspirations behind their works, about how they got there, about their differents releases and many projects to come.
Did i say that "Lupus 2" was one of the very best books from 2004 ? well, it really was, and this year Atrabile will publish the third book of this wonderful saga, which will be one of the rare books i'm really, really waiting for. Jason, as usual, did his Jasonesque figure : simply say the minimal words when words where needed, not an extra one ; simply telling the truth, with a caustic and acid tone in his way of telling things : i love this guy, maybe as much as i love his shit.
Fact 11 : I went to pee and saw Herge doing nasty things in the toilets. I'm not very sure but... but I'm quite sure it was him.
A little tour in the big bubbles, on the stand of the publisher "La boite a bulles", to see Vincent Rioult (who was signing "Super Coincoin", while Sylvain-Moizie was signing "La bete qui mangeait tout le monde", one of the best books published through La Boite a Bulles ; on the Vertige Graphic booth, Yoshihiro Tatsumi was more or less alone behind his desk, which was a shame : Tatsumi got a new book, called "Good bye", just released through Vertige (Guillaume, who published 2 books through Vertige Graphic, got me some personnal words on my book, which was great).
And here and there, everybody talked about JC Menu (artist and co-owner of french publisher "L'Association") last book, a lampoon called "Plates-bandes", which will probably responsible for loads of ink in the followings weeks...
Menu is doing analyse and criticizism about comics business situation in France, and who's not afraid to drop names... Even if many people featured in the book wil probably regret this kind of namedropping... Anyway.
While looking books, i saw somebody which looks like Gino ; we never met but i saw some videos of his band playing live, and i phoned him to check ; minutes after, we spoke a little bit, not enough but at least we met.
Still on the "Hey !" topic, i saw my old friend Fabien, some friend of my native town, who's working in the music business but who's writing books and also comics scenarii for years ; he's under a booth, speaking with people who looks like publishers, so i suppose Fab came around to find some deals. I decide to send him SMS through phone instead of disturb him in negociations... Later he answered me that he had 7 appointments this very day ! Hope he'll find some deals, finally.
In "the other" bubble (the one we don't take care that much...), was the Glenat giant stand. Christophe Chaboute, one of the sweetest authors in France, says hi while running from a place to another ; finding "Extreme-Orient" author Frank Bourgeron to get a few comments on these 2005 Awards, we spoke a little bit and Frank offered us to crash at one of his friend place in Angouleme : if this ain't a good guy, i dunno what's a good guy, uh. Thanks again, Frank (finally we choose another opportunity, but the offer was really great).
Back in the NY bubble, which is always my favorite place in Angouleme festival ; many people there, already.
Alvin Buenaventura was here, alone behind his little desk full of unseen comics, original art from Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornschemeier, John Porcellino, and many more ; on the walls, many huge pieces of artwork from killing artists, some prints that were just fantastic. However, I decided to focalize on buying comics, because if I let myself buy some big 350$ silk screen prints on friday at 6 pm, it probably means that on saturday, i'll have to go back home, hitchiking non-stop.
Saw those guys from one of the best french comicshop, "Experience" in Lyon, who told us that words are in the air that Glenat do some dancing (dancing !) party at night ; this should be surprising, as "official" parties doesn't dance that much usually. Maybe we'll have a look tonight...
When I grabbed some xerox hand-made comics showing Jeffrey Brown's art he did as a child, some guy shows up closer and was smiling ; on his badge, "Jeffrey Brown". Jeffrey Brown ? Holy mother fucker shit !!! Nobody told me that Jeffrey should be around this weekend ? Cool !
We spoke a little bit, and here's a part of the talk I wanted to share with you :
June : "It's great to get you here, it's too sad that this book you'll get in french will be published next month...
Jeff : - Thanks, but the book will not be released until the end of the year, I think...
- You're kidding ? I already did my orders with the guy who take care of the distribution of the publisher you made a deal with...
- Really ? It's strange, as i'm pretty sure this book will be published in many months !
- But I promise you I even worked the quantity of your book... I can scan it and fax it to you when i'll get home if you want it ?!
- Sure... But... no, it can't... Which book is it ?
- Damn, i'm not sure, but probably "Big Head", or is it "Clumsy" ?
- Heck, my publisher, Ego-Comme-X, says...
- You said "Ego-Comme-X" ? But I worked with the guys who do the distribution for "Six Pieds sous Terre" publishing !<
- Wh... What ? I don't know what you're talking about !
