There can be very little doubt that many European creators, and a lot from outside Europe, look at
and can only dream of the respectability given to creators of comic books/comic
strips. If you are a creator and know
anything about the industry the answer to the question: "If you could live
and work and draw comics in one country -which would it be?" is almost
always: " France".
French comics have a history as long as those of the
UK and even Germany,
however, in the UK
there is no real recognition for comics amongst the arts or official bodies. Early
in the 1900s, the first popular French comics began to appear and included Bécassine Pinchon, 1905) and Les Pieds Nickelés (Lois Forton, 1908) then, following World War One, the French
artist Alain Saint-Ogan, who started out as a professional cartoonist, created
the successful series Zig et Puce in 1925.
Understanding France has a nice page on comics here:https://www.understandfrance.org/French/Cartoons.html
Franco-Belgian comics and comic strips are created for a Belgian and French audience although, as I am only too aware from my leap into Indian comics, they are very popular on the Subcontinent and there is a huge fan base amongst readers in the Tamil area of
India. And the fan base goes even
beyond there. But France and Belgium
have a long tradition in comics and comic books –as noted in my interview with
Jean Marc Lofficer –which needs a little up-dating (thanks to Blogger)- where
they are known as BDs, an abbreviation of bandes dessinées -literally “drawn
Lucky Luke, Iznogoud, Largo Winch, Valerian and Laureline, Blake and Mortimer, Yoko Tzuno, XIII –familiar to many people in the
and also North America thanks to the English
language versions published by Cinebook The 9th Art. In the UK at
events you will always find the family
crowds around this company’s tables –tables showing so many books and leaving
people saying “I never realised there were so many of these!” Let’s not forget Asterix,
Tintin and the Smurfs!
Thanks to our French friend, Sebchoq whom I’ve not heard from in a very long time, CBO has kept visitors up-to-date on French comic events, the passing of creators, special editions available in newsagents in France and even noted a French tv show from the 1970s dealing with comics called "du tac au tac .” And to add to the invaluable news and snippets sent in by Sebchoq there were the constant stream of Casterman BD reviewed.
This could go on and on but I am hoping that the number of visitors from the United States who view CBO daily have taken this all in! Certainly there has been confusion over some terminology because many BD are what Americans would refer to as “graphic novels” and others are classed as Comic Albums –these are usually A4 sized paperbacks. French comics such as those from Wanga and Hexagon are
comic book style –though Hexagon has produced a series of comic paperback
collections –Starlock, Wampus, Phenix etc.
Now there is the opportunity for anyone who can get to
New York City to actually
see and experience French BD for themselves.
I still hope that one day
Bristol may hold a similar event –we’ve
everything needed! But for now I’ll just be bitter and jealous that New York City gets this
FRENCH COMICS FRAMED FESTIVAL
BRINGS FRANCOPHONE GRAPHIC NOVELS AND THEIR CREATORS TO
NEW YORK CITY
SEPTEMBER 27 – NOVEMBER 5
Featuring an unprecedented exhibition of 50 graphic novel illustrations and panel discussions with 18 European graphic novelists
Private press preview to be held on Monday, September 26, 9:30 - 11am
Exhibition: The Cooper Union Foundation Building, 7 East 7th St, New York, 10003.
New York—The French Comics Association is pleased to present the inaugural French Comics Framed, a month-long festival devoted to presenting the best work of francophone graphic novelists, September 27 - November 5. The festival comprises an exhibition at Cooper Union and a series of discussions around New York City. Most events are free and open to the public.
French Comics Framed will offer a rare opportunity to hear from best-selling authors, along with French and American publishers. An exhibition in the Fourth Avenue Colonnade of The Cooper Union Foundation Building, of over 50 graphic novel illustrations—presented for the first time in the United States—will take viewers through the history of Franco-Belgian comics art. Some panel discussions exploring the graphic novel creation process will feature 18 francophone graphic novelists, American artists such as Matt Madden and experts including Heidi McDonald and Alex Dueben. The festival will also include multiple illustration workshops throughout the city and a strong French presence at the New York Comic Con, where the French Comics Association will have a permanent booth October 6-9.
At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, comiXology CEO David Steinberger called for “the ‘French Invasion’ of comics in the English language market.” Over a year later, French Comics Framed exposes English-speaking audiences to French language comics translated into English and showcases the excellence and remarkable variety of French language graphic novels today.
