There are many photos I didn't take at Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême! I missed snapping pics of Moebius, Jason, JC Menu, Killoffer and Joe Dog. I missed taking the photo of all the little kids with red hats reading CF's 2-pager in Kramers Ergot #7 and I missed the guy dressed up as Tintin just after I sassed Alex about how there was no one in costume. I missed taking a picture of Souther's raw meat salad...
Souther and I were crashing together in a château about 40 minutes outside of Angoulême. Every morning we'd get picked up by a car service and taken to the show. I know, I know, it sounds fancy - - and it was. All the drivers had clean shaves and nice haircuts, their pants were pressed and their breath smelt of the finest perfume (change out for cigarettes and bread). Some times the car we were picked up in was signed by Picasso.
One morning we woke up and found Tom Gauld in our room! That same morning the fancy car service was 3 hours late...
While we waited Tom and Souther discussed the current revolution happening in Dutch comics.
Isn't this amazing! Souther peeled the shit out an orange. Amazing.
On the topic of Amazing... I wish you could flip through Tom Gauld's sketchbook (and I wish my camera hadn't auto-focused on Tom's shoulder and lovely hair). Tom's sketchbook has these great 2 page spreads, with his daughter jamming on the left page with a green marker and then the right page is FULL of Tom's jewel like drawings, cataloging his toothy imagination.
Souther and Alex behind the booth. Technically, not a good photo but I like where Souther's head is in relation to Sharry Boyle's book Otherworld Uprising.
While we were in France there was a nation-wide strike.
From what I could gather, the French people were striking because of the government's handling of the current economic crisis.
The night of the strike I was talking with some Northern European friends (possible the happiest people... ever.) and one of 'em in a loud voice goes "Hey Jason! In America what would happen if you strike against crisis!?!" I replied "You'd probably get fucking fired." And they all laughed hysterically. I asked my friend what would happen in Northern Europe and he said "Nothing. Because we aren't stupid." And then I started laughing...
It's Joe Daly! The man behind Scrublands and the upcoming The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book.
Here's Joe preparing to sign a copy of Kramers Ergot #7.
To Joe's left we find the amazing Conrad Botes. GO NOW! GO! and find a copy of The Best of Bitterkomix vol. 1 featuring Conrad's amazing story "Blood River."
Conrad and Joe sign Kramers Ergot #7... at the same time.
Here is a statue of Herge's head. It is common for French children to run up to it with excitement and glee.
If I'm remembering right, this photo was taken just after Dan Clowes finished a radio interview. Dan told me he thought the interviewer asked him to explain his take on Nietzsche, so he did... turned out the interviewer asked him about David Lynch... Anyway, it's a nice photo of Dan and Alvin Buenaventura shooting the breeze.
Alvin watches a rough preview of Ghost World II: The Bob Skeetes Story.
Melissa, Souther and Alex anticipating the upcoming Clowes & co. signing. The tension was building and so was the size of the crowd.
"AUTEUR! AUTEUR! AUTEUR!" croaked the crowd of anxious fans. Like atheletes of olde making the fabled trek down the long dark corridor to the arena of champions... Adrian Tomine! Chris Ware! and Dan Clowes! well rested and pumped up for some fuckin' book signin' dewd!
So the show ended and it was awesome.
Here's a photo-collage-thing of our exodus...
Click to enlarge
What we didn't sell we just tossed because in France they don't give a fuck about money.
But I'm American and I was like "Alvin! what the fuck are you doing!!!"
Alvin looked up at me with those eyes and said... "Let it go Jason."