- Yeah, a little french publisher who do... uh, they're called "Six Feet under ground"...
- Wait, this is a name that I can remind of, but I gotta check it with my original publisher, as I don't remember it was done, sure, or what...
- Oh, ok, so maybe you gotta check it cause I can assure you this book will be there pretty soon in any french bookshops..."
Later, maybe on saturday, Jeffrey told me he was know sure it was some decent deal and that everything worked well ; heck, I didn't know he got some plans with Ego-Comme-X... I hope this Brown book signed for 2005 will be published before 2006, as Ego looks some late schedule on their planning of releases... But 2 books from Jeffrey Brown in french in the following months, this is just great.
Also on the Buenaventura stand was... Anders Nilsen ! this very guy Fred talked about yesterday was right there, in front of us. As i only knew a few pages from him, I decided to take a look at one of the many comics on the table. Others people were there, but i didn't have the time to speak with them... Books from other stand were speaking at me "June ! Come closer ! Buy me !", so i went.
On the Alternative Comics stand were Sara Varon and Gabrielle Bell, and i was glad to see that "Sweaterweather", Sara's best book so far, was available here ; it's been months since i'm waiting for some ordering to come, including this very book, which is something full of poetry, intelligence, and who shows how many ideas Sara can have when it comes to comics ; his art is based on some light brush inking, with delicate colors, and the "Sweatherweather" book is complete with postcards, funny flyers and other brillant ideas.
It's a collection of little short stories, all must-read pages ; a book you don't wanna miss, which probably makes you reminds of other brush-using artists, but with a decent personnal touch who'll make you forget about it ; once you close the book, the characters moves and their poses stills stay in mind ; this is how i recognize a book that works with me.
Gabrielle Bell have a totally different graphic style, and a totally different universe ; "When i'm old (and others stories)" is a collection of stories between surrealism panels, autobiographical tales, with a certain creativity about her narrative process. She's using black and white and this is working well. There were other books from these two authors, but i got to made choices...
I'll never say enough how grateful i'm to this Jeff Mason guy ; Alternative Comics is one of the more exciting US publishers around.
Fact 12 : Jeff Mason president.
On the Asema stand, mountains of shit from Finland, where i also bought some stuff ; finally, the last "Haikku" is mine : this third volume is a selection of comics stories based on Finnish short stories by Rosa Liksom, Toivo Tarvas, Sari Malkamaki, Juhani Kylatasku, Laura Honkasalo and Juha Seppala, and with art from Katja Tukiainen, Petri Tolppanen, Terhi Ekebom, Pentti Otsamo, Jenni Rope and Aapo Rapi. It's in finnish but got some english subtitles, as usual for many of the scandinavian huge comic books i bought for years. Once again, my favorites stories are signed from Terhi Ekebom and Jenni Rope, who are just my favorites north-european artists.
"Glomp6" is another strong collection, so/so focused on the sea, the ocean as a thematic subject for all of them ; once again, Terhi and Jenni are around, with plenty of brilliant (and brand new for me...) artists like Jari Vaara, Merja Jarvelin, Tommi Musturi, Roope Eronen, Ina Kallis, and also Mikko Vayrynen, who's the author of some 2003 little english/french poster/comics called "Brilliant inc.".
The Glomp cover is simply magnificent, and there's stories that definetely worth the trip.
Huuuuungry ! Looking for a restaurant in Angouleme on friday evening is kind of a sport of its own... At the beginning we were plenty, but finally we find out quickly that "too many" means "no places here", so we divide the crew.
At least, in the middle of some streets, i accidentely met Ibn Al Rabin, "a person who don't get his brain working on the usual schemas as others humans being", as says Fred Peeters 3 hours sooner while his public meeting... Ibn Al Rabin is one of the more interesting people in this field i'd ever met ; he cannot focus on comics, even if he does it far better than the majority of the production. Plus, he's a real funny people. I really think Fred Peeters is right with this brain story.
Sylvain Ricard, Christophe Gaultier, Frank Bourgeron, Guillaume Long, Fred and I finally crashed all together, and we had a good talk and a good meal. Later in the evening, Nancy Pena join the bunch and we went all together to this Glenat party...
Fact 13 : do i really wanted to get Luz and Menu' dj set at the Underboom party, after all ?
