|YouTube Trailer for upcoming Tardi book!|
|Written by Kim Thompson | Filed under video, Jacques Tardi||29 Sep 2009 10:40 AM|
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The publisher of Jacques Tardi's most recent World War I book, the two-part PUTAIN DE GUERRE (my best translation: FUCKING WAR!), has released this nifty trailer on YouTube. It's all in French but there's lots of cool Tardi images between the vintage photos.
PUTAIN DE GUERRE Volume II will be released in November in France. There are no plans just yet to release a U.S. edition (there are several other Tardi books we want to work our way through, including IT WAS THE WAR OF THE TRENCHES this coming Spring), which is good because it will give me a chance to think of a title we can actually use so that booksellers can display the fucking book.
Ace Hal Foster biographer Brian M. Kane (author of the forthcoming Definitive Prince Valiant Companion from Fantagraphics) just pointed out a fascinating fact to us: The Syndicate color proofs that we are using for the first time for our brand new edition of Prince Valiant have yielded at least one instance of a page that was originally toned down (presumably by the Syndicate) and has, in the 71 years since then, never been printed in Foster's original, unexpurgated, slightly more bloodthirsty version! Compare and contrast these two versions of page 50: While panel 3 is essentially the same in terms of narrative content (albeit described in a grislier fashion), panels 6 and 7 were changed from a more-or-less accidental oops-there-he-goes death to a Mister A-style execution by a wise-cracking Valiant. We like this version better ourselves! (Click the thumbnail images below to view larger versions of each page.)
We'll keep Valiant fans apprised if any more such changes come to light!
It's been a while, but the international "Ignatz" series is finally percolating again.
As you know, the final issue of Delphine by Richard Sala, #4, and Sergio Ponchione's third issue of Grotesque, have just been released (and will be proudly displayed at this week's Comic-Con). Also just released is a new, second printing of Lorenzo Mattotti's stunning Chimera #1, which has been out of print for many months; if you didn't catch it the first time around, now's your chance.
This coming week Kevin Huizenga will be delivering the hotly-anticipated Ganges #3, featuring insomnia and cops. Expect this one to be released just in time to premiere at SPX in late September, and then show up in stores in late October/early November. Here is a preview!
Next up, likely to be released toward the end of the year, is a double whammy of Niger #3 by Leila Marzocchi (check out the cover of this wild ecological fable), and the fourth and concluding installment of Ponchione's Grotesque (with another standalone story). Then Spring 2010 will, if everything goes well, see the release of the fourth issue of Igort's cartoonist-graphic-novel-a-clef Baobab; the fourth (and concluding) issue of Gabriella Giandelli's hard-to-pronounce magical apartment building story Interiorae; and the third issue of Zak Sally's otherworldly picaresque Sammy the Mouse.
Missing in action at this point, alas, are new issues of the Gipi series Wish You Were Here and Marti 's Calvario Hills, as both cartoonists are focusing on other work at this time, but we're keeping our fingers crossed there will be a new issue of David B.'s Babel sometime in 2010.
Of course, if you've missed picking up any of these issues in the past (including the already concluded three-issue series New Tales of Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez, Reflections by Marco Corona, and Insomnia by Matt Broersma), remember, any comic you haven't read yet is a new comic...
(Click for larger version)
Jason's latest book, Low Moon, has not even been released yet in the U.S. (look for it to premiere at MoCCA, as well as to-be-officially-announced June events at the Strand in NYC, Portland OR, and our very own bookstore), and our hard-working Norwegian has already completed his next opus, another full-color 48-pager in the same format as the Eisner-Award nominated The Last Musketeer and the Eisner Award-winning The Left Bank Gang. Here is an exclusive preview of the first page from Werewolves of Montpellier, scheduled for release next summer. (In between, we will be releasing a Low Moon-format omnibus collection of several out of print Jason books, including Meow, Baby!, Tell Me Something, and You Can't Get There from Here, titled Almost Silent.)
Jason's regular colorist Hubert will soon be applying his magical hues to Werewolves. And in fact this seems like as good a moment as any to offer our heartfelt apologies to Hubert for forgetting to include his credit in the printed edition of Low Moon. Hubert has colored every full-color book of Jason's since Why Are You Doing This?, done an exemplary job every time (in fact, he was Eisner nominated too, for The Left Bank Gang), so I'm sure most regular Jason fans will automatically know that he was the man behind Low Moon's typically stunning chromatics, but we're still embarrassed. We hope Low Moon will sell out quickly so we can rectify this in a future edition.
Okay, so there you have it. This summer we are releasing two Tardi graphic novels, You Are There and West Coast Blues. Next summer, It Was the War of the Trenches.
Should these find favor with the fickle American public, I plan to keep on translating and publishing Tardi books, working my way through the Nestor Burma books, the Adèle Blanc-Sec books, and all the one-shots, until, as with Jason, American readers will be able to enjoy the entire oeuvre of one of comics' grandmasters.
If not, if we crash and burn, we'll still have made available three masterpieces of modern Eurocomics, and it'll be up to the next Tardi fan turned publisher to take another running leap at this hard-to-crack marketplace — following in the now well-worn path created by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, Terry Nantier of NBM, Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics, Chris Oliveros, the late Byron Preiss of iBooks, and now Gary Groth and me. We love Tardi and we want you to love him too. When you see his books on the bookshelf in a few months, take a chance. You won't regret it, I promise.
And here, to whet your appetite, the first five pages of You Are There. The typesetting isn't quite right yet, we haven't gotten the effects lettering done, but basically, there you have it.
(Click each page below for a larger version, or click here to download the whole preview as a 480 KB PDF file.)
