Le Louvre invite la bande dessinée

Adrian K. Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Parisart-14-LL-De-Crecy-P-80571 Since 2005, the Louvre has worked in conjunction with BD editor and publisher Futuropolis to showcase a work of bande dessinee that directly contends with the history of the Louvre.

This year's selection Le Ciel au-dessus du Louvre by Bernar Yslaire and Jean-Claude Carrière was created completely on computers (much to the horror of the elitist BD masses) and will be displayed exclusively on two large LCD screens.

Though there isn't much impetus for one to close up the old laptop and trek all the way to the Louvre
just to see something on an LCD screen, big fans of Futuropolis will be happy to know that both Nicolas de Crécy and Éric Liberge will be doing a signing at the Carousel du Louvre this Friday.

Feeble attempts at embracing technology aside, the Louvre's BD support is welcomed. And for those who aren't too familiar with bande dessinee
, this is a great exposition just to see up close how time consuming and maddening the cartoonist's job really is... even with the help of Adobe Illustrator.

Le Louvre invite la bande dessinée with Futuropolis
Now through April 13, 2009

The Official Angoulême International Comics Festival Selection

Adrian Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Angouleme Down south and west of Paris in Angoulême, the comics festival is almost ready to kick off. This year's official selection is solid, though maybe not earth shattering - with standard fare from American regulars (James Kochalka and Adrian Tomine) as well as the French (Emmanuel Gibert, Christophe Blain) and the ever present British contribution of Posy Simmonds.

The three that stick out:

Newcomer Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button is a work of real merit, combining the best of family drama with distorted narrative tricks, and some serious physical heft (720 pages). No wonder it took two whole years to complete.

Gally's Mon gras et moi is funny, honest, sad, humiliating, and the closest thing you'll get to a publicly accepted feminist work in France. It's not Fun Home, but neither is anything else.

Blutch's Le petit Christian, tome 2 is the last straw. The guy is horrendously underrated, not only as a fantastic cartoonist that seemingly changes styles perfectly at whim, but also with this quasi-autobiographical work, a competent storyteller.

The whole list is viewable after the break.

More on: The Official Angoulême International Comics Festival Selection

Sélection ACBD Prix de la Critique 2009

Bravo-Spirou-page Over at Le briographe, Jérôme Briot has posted the official selection of BD's according to the Association des Critiques et journalistes de Bande Dessinée (ACBD). It's a decidedly sober affair, with the exception of the classic re-release of Emile Bravo's Spirou (featured left), and Jean-Yves Ferri's De Gaulle à la plage.

The addition of Posy Simmonds' Tamara Drewe is a welcome acknowledgement that BD can and is created by members of the English speaking world.

The rest of them are fine and dandy, a smattering of World War stories (Il etait une fois en France, La guerre d'Alan), suspense (Shutter Island), history (Château l'Attente), etcetera etcetera.

The sum of this year according to the ACBD appears to be that nothing ever changes in French BD, and that it's best to just pick the best of each clearly defined and eternally redone genre. Genre!

The official "best of selection" will be announced on the 30th. I await with baited breath.

More on: Sélection ACBD Prix de la Critique 2009

BD review: Paul à la pêche by Michel Rabagliati

Adrian K. Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Palap

Across the sea, in the smaller, more nasal and religious version of Paris called Montreal is a bustling BD scene. The famous English language publisher Drawn and Quarterly, home to BD greats Seth, Adrian Tomine and Julie Doucet is here but it should never be forgotten that the French language BD is thriving as well.

One publisher in particular brings us the world of Paul, the creation of long time graphic designer Michel Rabagliati. Les Editions de La Pastèque have published nearly all of Rabagliati's "Paul" stories in beautiful volumes (that are color coded!). Paul, the reflective and ponderous auto-biographical hero is a likeable everyman and Rabagliati handles him with deft humor and a resounding sense of humbleness.

Paul à la pêche sees Paul and his wife Lucie go on vacation with their two friends who are raising their own children to a lakeside fishing camp. Seeing his friends and their children has Paul mixed up in all sorts of existential crises. Lucie and Paul are trying to have their first baby, and Paul looks back on his own upbringing, the importance of his family, and the future that might be in store for him as on display by his friend's children.

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BD blog: Lewis Trondheim's Les Petits Riens

Trondheimriens Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

With the recent loss of Chicou-Chicou, I've refocused my attention back on two BD blogs, American Chris Onstad's Achewood, and venerable French superstar Lewis Trondheim's Les petits riens.