This is probably the first time i go to a party so early, but at least we got the open bar free for us, which was cool indeed, as Fred decided to don't sleep untill saturday morning, when he wanted to leave Angouleme ; i was sick and i don't drink that much, so i was quiet afraid of this, but heck, we'll see... So, at the very beginning, there was only Eric Omond who danced (as usualy), and then, slowly, many, many, many people joined the fun. The music was not this great (even if the dj's got skills indeed), but everybody here wanted to have fun, apparently.
We saw many people here this night, but frankly, the music was so horrible for my noble ears that i was nearly glad when Guillaume offers me to quit and helped me to find a bed ; Fred was ready to rumble all night long, was sure to find bars and drink till falling on ground, and told me to quit without hesitation. It almost makes me cry... uh uh uh, and then we leave. And sleep.
Fact 14 : beer + sick + tired + no plans for a place to sleep = angouleme 2005 is probably my worst angouleme festival ever.
Got many phone messages from Fred, who called me from the train station every hour of the night untill his train finally came, telling me i was an asshole and that he was freezin alone in a dark and desert train station, that he missed his family and that he's totally drunk. It makes me think about him, while having a great breakfast in a comfortable place.
I'm going to the train station to check train availability for Paris or Besancon, which was a cool idea, as the strike wasn't ended at all. I decided to leave early in the afternoon, cause i didn't know when there will be some trains leaving Paris for Besancon.
Back in the NY bubble, i finally reach Fafe on the Groinge stand, who's already signing books for many fans.
Madame Fa shows me a little book called "madame Fa" she printed which is a printed collection of his blog drawings, posted nearly everyday from april to december 2004 ; i grab one copy, and cannot speaks that much with the lady.
I also got the time to buy also "Pon" and "Pon Pon", two collectives fanzines nearly 100% female artists made. Some great stuff, some more crapp, but this is a good idea, which sounds a little bit like this Requins Marteaux comics, totally (well, nearly...) done by female authors (including the same madame Fa, Capucine, Tanxx and others).
Fact 15 : how to be sure it's saturday ? you walk 5 meters in 30 minutes, as there's thousands and thousands of people.
"My belgian friend through comics", Nico, has tried to phone me ; i got to find electric source to refill my phone fucked-up battery to check my messages, which was something really, really bad.
He said he left some shit for me at the Employe du Moi booth, and when i get there, behind David Scrima was a strong package of the rare issues of his "Xeroxed" high-quality fanzine i missed.
Each issue evolve around one artist, and Nico did brilliant interviews with those artists for each of his little book, which is something great when you see the people he already got : Joe Matt, David Lloyd, Debbie Drechsler, Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Craig Thompson, all of them got their own issue ; he also did books with Nick Bertozzi, Kevin Nowlan and Bryan Talbot (for a 911 special), with Scott McLoud, Aleksandar Zograf, Joann Sfar and Jason (for a special issue) ; Jason, with whom he worked as a translater for the french version of the last Jason full color book for Carabas publisher.
In one word, Nicolas is one precious guy, who could teach journalism lessons to many people working in this industry. He speaks some clever language with clever people, and he offers the result on a beautiful, hand made artwork that really needs to be recognized. Unfortunately, i missed this guy ! Real nice work, Nico.
Thousands people are in Angouleme, it's really saturday...
I went to the Buenaventura booth to fill my bag ; Paul Hornschemeier was here, as Anders Nilsen and Jeffrey Brown. I bought "Return of the elephant" and the fifth issue of his "Forlorn Funnies", his collection of short stories from Absence of Ink publishers. Check also here for more infos about Paul.
I already read "Return...", which is a strong story that will put some fist in your mouth by reading it, but i totally missed Hornschemeier since "Sequential". And this "My love is dead, long live my love" reverse comics is something deep and really smart, as usual for this guy. He'd just got "Mother, come home" published in french, and i'm selling it really well at the comicshop. Paul signing those two books for me, and i'm glad of the two drawings he did in 30 seconds. These are huge books. He's a huge guy.
I bought Jeffrey Brown's "Early works", some xeroxed pages of Brown's artwork when he was a kid. Frankly, you don't give a shit about the art, as you'll see carbon copies of super heros poses directly stollen from Marvel comic books, Transformers characters, GI Joe stuff, but the imagination of this guy, even as a kid, is really fresh and funny ; "the UFO invasion" is a 3 pages handwriting script for a story he found, and this is just big ; he also wrote to Harrison Ford when he was a kid in 84, and it's a real dose of big laugh. Terrific Jeffrey Brown, who also did a little thign on this cover.
