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February 2, 2014


Euro-Comics Special: Jen Vaughn In Angouleme 03

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By Jen Vaughn

Nouveau Monde

* did the rounds at the Noveau Monde/indie tent where I heard -- from a majority of Americans mostly -- that it was the only tent to see. Less kids running around, for one. Found the new Jason book, Pop!, full of his mashup drawings from his European publisher. I remember emailing him when he was rolling them out asking when Fantagraphics would get to publish it -- which would be easy due to the lack of words! -- but he had already promised it to Jippi forlag.

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* Ion Books was killing it with their small saddle stapled books, many silent comics and illustrations for only nine euros. Which is currently $12 USD right now. Picked up Les Maisons by Franeck and Suite Kimono by Dues Kimonos.

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* MK Reed, Chip Mosher and Jeremy Nguyen (of comiXology) grabbed the Angouleme cat statue at the front of the indie tent. Why yes they do light it like a cool porno or discotheque, thank you for noticing. From the people I spoke to, they were having a great time meeting new and old fans, books were selling but slowly. One particularly amazing cartoonist said he noticed people lose interest when they found out he was American but he speaks fluent Spanish so switched it up a few times and nailed sales.

* Çá et Lá continued to sell those Frank Santoro, Joe Lambert, Derf Backderf, Dash Shaw and Gregory Benton comics like they were going out of style.

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* Frederik Peeters sketches the customary 15-20 minutes inside copies of his books, Blue Pills, Pachyderme and Sandcastle (I forgot my copy in Seattle and have hated myself for it)

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* Boulet and Portland's Natalie Nourigat, who is in France through August.

* is that a crowd of people? No. Well, yes, but it's actually the line for the main BD tent. The queue was a massive crush and it made us all giddy to see so many people ready for comics, albums and BD!

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* one last time around the main tent, where all the big BD companies are and to pick up a few albums because I cannot and will not leave the country without. The only sad thought I had the entire trip was that I cannot show them to Kim Thompson back at the Fanta office. (0518)

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* at Glenat, they are making absolute bank with their Bordeaux wine comic and even sold some wine -- well, probably gave it away -- with copies of the book.

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* always fun to see something many of us read as teenagers/zygotes making it's way over to Europe. Danger Girl by J. Scott Campbell, indeed. I always wanted a pair of Abbey Chase's pants (pants not pictured).

* Ankama had my Adrastee books by Mathieu Bablet I saw my first day in Paris at Album at an 8 euro discount so I made room in my bags for both. Their set up was a little odd because they went through the trouble of staining and painting their walls and bookshelves to look like wood -- kinda like the gift shop of a theme park -- but then had poorly written in Sharpie signs taped to the wall.

* not a lot of people were talking about buying books that had been listed for the "Official Selection" for Angouleme prizes but they were all labeled and selling according to the companies.

* I missed the Tardi show, which breaks my heart, but the crowds made getting there in time troublesome. From what I've seen the entire book of Goddamn This War! was hanging -- looking gorgeous, too.

Party Hardy At The Mercure

* a lot of people went to Le Chat Noir but it can only fit so many and I had no need to smoke in the large outside seating area so to the Mercure Hotel I went. I tried a new concoction everyone was drinking: cognac and Schweppes. Tasted great!

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* Guy Delcourt kept the champagne flowing so I can only assume he super enjoyed my company or he found out early about a Delcourt book winning a prize. No complaints from me as he is a very interesting person and publisher to talk to, the amount quality and kind of books they publish (and distribute) is mind-boggling -- especially after they bought Soleil. Joe Keatinge and I had dinner with the gent on the left (and his unpictured business partner Anne Magne), Arnaud Lapeyre of Pulp's Comics (a store in Paris) and the two-year running Paris Comics Expo in the fall. It's a mainstream show sans alternative, manga and BD but their sheer enthusiasm and knowledge make it a con worth checking out. David Steinberger (second from the left) and Chip Mosher (right most) continued to wow me with the European comics comiXology has been throwing up on the ol' digi-readers for the whole world to see. Now I know that I can buy BD online to practice my French for next year's Angouleme. They had several French representatives also hanging out at the booths in the BD tent talking about digital comics and handing out postcards.

* speaking of digital comics, these gents Mast and Geoffo of YBrik somehow cornered me but were offering something like what comiXology's Guided View editing does for comics but they take your script and storyboard it out so it is made/created to be "swiped" and for a little animation. Interesting idea and may catch on to bring in more younger readers. I've rarely picked up a comic because it had "transmedia" properties but if done well and the right way, could succeed.

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* and just as expected, anytime you heard a language that sounded oddly like your own -- be it German or English -- you'd whip your head around to see who it was. Ben Hatke from First Second's Zita the Spacegirl was in force. He had spent the week signing translated copies for Rue de Sevres. Jessica Abel and Matt Madden also came out to the Mercure Hotel to get some friendly chat and gossip from the States in.

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* Nico Hitori De, the main artist on Oni's Spell Checkers was on hand and mentioned he'd be back in the States for Rose City Comic Con in Portland and New York Comic Con in NYC this fall. A win for the States because he is one fine human being.

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* the official Angouleme mascot hangs out by a fumer chat.

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* my haul! Three BDs including that Chemin Perdu and the two-parter Adrastee by Mathieu Bablet that made me believe in magic again. The Wonder Woman mini comic is from Pantsu (who tabled at the alternate show FOFF) and unfolds to reveal a wicked poster. Cartoonist Elisa Caroli models below.

* Angouleme, I will return next year. Count on it and count the days as your heart fills with dread.

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* Jen Vaughn is a Seattle-based cartoonist and graduate of The Center For Cartoon Studies. You can read her blogging on behalf of her employer Fantagraphics Books here. You can read her digital comic Avery Fatbottom here. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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