Not too long ago Legendary Larry Reid asked me to put together an exhibit of HUMBUG art and artifacts for the Fantagraphics Bookstore. The show opens March 7th 2009 and it's going to be fantastic, if I do say so myself... seriously, the work is so good! If you're a fan of comics or art or history then you'd be a fool not to check it out! Anyway, I spent the better part of this morning going through original artwork by the likes of Will Elder, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth... and Russ Heath (see above image). Heath didn't do a lot of work for HUMBUG but what he did do was amazing trompe l'oeil-esque cartooning, parodying the ads and articles of the day, circa mid 1950's. His HUMBUG contributions are so stark and deadpan, sincere and illusive that they're subversion is felt at a gut level. Since assitant editing HUMBUG I've been thinking a lot about Heath. I even pulled out my beat up old copies of BLAZING COMBAT -- what? you don't have BLAZING COMBAT? You will soon...
Days like today make me crush out on my job all over again.
I'm really not trying to drag this out... but I will.
What we have here are a couple of nearly-panoramic-photo-collage-things I put together to try and give a sense of the fervor behind the Buenaventura booth at Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême when Dan Clowes, Chris Ware & Adrian Tomine were signing and sketching for fans. I'm not sure if it was any krazier than San Diego Comic-Con but the degree of passion and devotion on display was exciting, worrisome and definitely European. During San Diego Comic-Con it's not uncommon to see excited, overweight children trying to run from booth to booth to obtain free shit and a drawing from say the Owly guy or Prof. Neal Adams. Now, take out "excited, overweight children" and replace it with "concerned, well dressed European adult" and you get an idea of a common scene on display at the Angoulême show. One crazed, scary-eyed (and very nice) European man had snuck into (we call it "breaking and entering" where I come from) the building the day before the show opened in hopes he could procure autographs and drawings from Clowes & company!
Click to enlarge:
L to R: Dan Clowes, Alex Holden, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Souther Salazar, Melissa P. Coats & way far to the right, just under the green sign is Tom Gauld
L to R: Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Alex Holden's shoulder, Souther Salazar & Kramers Ergot #7
Hiding behind a copy of Kramers Ergot #7, Dan Clowes signs books for his French publisher Cornélius. Signing at Angoulême is dangerous business.
Chris Ware and Dan Clowes slave away. This photo and commentary taken from a fan's point of view.
Dash Shaw draws for a fan in the French edition of Bottomless Belly Button. It was a lot of fun to watch Dash personalize copies of BBB, much to the delight of French sensibility, he drew ALL OVER the book, including the flip. It was cool.
Dash's French label mate and Seattle's own Kaz Strzepek draws for a fan as he blurs into the gloaming. Along the bottom of the frame you can see the hardcover to the French edition of Mourning Star... or you can click here to see it.
An American in Paris! Can I buy you a fancy lunch? Snails? How do you work this thing!?! Oh boy... that's right! Even though I was upright my fingers were fast asleep. Wish I could tell you these were the only misfires on my camera...
These photos are from my second day in Paris. I woke up at 7am (10pm Seattle time) and enjoyed the complimentary breakfast of a large roll, croissant, cereal and... another croissant. For the record, every morning I consumed AT LEAST 3 to 4 members of the bread family. My plan for the day was to find a LARGE CUP OF COFFEE*, hopefully several and to walk ALL OVER Paris (by days end I'd walked close to 15 miles by my dirty American reckonin').
*Most French coffee is small... espresso and the like... I hail from the Northwest; our coffee comes in buckets.
I took MANY photos during my hike around Paris, none of which I'm going to share (bore you with). If you've never been to Paris click here .
By early evening I made my way to the 4th arrondissement where Dash Shaw was signing the French edition of Bottomless Belly Button at the fantastic comic book shop Super Heros.
As you approach Super Heros you see this giant Jacques Tardi billboard... honestly, it's things like this that make Paris great. Why would there be a comic book shop in Paris called Super Heros with Tardi imagery for signage?
Yes, in France there is Tintin type everywhere and it's awesome.
Super Heros' storefront.
Inside we find Dash Shaw and Editions çà et là éditeur Serge Ewenczyk. It was a surprising relief to speak some American (not English, American). When I first saw Dash I had trouble navigating the word "Hey." Serge was a godsend and took us to a nice little place where we had crêpes (mine was called the "Toronto" and came with a sausage patty and fried egg).