Bought John Porcellino's King-Cat from august 2004, and well, it's the usual Porcellino tone ; this time, John and Misun quit Denver for San Francisco, and in this issue, John tells the whole trip, and the first moments lived in the bay. Including the dopest playlists around, and the same Porcellino touch that makes his minimalistic drawing so touching, so emotionnal. This issue also marks King-Cat's 15 year anniversary...
Also bought "Sisyphus" from Anders Nilsen, which is a totally refreshing tale, full of incredible ideas and smart dialogs.
We're talkin' about the Sisyphus myth here, but with an amazing personnal twist... "Sisyphus and the minotaur" is the surprising story i read for months. It's a 13 black and white pages with a climax that nobody can handle... Anders did a real neato thing in the copy i bought, which mades me glad when, back home, i showed it to Drine... "Wha... Who... What that really means ?" she told me, seing the drawings... Fine for me ! I really got to check this guy's other stuff. My favorite surprising book from Angouleme so far.
After a 30 minutes search for a place to crash for lunch, Guillaume Long, Nancy Pena and I find some restaurant, the ultimate meal for me before my trip back home.
Nancy will sign on the "Boite a Bulles" stand, which simply sucks cause on the stand aside will sign some trashTV and teenagers idols, who deal with a publisher to get a book with their name on. The book is an awful waste of money and just sucks hardcore, as you can imagine, but people in the festival will probably try to see one of the 5 girls, who got nothing to do here. It will be a difficult afternoon for the lady ! And Guillaume and I had fun with the table next to us, where the childrens were reading some Soleil books right aside us ; Angouleme...
Fact 16 : some lady knocked on the window for me. I'm totally tired and fucked-up, and don't recognize her. If you're reading this, lady with a baby on your shoulders, please sorry : i'm nothing but a piece of shit on this one...
In the train for Paris, i had the time to read JC Menu's book, this lampoon that everyone already talk about ; many intelligents things are wrote, many good points of view on the industry and on his history and evolution... Too sad he focus so much on people that, for sure, worth the awful things that people says on them, and forget to be this critic with his crew, his authors family... I'm glad because this guy is definitely doing a war against those who sucks, who're using and abusing of this industry, but... Heck, in his little circle of friends, there's also faces who needs to be spitted on a little bit. For that, it's sad : the book could have better echoes and could make waves if Menu wasn't only mono-directionnal.
In any cases, this is a book to read, cause there's for sure things that must be known.
My friend Dolph/Namrepus was in Angouleme, so were Laureline Mattiussi, Remy Cattelain, Nico/Xeroxed, Gino... I wasn't able to see all of them, because of our totally overbooked agendas, but also because i got some real piece of shit instead of a phone. Damn.
Fact 17 : some people behind me were speaking about Joann Sfar comments on this years selection for the awards. "what a bunch of snobs !" one said... the other answered "You say so ! there were loads of good comics not nominated this year, and we don't argue !". "As you say, my friend", says the first, "which books did you prefer this year, by the way ?". The second used 5 seconds as a brainstorming act, and says : "I think I'll go for the Lucky Luke ; Laurent Gerra did a terrific work..." and the other said "Come on, gee ! this SkyDoll deluxe edition was the ultimate book..."
Angouleme, see you next year, uh. 8)
I'm in Paris, but i gotta go to another train station to know when I'll be able to leave Paris ; while in the subways, i phone a few friends, mayeb to catch one of them to have a drink before my next train. Sam is in Marseille at the moment, Laulau probably take some rest from his new job situation, and before i had the time to phone to others, my phone stops itself another final time, just when i tried to join Xaxa... Which worked, as Xaxa phoned me back to tell me he'll come at Gare de Lyon, the train station where i'm waiting for a train leaving Paris in... 30 minutes.
Xaxa and Nath showed themselves 15 minutes after the mini-phone call, and we had a real quick drink together, speaking of... Angouleme, of course. It was really cool to see Xaxa and Nath taking the subway in Paris a saturday afternoon to see me 10 minutes. For this and for many other reasons, thanks, my friend.
I'm home. Drine was on her drawing board when i came back, and she was really glad when i told her that yep, Alex Baladi reminds her... bla bla bla...
So, how was it ?
Cool. It was cool.
Angouleme is cool, but in the summertime, it's always better.