There are plenty of slice-of-life BD blogs, but Trondheim is such a natural comic genius (in both senses of the word) that it never feels too tangential or, even worse, too precious.

It's good to check it every day, because each previous day's comic slowly fades away - freebies, but only for a few days.

at left: Les Petits Riens, © Lewis Trondheim 2008

Paris BD Shop Profile: Librairie Super Héros

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Imgp2466

There may not be a better place to buy bande dessinée in Paris than Librarie Super Héros. It is situated smack dab in the middle of the city (about 30 meters north of Centre Pompidou) on Rue St. Martin.

Easy to get to and super friendly, Librarie Super Heros boasts one of the larger (and better organized) collections of alternative, import and quality BD. Like many book and BD shops, Librarie Super Héros has a staff selection, called Les coups de coeur, but unlike many book and BD shops, these selections feel personal and don't feel like push new releases or old stock.

More on: Paris BD Shop Profile: Librairie Super Héros

La Fin de Chicou-Chicou

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Barque

One of my favorite bédéblogs (that's BD blogs, for you uninitiated), Chicou-Chicou, ended last week causing much outcry and expressions of chagrin from their faithful following.

What started out as a personal blog for the cartoonists Claude and Frede developed into a weekly installement from a larger group of contributors that has become an online French BD staple.

With just two real "seasons" of work, Fern, Ella, Claude, Frede, Juan, and Fabrice (et Coco) of Chicou-Chicou have come a long way both in their skills as draftsmen and as storytellers.

It's interesting to follow such a dedicated blog, where the difference between the two seasons, in terms of maturity and quality is so great, but the care and effort is so consistent.

The content itself is pretty par for the French BD course, whimsically autobiographical in nature, quirky and cute but it's definitely of a higher stock than most.

More on: La Fin de Chicou-Chicou

BD Review: Riad Sattouf's "La Vie Secrète Des Jeunes"

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Viesecretejeunes4

If you've never been outside of arrondissements 1-7 (and, no, the fringes of adjacent arrondissements don't count), then you've probably seen the Paris that God intended: a shining museum to aesthetics, mode, architecture, gastronomy and all things refined.

But as soon as you realize that Paris isn't all Haussmann buildings and quaint cafes, the important and fascinating world of new Paris emerges.


As great as old Paris was, it isn't quite that way anymore. When you traipse through the 19th, if feels more tabbouleh than crêpe.

But much like an episode of the late 90's sitcom Friends, Paris lore tends to center on the whimsically and fantastical vision of itself  - which is to say, white, bright and terribly skewed.

Just as New York City is a city of clashing and mixing cultures, so to, Paris boasts an overwhelming melange of different walks of life, from West and North Africa to Japan, China and Vietnam. But to capture this multi-layered and complex world of confusing dialects, broken language and cultural differences into a story or essay takes a real delicate level of tact and sensitivity... or, in the case of Riad Sattouf's "La Vie Secrète Des Jeunes," none whatsoever.

More on: BD Review: Riad Sattouf's "La Vie Secrète Des Jeunes"

Knack of Being Invited

Badaude writing for I V Y paris

Vernissagepost

"I have a vernissage* at the Palais de Tokyo tonight." Mélusine pauses to examine me for a moment. "I think it will be fun. Why don't you come?"

I don't know Mélusine. I met her for the first time today. She's a curator and owner of an art gallery  I wandered into this morning, near the mysterious hotel. I meet her there again in the evening before taking a taxi to the Palais.

Next door to the gallery is a boules pitche. Old men play while old women with immaculate red lipstick sit and watch. Mélusine goes over to one, to several of them; she embraces them, talks for a while. She turns to me. "They're - I don't know how to say it in English. Voyous. Do you know that word? You know, the guys, the real men of the neighborhood?"

More on: Knack of Being Invited

Interview with The Holy Consumption's Jeffrey Brown

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris
Shakespeare_42 Jeffrey Brown was kind enough to share his thoughts about how The Holy Consumption's showing at Galerie Anne Barrault, being an "artist" and his thoughts on French BD. If you're not familiar with Brown's work, check out Clumsy and the greatest book ever made for cat lovers, "Cat Getting Out of Bag and Other Observations."

Interview after the jump.

Jeffrey Brown 'Missing The Mountains' sketchbook, 2008, pen on paper, 10.5 cmx 14cm (21 cm x 14cm open) from Galerie Anne Barrault

More on: Interview with The Holy Consumption's Jeffrey Brown

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