Mini-BD round up: Phalanstère

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Phalanestre

Phalantitle

It's another mini-comics round up!

It seems that earlier this week those hip kids over in Strasbourg have dropped off a gem for the BD shops of Paris. This time, with the help of L'esad de Strausbourg (because there's no way they could have paid for these beautiful books on their own), a young group of auteurs have put together a very smart package of mini-BD entitled Phalanstère, paying homage to Fourniers' great misguided dream of a Utopian society.

The packaging is great, and the print quality is spectacular, and the covers even better, could the content live up to such a wonderful presentation?

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The Holy Consumption at Galerie Anne Barrault

The Holy Consumption, a Chicago based group of cartoonists (artists?) is coming to Paris, grâce à Galerie Anne Barrault.
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Works from Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown and Paul Hornschemeier will be on display to the delights of BD and contemporary arts enthusiasts alike.

The group has enjoyed great success in the United States and have seen their works translated into French, Italian and Japanese to name a few.

Stand out graphic novels from each include Jeffrey Brown's "Clumsy," Anders Nilsen's "Dogs & Water," and Paul Hornschemeier's "The Three Paradoxes."

Midwest, curated by Felicia Atkinson
Jeffrey Brown + Paul Hornschemeier + Anders Nilsen
21 June - 26 July 2008

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BD review: Philippe Dupuy's "Hanté"

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

HanteBeginning in 1989, the prominent French team of Dupuy-Berberian enjoyed a wide ranging run of success, from their celebrated BD Monsieur Jean, and "Henriette" of the New Yorker to a long standing stint as the stylistic face of the wine store chain Nicolas. The two collaborated on every aspect of the work from plots and scripts to pencil sketches and final touches. In 2003, the duo ended their collaboration to explore solo projects.

Hanté marks the first solo work from one half of Dupuy-Berberian, Philippe Dupuy. Containing a collection of stories, montages and drawn thoughts, Hanté is a shocking and exciting work of Bande Dessinée. From the very execution of the cover, Dupuy creates several visual threads, both thematic and stylistic that convey his struggle and underlying fear of mortality.

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BD review: Killofer's "Quand faut y aller"

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Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Of all the original founders of L'Association, Killofer is probably the most artistically gifted. When it comes to drawing, he's a pure craftsman in every way.

Unlike Trondheim or Satrapi who clearly depend (and for good reason) on one particular style-set that defines their voice, Killofer understands drawing so well that he has no problems experimenting, even mid-narrative.

In his collected semi-autobiographical work Quand faut y aller Killofer's visual range is at its best showcasing styles as different as quasi-surrealist soft pencils to the hard clean lines of Ligne-claire. But as is the case with many illustrators turned cartoonist, there is often a learning curve, where it's discovered that there is something more to BD than just nicely drawn pictures.

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BD review: Marjane Satrapi's "Poulet aux prunes"

Satrapi_poulet_couvAdrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

With the release of her critically acclaimed animated film, Persepolis, based on the even more critically acclaimed bande dessinee of the same name, Marjane Satrapi has catapulted herself into the public limelight. But while Persepolis might be garnering all the attention, it's her most recent works that have established her as a true master of bande dessinee in the eyes of fellow cartoonists.

In an era of innumerable autobiographical BD, craft has taken a backseat to the interest in the inherent authority of the genre. Even if it’s poorly drawn and meanders into boredom, we know it happened therefore we are interested and satisfied. The greatest faults are forgiven all in the name of “truth.” Reality TV in comic book format. Persepolis had gone above and beyond this, weaving a very intricate coming of age tale into a very complicated political history. Satrapi has cast off the autobio crutch and transformed her personal histories into some incredibly captivating stories. Her newest BD, Poulet aux prunes sees her venturing away from her immediate family and further along her roots in arguably her strongest work to date.

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The Life of a Badaude : Bastille Hairday

Winter07portraitpostBadaude's Joanna Walsh writing and illustrating for IVY paris.

Green shoots, green roots...

I'm walking across the Place Bastille, my hair blowing across my face in the sharp March wind. There's a girl getting out of a taxi by the bus ranks. She's dressed in that Bastille chic style - leggings; obviously expensive check lumberjack coat; many layers of natural fabrics; satchel straps and scarves decorating her shoulders. Her long hair looks like black sheep's wool: ringlets and lanoline. Uncombed and unwashed. It looks fantastic.