As you are surely aware by now if you've been following this blog, Fantagraphics will be releasing two graphic novels by the great French cartoonist Jacques Tardi this summer. Yesterday I discussed the first of the two, Ici même. Today I hit the other one: West Coast Blues, née Le petit bleu de la côte Ouest.
Tardi has always had a special affinity for detective-slash-crime fiction, so it was natural that he would pair up with Jean-Patrick Manchette. Aside from being the pre-eminent crime writer of his generation, with ten short, powerfully dark crime novels to his credit, Manchette happened to be an enthusiastic comics fan. (Those scenes in Tardi's adaptation of West Coast Blues in which one of the hitmen enjoys a French-language Spider-Man comic are not Tardi's comics-centric invention, in fact; they're in the original text.)
American Eurocomics fans with long memories may remember that back in the early 1990s, our own Pictopia magazine serialized Griffu, a hardboiled Tardi thriller from 1978 written by none other than Manchette. And hardboiled fiction fans may in fact already be aware of Three to Kill, released by City Lights in 2002, which in fact is the English translation of the original Petit Bleu novel. It's out of print (although you can find inexpensive copies at Amazon.com), but The Prone Gunman, which City Lights released the same year, isn't.
(New Manchette fans may be intrigued at the thought of the 1980 Alain Delon-starring film of Petit bleu, retitled 3 hommes à abattre, but as I understand it the film is neither particularly good nor particularly faithful to Manchette, nor were two subsequent Delon-starring Manchette adaptations, and they were a prime element in Manchette's ongoing disillusionment with the film industry.)
Anyway, Manchette passed away in 1995, leaving Griffu as his only graphic novel (although Manchette did place his imprint on French comics in one other important way, as the French translator of one of the seminal graphic novels of the 1980s: Watchmen). So for those of us who really liked Griffu, it came as great news when Tardi decided to give that book a new sibling, an adaptation of Le petit bleu de la côte Ouest, which was released in 2005.
Tomorrow: My concluding speech and exhortation, and a longish preview of You Are There.
When I decided to launch this "Tardi library" project, I quickly knew that I wanted to include as one of the first books Ici même. This is, if I do say so myself, a bit of nervy move, because Ici même is long (at almost 200 fairly dense pages, it's among his most massive) and, in its satirical, surreal playfulness, difficult to pigeonhole (NOT a World War I drama! NOT a detective novel! NOT a Feuillade-esque fantasy romp!) and not exactly the most accessible of Tardi's works.
But Ici même is one of the milestones of French comics. Created in collaboration with Jean-Claude Forest (of Barbarella fame), its serialization was the centerpiece of the first year or so of (À Suivre), the great '80s comics anthology that dragged European comics out of its character-oriented, genre-oriented, endless-serial prehistory. Originally conceived by Forest (and trust me, if you know Forest only from Barbarella, or even worse only Barbarella the movie, you have NO idea) as a film, it was one of the first book-length comics to be designed specifically as a single, self-contained piece of fiction. When Ici même ends, it is most definitely over.
So I figured by God, if I was going to take a stab at Tardi, I'd start at the top.
But as I said, Ici même is a bit of an atypical Tardi... Which is one of the reasons the other Tardi I picked to kick off with was a ball-busting crime thriller (which comes in at a very tidy 80 pages). But there's a number of things I want to chat about on this one, including its connections to Alain Delon and Watchmen, so I'll see you here again tomorrow.
Pursuant to my jeremiad yesterday about the absence of any English language editions of Jacques Tardi's work, it gives me enormous pleasure -- admit it, you saw this coming — to announce that...
Well, let's go to the press release.
"This summer, Fantagraphics will launch an ongoing series of hardcover books presenting the works of the legendary French cartoonist Jacques Tardi.
"The first two releases will be West Coast Blues (Le petit bleu de la Côte Ouest), a hard-boiled crime thriller adapted by Tardi from the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and You Are There (Ici même), a satirical, surreal story written for Tardi by Barbarella creator Jean-Claude Forest that many consider one of the first true French graphic novels. Both will be released simultaneously in August, in what series editor Kim Thompson (ahem) calls a ‘double-pronged shock-and-awe assault on the American readership, to immediately show off Tardi's versatility.'
"Planned for Spring 2010 is the World War I-themed It Was the War of the Trenches, chapters of which have previously appeared in RAW and Drawn and Quarterly magazines during the 1980s and 1990s.
"‘Tardi has always been one of my top favorite European cartoonists,' said Thompson, who will also be translating the books. ‘I've wanted to do this for many years — pretty much as long as we've been publishing — and I think the time is ripe. In today's graphic-novel world, the audience is finally ready for Tardi.'"
Isn't that cool?
Oh, and check out comicsreporter.com for an interview with me on this project, which gives a few more details.
One of my all-time favorite cartoonists, and certainly one my favorite European cartoonist of the last 30 years or so, is Jacques Tardi.
It's been a source of constant annoyance and sadness to me that so far, every attempt to bring Tardi's work to an English speaking audience has been, at best, a mitigated success, and certainly never a big enough of one to warrant continuation. And it's been years since anyone even tried.
I don't know why that is. Tardi represents to me one of the peaks of modern cartooning. He's managed to somehow alchemically infuse the vigor and sheer comic-page readability of the best humor cartooning with the gravitas and conviction of the best "realistic" illustration, to create an uninterrupted series of witty, wry, and sublimely beautiful graphic novels. I've got Art Spiegelman on my side on this one, too: He put Tardi in at least three issues of RAW Magazine, and it was a perfect fit.
So the fact that at this point NONE of Tardi's work is in print in an English language edition is cause for shame and embarrassment in our soi-disant enlightened graphic novel industry.
Which leads me to...
Watch this space tomorrow.