At Super Heros they had a limited edition Charles Burns / Killoffer print!
Okey, hold on tight, we're going to do some time traveling.
The following photos were taken the day after Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême ended and I was back in Paris, where it had snowed.
The only reason I took this photo was to prove to my Grandpa that it snowed in Paris.
Lets get one thing straight. Paris was lousy with Obama propaganda . Everwhere I looked I saw t-shirts proclaiming "My President is Black." I couldn't help but wonder if tacit French rasicsm extends to Obama or not. I asked a few expats and they all responded with fishy shrugs.
Moving right along... Since I was in Paris I decided I should go visit Centre Georges Pompidou...
... to read some comix! Courtesy André Breton and co.
Just as I was about to leave Centre Georges Pompidou I spotted a flyer for a talk to be given by Joe Dog aka Anton Kannemayer, Konradski aka Conrad Botes and Joe Daly. The talk was centered around the amazing Bitterkomix and it was fantastic. I highly recommend all of their work.
On my way home I spied this...
... some French smart alec demanding Jordan Crane's NON #6.
Coming up on 40 hours without sleep and hoofing it from the 11 arrondissement to the 5th. I'm on my way to the legendary Un Regard Moderne when I spot this little gem:
What if Dan Clowes was born French? We would all be referring to Ghost World as Shake Hair. By the way, Dan tells me Doofus (as played by Jack Black) makes a bicycle-seat-sniffin' cameo in Ghost World II: The Bob Skeetes Story!)
Moving right along...
Rounding the corner I loaf down the typical, rain washed, beautiful, Parisian alley/street and there IT is, out of nowhere, a parting of clouds a ray of pure light...
... the bookstore of my dreams: Un Regard Moderne!
The following photos are of just the storefront.
I keep trying to figure out how Jacques the owner gets these books into the front windows? There are stacks and STACKS of books in the way, and there's no way he's moving all those books just to rearrange the front window display! right? wrong! I went to Un Regard Moderne two days in a row and the window display had changed over night! The only thing I can figure is that Jacques is crawling up on top of the stacks and STACKS of books and using a claw to grab books out and to place books into the display...? Very mysterious.
Here's what you see when you walk inside and look immediately to the left:
There's only room for 3 people and if you ever make it to this dream I advise you take off your jacket and leave your bag outside because there is NO ROOM for both you and your crap.
I spent a lot of time in this heaven of books. It felt so good.
Housewives at Play: French Connection, you wish.
In the foreground here there's an island of books stacked up to my nose (I'm 6 foot 6). The owner usually stands on a foot or two of old, stacked newspapers in the far corner by the Gary Panter and Ninja. While I was trying to navigate this island I knocked over a tall stack of books. Books everywhere. The aisle was so narrow and cramped I couldn't even bend over to pick them all up and some of these books were damaged. I felt so bad. I took that as a sign to leave. I paid for my selections and started back to my hostel picking up a French sandwich on the way.
Owner: Jacques Noël
As you leave Un Regard Moderne this is what you see when you look up. Books stacked from floor to ceiling. Beautiful.
Later at my hostel I layed on my tiny bed in a daze. I was so tired and so excited from visiting Un Regard Moderne... it felt like I'd visited the physical and ideal representation of how I'd like to think my brain looks.
Later that night I woke up with a striking pain in my right shoulder. The same shoulder I knocked over that stack of books with. I was convinced my karma or whatever was fucked. It felt like someone was squatting on my chest and stabbing me with a large knife! I sat up and went through my purchases from Un Regard Moderne and discovered I'd short payed. The next day I went back to Un Regard Moderne and settled up and the exact moment I left the store was the first relief my shoulder felt since the night before! Let that be a lesson to you.