“Since the early 1900s, graphic novels have remained a firmly-rooted staple of Franco-Belgian culture and an essential element of French creativity,” said Philippe Ostermann, Head of the French Comics Association. “Our graphic novel industry is the third largest worldwide and French-language graphic novels have introduced major characters such as Asterix, Tintin, the Smurfs and Lucky Luke onto the global landscape. The Franco-Belgian graphic novel industry has developed a particularly strong presence in the American market, with between 60 and 100 translations published every year in the U.S. We are excited for French Comics Framed to give voice to major contemporary figures of Franco-Belgian comics and deepen their presence on the American landscape. ”
The centerpiece of the festival, the French Comics Framed exhibition, will be on view September 27 - November 5 at The Cooper Union, an institution known for its high-quality arts, architecture and engineering programs. The show will feature a selection of the best of French comics, presented through images and illustrations highlighting architecture in the design Franco-Belgian comics as well as Franco-Belgian comics narrative style. The exhibit takes the viewer on a journey through time and space, from Hergé’s well-known “ligne claire” to groundbreaking structural innovations by artists such as Fred (Philémon), and to the new scene of French comics today, with images from cutting-edge artists such as Julie Maroh, David B., and Pénélope Bagieu.
“Beyond its reputation as an entertaining literary and artistic medium, the graphic novel is a true art form in France—it has even garnered the title ‘the ninth art,’” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of France. “It feels extremely important to us to contribute to sharing this integral part of our culture with the American public. We have long been committed to this goal, and in recent years have organized events featuring the new generation of younger and edgy graphic novelists such as Joann Sfar and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), in addition to offering graphic novels at our reading room and bookshop, Albertine. French Comics Framed furthers our work to support French graphic novels and goes one step further. By making these works our focus, through an exhibition and a series of talks, we expose the unique artistry of Franco-Belgian graphic novelists in the U.S.”
Eighteen of the exhibited illustrators will travel across the Atlantic to participate in the festival. New York Comic Con hosts Pénélope Bagieu, Olivier Balez, Alessandro Barbucci, François Boucq, Stéphane Créty, Etienne Davodeau, Asaf Hanuka, Matz, Jean-Claude Mézières, Nicolas Otero, Arthur de Pins, Jean-Marc Rochette and Anne Simon, who will each participate in book signings and talks. The Kerascoët duo (Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset), who have been nominated for an Eisner award for Beautiful Darkness, will also come to New York as part of a U.S. tour, starting with a participation in MICEXPO in Boston (October 29-30).
On social networks throughout the festival and at the New York Comic Con event, special exhibition tours and book signings can be booked with the artists. Join us on Instagram #ComicsFramed, Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ComicsFramed/
French Comics Framed is led by the French Comics Association, in partnership with the Centre National du Livre, the Bureau International de l’Édition, the Syndicat National de l’Édition and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.
FRENCH COMICS FRAMED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 6pm, free
Panel discussion: The Influence of French Comics in Children's Literature
972 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10075
Featuring authors Jacques Ferrandez and Clément Oubrerie, and publishers Françoise Mouly and Mark Siegel. An event in partnership with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Comics and graphic novels have found a readership across generations. In recent years, comics adaptations of literary classics have even allowed younger audiences to discover complex masterpieces. As children become more discerning readers, artists need to develop captivating stories to hold their interest. What makes a children's comic a bestseller? How best to address younger audience?
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 7pm, $15, Student price $10
Panel discussion: Conversation with Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka
The Society of Illustrators
128 E. 63rd Street, NY 10065
Twin brothers Asaf and Tomer Hanuka discuss their opposing approaches to storytelling and their collaborative work on The Divine. Asaf Hanuka just won an Eisner Award for The Realist at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.
THU-SUN, OCTOBER 6-9, with pass
Booth and Book Signing: New York Comic Con
Javits Center, 655 W 34th St, NY 10001
A wide selection of Francophone comics in English translation, presented by numerous American publishers, at booth #1558. French Comics Framed artists will present their innovative works and best-selling books at New York Comic Con and in the convention’s Artist Alley, where a book signing will be held.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 7pm, free
Panel discussion: French Comics on Screen: Film Adaptations of Franco-Belgian Graphic Narratives
Featuring Etienne Davodeau, Matz, Jean-Claude Mézières, Arthur de Pins and Jean-Marc Rochette
Moderated by Alex Dueben (The Paris Review and The Believer)
The School of Visual Arts, 209 E 23rd St, NY 10010 (3rd floor)
Jean-Claude Mézières, creator of the classic francophone graphic novel series Valerian and Laureline, will discuss his role in Luc Besson’s 2017 film adaptation of the series, and Jean-Marc Rochette will detail his involvement in the movie version of his Snowpiercer (with Chris Evans). Matz will explain how legendary Warriors director Walter Hill’s unproduced screenplays became comics, and Arthur de Pins and Etienne Davodeau will speak about indie adaptations.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 6:30pm, free
Panel discussion: Drawing Life: Who is the Parisian Roz Chast?
