Frédéric Coché is a comics artist who always amazes me. His eerie, dream-like etchings are among the most unusual and arresting images in all of comics. I first became aware of his work when Fréon published Hortus Santitatis in 2001. This was a stand-alone book in their Récits de villes series, and one of the most incredible debut comics ever. His subsequent book, The Hero’s Life and Death Triumphant, from FRMK/Bries was even better.
So I was thrilled to discover this book from Ollendorff and Desseins who are putting out new essays about major philosophers illustrated by contemporary artists. The book is described as an essay on Adorno and Horkheimer through the lens of The Odyssey. Text by Claudie Hamel and illustrations by Coché. I’ve already placed an order.
Today marks the opening of the three day summer comics school in Angoulême, France. This year’s theme is Transmedia, Cross-media, and Global Media. It’s an event that I very much would have liked to attend, but, alas, it was not meant to be. Hopefully I will be able to read some of the discussion some time in the future.
The comic here is by Étienne Lécroart, who I have written about in Unpopular Culture and twice on The Comics Reporter. Still funny as ever. He had an amazing joint show with Jochen Gerner at last year’s Angoulême festival.
On Saturday the Toronto Star ran a very interesting article by Geoff Pevere on the 75th anniversary of DC Comics. It was my pleasure to speak to Geoff for the piece, and we had a very thorough and wide-ranging discussion.
One of the things I like about this article is the way that it brings out the link between comics scholarship and the success of companies like DC, whose characters have survived over time. For me, this highlights how much of contemporary comics scholarship is shaped by notions of success. I’ve been working on a project this summer that deals with a lot of comics failures, so this has been a topic on my mind quite a bit recently.
Regarding the image: I’ve shown this slide to a number of undergrad classes and it always gets the reaction that you’d expect it should. I have little doubt that soon we’ll look back on a good deal of the post-9/11 comics produced by the “big two” with the same sense of outrage that this piece produces in my students
The Fall 2010/Winter 2011 University of Toronto Press catalogue is now available from their website. Page 14 contains the details of the two new books from the Canadian Cinema series that I co-edit.
Book #5 in our march through the classics of Canadian film culture is an exploration of Allan King’s documentary, A Married Couple by Simon Fraser’s Zoë Druick. I had the pleasure to spend the better part of a day with Allan when the Calgary Cinemathèque screened this film last year. He was a fascinating man, and it’s sad that he didn’t live to see this excellent reading of the film published.
Book #6 looks at Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg, and is written by Darren Wershler now of Concordia University. Coincidentally, the Calgary Cinemathèque also hosted Maddin last year, and I had the chance to discuss this film with him over lunch. I had a serious case of the flu that day, so I barely remember anything, but I do know that I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to sit down with one of Canada’s most fascinating artists.
Both books will be released in August and there should be some additional news about them when the fall film festival season rolls around.
Also, as fate would have it, the fourth book in the series arrived in my mailbox today. This one, Concordia’s Johanne Sloan on Joyce Wieland’s The Far Shore, is a really fascinating analysis of the landmark experimental film in the context of Wieland’s entire artistic career. It’s available right now. Also in the UTP catalogue is Johanne’s newest book, co-edited with Rhona Richman Kenneally, Expo ’67: Not Just a Souvenir, which looks fantastic.
Finally, the manuscripts for the next wave of Canadian Cinema are just now coming in. Lots of really exciting work that needs to be kept under wrap for the moment, but I really think that this series is going to keep getting better and better.
My review of Chronographie, Dominique Goblet’s new book with her daughter, Nikita Fossoul, went up this afternoon at The Comics Reporter. I’ve written about Goblet’s work on a number of occasions, and discuss two of her earlier books in some detail in my book Unpopular Culture (specifically pp. 93-95). I think that she is one of the most amazing talents in contemporary comics.
I’ve been fortunate to see her display her original art on several occasions. Years ago I went to the opening of an exhibition of pages for Souvenir d’une journée parfaite at what was then the Amok offices in Paris. Those were eye-opening, huge pencil drawings that really helped change my understanding of what original comic book art can look like. Last summer I saw her work in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and two enormous landscape images – both done in Bic pen – were the most exciting things I saw in that show. I still marvel at the memory of them, and their sheer force and presence.
Goblet also has another new book out this year, Les Hommes-loups from Fremok. I haven’t seen a copy of this yet since Fremok’s distribution in Canada is spotty (at best), so I may not get to see it until Angouleme next year. Nonetheless, I’ve been following the progress of the book, and it is getting a lot of positive attetnion:
A review on PositiveRage
A review on ActuaBD
Finally, pages from Chronographie will be on display at the great Parisian comics store Le Mont-en-l’air (71 rue de Ménilmontant, 20eme) beginning Friday. Also on display will be work by Aurelie William Levaux, whose books from Cinquième Couche are equally amazing. Wish I could be there.
My review of Thomas Ott’s R.I.P., a collection of his short works from 1985 to 2004, has just been posted at The Comics Reporter. I first met Thomas at Fumetto in 2002, where his band played the Saturday night show. A few weeks later I was back in Zurich where David Basler, Thomas’ publisher, took Rebecca and me to the opening of an astounding one-man show in the suburb of Rapperswil. I was blown away seeing so much of his original art in one place. This particular image has long been one of my favorites.
Comics and academe are two of my strongly intersecting interests, so the cover of this week’s New Yorker by the remarkable Dan Clowes was right up my alley. I can’t say that his academic job crisis gag hit me square on. I didn’t move home to my parents when I graduated from McGill in 1999 – I moved in with my in-laws….