Mine doesn't. Several lollipop layers of misguided colour. A little grey at the roots. A generally fade (faded) appearance. I have to do something about it.

I have my hair dyed once a year. Every Spring when the days start to lighten and I notice the remains of the last bad dye job and the little strands of bleached-out grey. Every year it gets worse. Every year I say I won't do it again. Every year I am suckered. This year is no exception.

The salon I've chosen is called 'Nature'. It is run by a French hairdresser named, somehow ludicrously, George Bacon (No, Bah-coh, not Bay-conne, insists a Francophone friend).

I look at the brochure. The salon offers a solution for women who wish to avoid chemical aggressions, keep a safe hair, and who don't want to be trapped by apparent roots. I don't want to be trapped by my roots. In the face of such threats, who wouldn't go in?

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BD review: Shaun Tan's "Là où vont nos pères"

03_arrival_p5Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris

Là où vont nos pères is so achingly beautiful that it's no small wonder that it has picked up nearly every accolade a bande dessine can have, including this year's "Grand Prix" at Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême. Long time illustrator Shaun Tan's first venture into BD is stunning in its execution; an aesthetic and exhilarating retelling of an immigrant's story, what makes Là où vont nos pères so powerful is that it takes every possible advantage BD has to offer and creates a narrative that could only be told in pictures. This is not just one of the best BD's of the year; it's one of the best BD of the past few decades.

Tan depicts one family's story of immigration. The father leaves for a far away country in search of refuge and in hopes of eventually bringing his family with him. It's clear from the outset that something has gone terribly wrong in his mother country. Tan gives us a lasting image of a city rife with danger and evil as ominous black dragon tails cast their shadows over the city. These fantastical elements successfully transform the psychological anxiety of oppression into something immediate - a visual "monster" metaphor that tells us everything we need to know about the world they live in.

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The Life of a Badaude

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Badaude's Joanna Walsh writing and illustrating for IVY paris.

C'est lui - Le Roi du cafe*

I can admit that the cafe du coin (where they lost my keys, remember) has become my number one cafe of choice, not to mention my QG (HQ) and a.m. office. So, in way of apology, I'm offering an homage to the place.

At the moment, I'm there almost every morning. I'm the one in the corner with the portable (laptop) trying to look inconspicuous during the breakfast rush.

Paris is an inside-out city where apartments are so tiny that you have to go out to have breakfast. And, when you do, it's a social occasion. It's a party.

And what do Parisians do at a party? They like to argue.

The bar's already crowded. A group of mecs (guys) stack their moto-helmets on the bar, and begin earnestly discussing the pouvoir d'achat (cost of living). This is the French equivalent of an English conversation about house prices - and if you're from the UK you'll know exactly the level of detail this implies. What are they saying? Apparently the essential foodstuff by which the rise in grocery prices is measured is natuaral yoghurt (hausse choquant du 40% - 40% shock price rise!). Natural yoghurt - a dietary staple? Only in France.

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You, Me and Aude Picault's Moi je et caetera

Aude_picault
Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y Paris

Aude Picault is a big deal. Big enough that there is an entire site dedicated to stating quite plainly that they are in love with Aude Picault. And on this site, two characters argue over how one can be in love with someone one has never seen. I’m sure you can guess how the arguments are made in this quintessentially French debate (of course, they both win), but the question does beg an answer.

Picault’s success began with the popularity of the comics blog Chicou-Chicou, and has since been bolstered by publishing with L’Association and Warum. After recently being acknowledged as an official selection at the annual Festival d’Angoulême, Picault’s work Moi je et caetera is a bonafide success. While it’s not a ground breaking masterpiece, it is a convincingly honest and skillful executed book that should not be missed.

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Discovering BD, three euros at a time

David_b_lascensionduhautmal
Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris.
La Bande Dessinee, dit BD, and more simply known in our own language as comics holds a respectable place in the mind’s eye of the average Parisian. Though Herge’s classic Tintin is most famous, there are literally thousands of new comics created in the French language every year. But if you’re a newcomer, the task of finding this good stuff can be frustrating.

Just as the term “book” means Shakespeare as well as Nora Roberts, so too “BD” refers to the usual fantasy/scifi sludge as well as masterworks like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. The libraries of Paris are daunting, especially the BD shops, where tomes of oversized volumes are crammed into tiny spaces, perhaps hiding gems, perhaps hiding utter garbage.

More on: Discovering BD, three euros at a time

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