Featuring Olivier Balez, Pénélope Bagieu, Etienne Davodeau, Asaf Hanuka, and Anne Simon
Moderated by Heidi Macdonald (The Comics Beat)
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, NY 10029
Accompanying the current exhibition Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs, this discussion will focus on the ever-lively and inventive world of French cartooning. Who is the Parisian Roz Chast (if there is one)? What are the major themes explored through the rise of graphic biography in France ?
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1:30-2:30pm, with pass
Panel discussion: Drawing From the World: Franco-Belgian Comics in Global Context
Featuring Olivier Balez, Alessandro Barbucci, François Boucq, Asaf Hanuka, Nicolas Otero
Moderated by Matt Madden (author of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures: Making Comics)
New York Comic Con (room 1B03), Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 W. 34th St., NY 10001
In both style and subject matter, Franco-Belgian comics are unprecedentedly diverse thanks to creators’ thriving exchange with the world. Hear how U.S. pop culture shapes setting (for Nicolas Otero and Olivier Balez), or how collaborators like Jerome Charyn (for François Boucq) add fresh spirit to the work of French artists. Publishers also embrace the unique perspectives of international artists like Alessandro Barbucci and Asaf Hanuka leading them to worldwide success.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 5:30-6:30pm, with pass
Panel discussion: ComicsBeat Presents: The European Comics Invasion
New York Comic Con (room 1A05), Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 W. 34th St., NY 10001
Featuring Heidi MacDonald, Jean-Marc Rochette, Arthur DePins, Simon Fraser, Leeann Hamilton
An annual look at the European comics scene, with the cartoonists from around the world talking about their work and the comics tradition of their countries. This time we'll talk to Jean-Marc Rochette (Snowpiercer, France), Arthur DePins (March of the Crabs, France), Simon Fraser (Judge Dredd, Scotland), Leeann Hamilton (Cash Cow, Ireland) and more about their careers, their influences and how comics are becoming an international language without borders.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 7pm, free
Panel discussion: Reconstructing Comix: The “Architecture” of Franco-Belgian Graphic Narratives, from Tintin to Today
Featuring Stéphane Créty, Matz, Philippe Ostermann, Nicolas Otero and Anne Simon.
The Great Hall of The Cooper Union, The Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, NY 10003
Over 70 years of creation and innovation, French and Belgian comics artists have pushed the boundaries of the frame, the panel and the page, drawing influence from film and international comic styles to produce unique visuals in the graphic narrative form. In this panel, leading comic artists from France discuss with Dargaud’s publisher the ways in which disruptive formal and thematic conventions have influenced their work and pushed the genre forward into its groundbreaking present form.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1—6pm, free
Panel discussion: Drawing the Unspeakable
Featuring Kerascoët, Pénélope Bagieu and Catherine Meurisse
Columbia University, Butler Library (Room 523), 535 West 114th St, New York, NY 10027
Four renowned illustrators discuss the challenges of expressing emotion through drawing.
ABOUT THE FRENCH COMICS ASSOCIATION
The French Comics Association brings together many of the major publishers of French comics, including Dargaud, Casterman, Delcourt, Dupuis, Futuropolis, Gallimard BD, Glénat, Le Lombard, Rue de Sèvres, Soleil and Steinkis. As part of its mission to promote Franco-Belgian comics in the United States and worldwide, the association aims to promote comics translated into English, to support the U.S. publishing industry, and to stimulate cultural exchanges on the basis of literature and visual narratives.
The book festival is part of ambitious projects led by the association in the United States. The target audience of the Association’s programming is Americans interested in reading, art, comics and French culture. The association aims to reach a wide audience beyond comics fans and in this framework, partnerships will be developed with various venues to spread the word throughout the city. http://frenchcomicsassociation.com/
About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts. www.frenchculture.org
About The Cooper Union
Through outstanding academic programs in architecture, art and engineering, and a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art prepares talented students to make enlightened contributions to society. The College admits undergraduates solely on merit and currently awards a minimum of a 50 percent tuition scholarship to all enrolled students. The institution provides close contact with a distinguished, creative faculty and fosters rigorous, humanistic learning that is enhanced by the process of design and augmented by the urban setting. Founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, industrialist and philanthropist, The Cooper Union offers public programs for the civic, cultural and practicable enrichment of New York City. www.cooper.edu/
John Wyszniewski and Blake Zidell at Blake Zidell & Associates: 718.643.9052, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org