Jean-Christophe Menu, a founding member and driving force behind the French art comic powerhouse L’Association, has left the organization following a series of shake-ups and disruptions, including a workers strike. Bart Beaty has the best analysis of what it mean for L’Asso, Menu and French comics in general.

Some will say, with some justification, that L’Association is now dead. Though L’Asso was never a one-person show, Menu was their most public face and active participant. Can they soldier on without him? Yes. The issue will be how, and to what direction.

Beaty compares Menu’s place in L’Assoc to Chris Oliveros at D&Q or Groth or Thompson at Fantagraphics — a key man without whom nothing will be the same. Menu plans to start his own publishing venture, and L’Asso will go on with such folks as David B, Killofer and Trondheim on the board, but Beaty’s overall assessment is pessimistic: the French indie comics market is dicey at the moment, and the upheaval is severe. Read the whole piece for the whole picture.