Bande dessinée et littérature: intersections, fascinations, divergences. Vittorio Frigerio (Quodlibet Elements)

I believe that we are at a crossroads now where a broader recognition of comics is taking place both in the public sphere (readership, general criticism, awards, intermedia translation, and so on) and in academia. Truth be told, this has been a long crossroads, but still. However, I’ve witnessed here and there two problematic attitudes that, at the end of the day, stem from the same prejudice. On the one hand, we have the conflation of the incredible variety of comics production and its convoluted, imbricated history into a monolithic territory, to be dismissed as a whole. On the other hand, we find a too definite, clear-cut stratification of the same field of production, that breaks the continuum and intimate relationships of the texts among themselves, in order to create unquestioned evaluation hierarchies.  Continue reading “Bande dessinée et littérature: intersections, fascinations, divergences. Vittorio Frigerio (Quodlibet Elements)”


L’Organisme. Natalia Novia (Insula)

On the surface, this is a book about a woman and her dog who, one morning, find in the bathtub a very strange creature. Perhaps it’s an alien, perhaps it was summoned from the dark recesses of dreams, or it is a demon emerged from hell. Deprived of any text – apart from the very title and a prologue –, this book follows the permutations of these three characters and their respective bodies in a linear yet ambivalent fashion.  Continue reading “L’Organisme. Natalia Novia (Insula)”

Palookaville # 23. Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)

Comics serialization, according to many authors, is determinative not only on economic terms but also on the creative and, specifically, the narrative strategies that are afforded by it. Of course, where finances are concerned, the advantage is clear. Usually, in central markets, such as the mainstream North American and the French/Belgium ones, authors are paid immediately (work for hire, per page rates, and so on). In other instances, there’s a percentage of sales (and in some other cases, whether in small press cases or peripheral countries such as my own, Portugal, sometimes very little or even no money at all). But whatever the case, serialization means some regular cash flow into the pockets of the creators. This allows them to have sustainable careers that can help moving towards ever larger projects. But there are those who have chosen completely different forms of work, being Craig Thompon a famous case, having opted for not serializing Blankets, putting it out as the enormous tome we know.  Continue reading “Palookaville # 23. Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)”

Andromeda, Or, The Long Way Home. Zé Burnay (self-published)

A profoundly old, savage, cultic, somewhat impenetrable theogony. The gospels of a misremembered religion from an irrecoverable civilization. An allegorical novel on the occult and the mysteries and the magical, drunkenly drawing from multiple, unorganized, decaying libraries. A spellbook of sorts, with no index, context, or guidance. You may not understand Andromeda. You may not even believe it. But it will definitely have an effect on you.    Continue reading “Andromeda, Or, The Long Way Home. Zé Burnay (self-published)”

Portrait d’un buveur. Schrauwen, Ruppert & Mulot (Aire Libre)

Hold your cups high. It’s time to celebrate wanton drunkenness, shameless abandon and comics invention! The French dynamic duo Florent Ruppert & Jérôme Mulot joined forces with Belgian wonder kid Olivier Schrauwen [read ‘Skrau-ven’] to create a ribaldry in the shape of a beautiful book. Do not call this a Bildungsroman, because the main character does not grow, evolve or learn anything. But what an adventure!   Continue reading “Portrait d’un buveur. Schrauwen, Ruppert & Mulot (Aire Libre)”

The Lie and How We Told It. Tommi Parrish (Fantagraphics)

We all grow up. And as we do so, usually, we grow out of things. Sure, we grow in qualities, and we also grow on new people, but a larger part of the anxiety of growing up is, I believe, the sensation that we leave things behind. We lose the access to a protected existence. We lose people. Lose leisurely time. Lose certain freedoms or, at least, the feelings of freedom. We lose traits of our identity. And it’s painful to see them go. Never mind if maturity will bring a completely different view of life, and an ability to find pleasure in things we could not even imagine while young and reckless. Such a trait of youth is not “false” or “stupid”, it is real and should be savoured as it is happening.  Continue reading “The Lie and How We Told It. Tommi Parrish (Fantagraphics)”

Thierry Groensteen: A response to Renaud Chavanne

After the publication of my review of Renaud Chavanne’s Composition de la bande dessinée, and the related interview, in IJOCA, Thierry Groensteen contacted me. The French theoretician realized that there was faulty or incomplete information where his work and person were concerned, and asked for a droit de réponse, which I promptly translated and submitted to the same journal. I also published it at the time in a Portuguese translation, with the expectation, repeated here, that the misunderstandings were not aggravated by my own misinterpretation of either Mr. Groensteen’s or Mr. Chavanne’s work, translation problems (French into English when I am not a native speaker of either), or other types of problematic intervention. I’d like to take this opprtunity to, once again, than Thierry Groensteen, whom I had met before during the first Conferences of Comics in Portugal (2011), which I had organized and to which I had invited him, along David Kunzle, to be a keynote speaker. With the exception of this introductory note, the following text is all by Mr. Groensteen.  Continue reading “Thierry Groensteen: A response to Renaud Chavanne”

Composition de la bande dessinée. Renaud Chavanne (PLG)

This review of Renaud Chavanne’s Composition de la Bande Dessinée, along with the interview, is based on material previously published, in Portuguese, on my own blog, which was subsequently edited for publication at the International Journal of Comic Art (Vol. 14, no. 1, Spring 2012). The interview was conducted by email, in both English and French, and not only consisted in back and forth correspondence discussing Mr. Chavanne’s new book, as it followed personal concerns, and does not claim to be a balanced, more objective stance (if such a thing exists). All the translations are my responsibility, except where noted, and they were done with clarity in mind, not style. To make it more palatable, I’m posting here the review only, and the interview in a separate post… Also, Thierry Groensteen issued a reply to this interview, which I translated and was put out by IJOCA, and I’ll post that soon as well.  Continue reading “Composition de la bande dessinée. Renaud Chavanne (PLG)”

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