Angoulême 2010 Highlights


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I apologize for the bullet/tweet-like nature of this post. It’s the only way I could get myself to write it. Frank will do a better Angoulême post later.

I was at Angoulême last year, but this was my first trip to the comics museum there. It had an exhibition of older comic originals with newer cartoonists covering the older page, plus the permanent exhibit: a timeline with a bunch of originals and books in glass cases and occasional videos. The original for this page of Johnny Craig’s “Split Personality” was especially moving. That second panel! Wobbly inky lips and cross-hatching! It’s like a pulpy Persona still.

Of course I loved seeing the Ware originals. They had a red pencil Quimby the Mouse page in the permanent collection. Ware’s exhibit at the Whitney Biennial was a life-changing experience for me. The under drawing, measuring… It’s shocking how raw the drawing is. His drawings look so clean when they’re shrunk and colored in print. In the originals they look so labored over, sometimes even crude. You can see the struggle, his thinking on the page. The Quimby original at Angoulême was such an object; the cut zipatone, the scale, the juxtaposition between the interior panels and the more illustrative background landscape. It was engaging by itself, beyond just being preparatory work for a print book.

The Cornelius Red Colored Elegy book is gorgeous. It has red spot color. All of the Cornelius books are unified—they’re clearly a line with a consistent sensibility across books—but you get the personality of the individual artist on the covers. It’s artist first, publisher second. Hayashi told me that they’ve recently released his short animations on DVD in Japan. You’d have to order them from and have a region-free dvd player to play them. He was sweet and humored my dumb questions. At festivals like this you find yourself jet-lagged in a taxi with Jose Munoz and you’re thinking, “Holy shit, what do I ask Jose Munoz? What do I ask Jose Munoz?!” and you end up just bugging him about random things. Try to milk those ten minutes for as much as you can.

The Manga Building had a One Piece exhibit, complete with cosplayers and prop sand dunes and palm trees. It was shoulder-to-shoulder packed. The whole thing had a fun energy. One Piece originals look exactly like what you’d think they would look like.

As you’ve probably heard, “dedications” (signings) are important in France, but Ruppert and Mulot have raised the bar. Ruppert did a drawing of me on the first page of the book, then turned to the last page and pulled out a pre-made stencil that marked different points. After placing dots on the last page using the stencil, he used a stamp to make a small frame at the center square dots. Then he pulled out an X-Acto knife and cut out the center of the frame and the outside areas. He glued the center of the frame to the inside back cover and then cut out the original drawing on the first page. He placed the first page portrait inside what he cut out, flipped it around and put the cut-out together, to hand me a small portrait in a paper standing frame as his “dedication.” Damn. In the States you get a drawing of the main character’s head with a word balloon saying, “Hi (your name here.)”

While I’ve acquired a lot of pulpy 60s and 70s Franco-Belgian comics, I know very little about them. 90% have cool covers and then you open it to see Caniff hackwork. But there’s some gold in that other 10%. I got some good Luc Orients last year, but the best thing I found at this Angoulême was this Michel Vaillant BD and some kind of Little Nemo homage book.

I wanted to get this Lucie Durbriano book last year and I didn’t. It annoyed me for a whole year until I went back and got it.

This woman in Germany, Ulli Lust, did a really dense, long comic about two girls on a road trip, drawn in pencil with a green spot color. It came out in German recently. Wish I could read it.

10 Euros for the complete Airtight Garage! I nabbed it before Frank!

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9 Responses to “Angoulême 2010 Highlights”
  1. DerikB says:

    You can actually read a good chunk of the Ulli Lust book for free (in English) over at Electrocomics (other good stuff to read there too):

  2. BVS says:

    damn that little portrait is cool. 2 years ago I was in france and I went to Angoulême. it was a blast. it's like extreme nerdy fandom but it comes across as incredibly dignified, at least to me and americn whose also gone to Sand DIego comic con, i don't know what french people think of it.
    as an american it's hard to imagine something like that in north america, one of the most amazing and head spinning aspects was being in this large festival dedicated to comics, and at best I've only ever even heard of 20% of these comics. every bars have original art on display for this year's prize nominated books, tons of kids running around wearing paper hats of a famous classic comic character you've never even heard of.

  3. Eric Reynolds says:

    Those Michel Vaillant pages are BAD-ASS. Like a cross between Toth and Yokoyama. Also love the look of the Trésor book. Thanks for sharing, Dash. I'm envious…

  4. Dash Shaw says:


    Thanks for the link. Just FYI, though, the printed book looks MUCH better than that version. The green spot color also looks better in person than it does on the scans I posted here. C'est la vie.

  5. Matthias Wivel says:

    Hey Dash!
    It was good meeting you, and good to see that you went to the museum. Those originals are indeed fantastic.

    Jeez, I remember that Michel Vaillant spread from when I was a kid. That story made an impression. Hadn't thought about it for years. It's stiff, but kind of cool, almost as if in anticipation of Yokoyama.

  6. Sophie Yanow says:

    I went to Angouleme two years ago, and I'm dying to go back. To think that Munoz and Sampayo were the Grand Prix winners, with a giant show in the BD museum, and here you are riding around in a taxi with Jose… and then I think to myself "Angouleme isn't that big, where were you going in a taxi???"

    My absolute favorite dedication was from Manuel Fior, in his book Les gens le dimanche (the people Sunday). It's black and colored ink and I walked around with the thing flapping in the wind for hours waiting for it to dry. I experienced a similar thing at APE after getting your book, though I just let it sit at the table, but I like that you're adhering to this European dedication sensibility by doing paintings and wrap around drawings on your books. I certainly appreciate it and intend to kick it up a notch myself. Revolution dedication.

  7. Rob Clough says:

    I remember reading something from an American cartoonist who went to Angouleme for the first time and was doing sketches. When he did a sketch for a French person, the person handed it back to him and said, "Do more."

    It's like it's expected that every sketch is supposed to be a masterpiece every time!

    Related to that, apparently when Trondheim is asked to do sketches of Marvin the Dragon (from Donjon), he actually burns up part of the page.

  8. Jason Overby says:

    I was gonna post something about how amazing those Vaillant pages are, but everybody else beat me to it! Good post, Dash!

  9. Blake Sims says:

    Looks like a great selection. I love the syle Trésor is done in.

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