Bonjour from Angoulême. A few naps and some bad wifi since last we spoke but things are humming here. As at most cons, Saturday is the “big day” and most people are escaping huge crowds with meetings, lunch or staying in bed.
Thursday, after the FCA breakfast and podcasting I inspected the “Nouvelle Monde” tent – essentially the “SPX/TCAF’ portion of Angouleme with the French small presses gathered in an immense stew of amazing awesomeness. It was always mysterious to me when someone would come back from France raving about this press or that one but when you see it all before you it’s hard not to rave.
Editions Cornelius caught my eye, as did Ce et La, and so many others. There were only a few tables of the “punk/CAB/Panter/Fort Thunder” school, and only a few English language publishers, understandably.
Dinner was courtesy of Europe Comics where I caught up with Gallery 13’s Adam Wilson and Lerner’s Greg Hunter and met Emanuele Di Giorgi Managing Director of Tunué Press (Italy) and Claudio Curcio, director of the Naples Comic Con. They filled me on in Italian comics doings. As with most European countries (aside from France and Belgium), Italy has seen a huge rise in the number of publishers and the amount of native material being published. And hearing about the European convention scene was fascinating – the issues of celebrities, cosplay and guests is just about the same for popular shows.
Several of us checked out the Hotel Mercure bar afterwards but it was at that insanely busy point of the night and I ran away quickly.
Friday, I moderated the panel on international publishing with Hunter, Wilson, Diana Pho of Tor/MacMillan and Patty Rice of Andrews McMeel. It was a fascinating group to talk to as the publishers involved range from super well establish (Andrews McMeel) to “emerging” in the case of Gallery 13 and Pho’s new line at Tor which is just getting back into graphic novel publishing.
That Angouleme is now such a center of for international rights was bourne out every time I went into a tent – according to the slide from the FCA breakfast, sales of American Comics are up 250% in the French market. And manga is super well established.
A trip to Le Monde Des Bulles – the main tent for the big French publishers – showed a huge range of material from all corners of the globe. Packs of children roamed the hall wearing a variety of headgear: a white hat for Les Schtroumpfs (the Smurfs); red pillbox hats for Piscou; and a blond shock of hair for Titeuf. However this was to combat the prevalence of excited kids in the n booth or with Chi hats. The manga revolution has taken over the world.
While the language barrier has cut me off from the best gossip about French comics, there’s still plenty of news. Penelope Bagieu’s “Cullottes” – to be published this spring by First Second as Brazen – has been a massive hit here: over 300,000 copies sold. These stories of often forgotten women who achieved much have struck a nerve with the French public – helped by Bagieu’s masterful cartooning of course. I was drooling over the deluxe boxed set of the French edition, and I may have to pick that up later on.
A current best selling GN sensation is Timothé le Boucher, whose “Ces Jours Qui Disparaissent” (Those Days that Disappear) has gone to multiple printings and created quite a stir. It’s the story of a young man who finds out that he only lives every other day – he wakes up every other day to discover a lookalike with a very different personality has been living a differernt life.
On our publishing panel, Hunter mentioned that Lerner is publishing a YA trilogy by MariNaomi – a slice of high school life with a little bit of aliens. The first book, called Losing the Girl, comes out in May.
Some photos and more structured thoughts later!
The great Ulli Lust. Her new book “Wie ich versuchte ein guter Mensch zu sein” (roughly, I was trying to be a good person”) is coming out from Fantagraphics in English later this year and has created much talk with its frank, erotic autobiographical story.
The Cowboy Henk guy was here again like he was last time I came four years ago!
The Cornelius booth is juuuuuuust right.
I became obsessed with this wordless book by Blanquet that is disturbing AF.
Ben Katchor attempts to open a shrinkwrapped edition of his own work. The printing job was stellar he told me.
I didn’t see Nick Drnaso but he’s one of the guests at the show and poised to blow up in the US and Canada with this year’s Sabrina.
Nordic comics were well represented.
Marvel Chart Master Xavier Lancel was promoting the Beat at the show! So thrilled. His Scarce zine is a nominee for the zine prize this year. Congrats, Xavier!
One choice of snacks…
…and the more beautiful option.
The Nouvelle Monde at 6. This is like an ultra high end MoCCA mashed with TCAF.
AIEEEEE, these hardcover Mizuki editions…..want.
David B. and a cartonist who I trust the comments will ID sign at L’Association
Magical wet streets at dusk.
This was not the entrance to a graveyard but to where we had dinner.
Why we love Angouleme.
Outside one of the many super indie parties at night. I was too old to get in.
Food shot – I made breakfast myself!!!!! In a French kitchen!
Ask me about the Pan d’surprise! I was surprised. It was a bread shaped like a hat and filled with sandwiches, including salmon and cavier!
Children in dueling headgear.
When in Angouleme…
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.