On loan to Buenaventura Press, from January 25th to February 3rd I was in France to attend Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême. My trip to Angoulême was bookended by brief stays in Paris, a city I hadn't visited in 8 1/2 years. Here are some photos I took while I was in France...
I flew to Paris by way of Chicago... Looking back on this photo I genuinely envy The Sleeping Chef of O'Hare Airport, when I landed in Paris I had't slept for over 30 hours and I hadn't a clue as to where I would be staying because I hadn't reserved a room before I left Seattle. (I'll try to only write this only once: the 9 hour difference between Seattle and Paris is NO JOKE.)
From the airport I took the RER and then transfered to the Metro which spat me out into the 11 arrondissement... and this is the first thing I saw. My vision was so blurry from lack of sleep I thought I was seeing things.
From what I could tell by peering through the dusty windows Tête Rock Underground is some kind of comix gallery...? I'm not sure because the place was locked up tight. I took these photos at around 8am on a Monday morning and as anyone who's visited France can attest, things don't really start doing until 10:30 to 11:00 am. Anyway, I meant to come back when they were open but never did.
I went from hotel to hostel to hotel again on a mission to find a place for the night. Every place I went to was either closed (?) or full up and I was beginning to despair... even though I was excited to be in Paris. I stopped for some coffee and to gather my wits. I went to a couple more places and learned how to say "no vacancy" in French.
FINALLY I found a place to rest my bones! (No, not the van...) After I paid the man I started up the narrow stars to my room and Bruce Springsteen's "Born In the USA" started up with me. Say what you will, but Bruce aint my guy, tredging up those stairs to his blue collar anthem made me feel sick. But I digress... So, I'm in my room, dog tired... I know if I go to sleep I'm fucked and after all I am in Paris... Splash some cold water on my face, I head out into the Paris cold to do some exploring!
Now... if I were to tell you this was a comix trip would you believe me? Literally, right around the corner from the hostel where I was staying are the offices for L'Association!
It was still pretty early, the streets were free of people and I wasn't sure if anyone would be in. I walked up to these big red doors and knocked.
This is the first thing you see when you walk into L'Association's space. My immediate thought was "My Gawd! It's French Fantagraphics! Except they're shorter and dressed better!" There was interesting crap piled everywhere!
I got to spy some advance copies of upcoming L'Association titles, such as Spermanga by Pakito B0lino...
Page after page, this book looks amazing and it's all in English!
Here's the proofs for Red Monkey dans John Wesley Harding by the talented Joe Daly. The American edition of this book is due out from Fantagraphics this coming July under the title The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book.
While I was flipping through the proof and sipping some much needed coffee (Merci!) the print run for the book was delivered! just in time for the festival.
It was time for me to go. As I shuffled off I walked past this strange tent. Its rumored that many years ago this tent was once the temporary home of Kim Thompson!
This is what you see as you leave L'Association... I gotta say, it was really inspiring to be so far away from home and to be surround by such nice folks who, like Fantagraphics, are trying to make the world a better place (at least, that's how I see it...).
Revived by coffee and good company I was off to the legendary Un Regard Moderne.
On my way to Un Regard Moderne I spotted this poster for the movie Valkyrie with a V for Vendetta mask placed over Tom Cruise's pensive, Nazi mug.
(The Slide Show will continue soonish with part two.)
The day after Zak Sally and Nate Denver played the Fantasygraphics comic book store we tried to go see the batman (stinks) movie at the imax bubble but it was sold out so then we went to Archie Mcphee's and looked at stuff.
We found a photo of Xaime stapled to the wall!
Nate Denver surveys the land.
(Zak and I did eventually see the 12 and a half hour long batman movie and it was... uh... the best movie ever... I guess...)
The second issue of Floating World Comics experimental comics tabloid. Maybe you were lucky enough to find a copy of the first issue? They’re free at cafes, bars, and shops all over Portland. Issue 2 features more incredible work from Luke Ramsey , Evan Meister, Barnaby Ward, Bald Eagles , Kevin Hooyman and more.
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