Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary



















February 19, 2017


Conversational Euro-Comics: Bart Beaty on Paysage après la bataille

imageBy Bart Beaty

Whatever other difficulties that it may have had over the past few years, one thing is clear: the Angoulême festival is doing an excellent job of awarding its top book prize, the Fauve d'or. Over the course of the 2010s they've honored a series of great books, including Guy Delisle's Jerusalem, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac's Quai d'Orsay, Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future and, last year, Richard McGuire's Here. While I might not personally have picked each of those as the best book of any given year, they would have, at the very least, been in the conversation.

This year, however, they outdid themselves. When 2016 ended I was certain about my pick for best comic of the year, and, in a thrilling surprise, so was the Angoulême jury: Paysage après la bataille by writer Philippe de Pierpont and artist Êric Lambé. This hauntingly poetic masterpiece is one of the best comics in years, a subtly unnerving work about the transformative power of grief.

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De Pierpont and Lambé have been collaborators on and off for more than a decade now. They had previously published Alberto G., a quasi-biography of Giacometti, in 2003, as well as La Pluie and Un Voyage. Four years ago Lambé shocked the comics world with the graphically astonishing graphic novel, Le Fils du Roi (elaborately cross-hatched in ball point pen). Paysage saw a return to the simpler line art of his earlier work, now paired with breathtaking compositions. Framing and layout operate in this book at an incredibly high level to create meaning. It is a formal tour-de-force.

Paysage après la bataille is simple to describe in plot terms. Having lost her daughter in a car accident, a woman, Fany, travels to a mobile home park in winter to escape the world. Here she meets four people, a couple and two lone men, each of whom have their own backstories. While not a wordless comic, it is likely that about 300 of the 420 pages in the work contain no text.

Snow falls. Birds sing. A rabbit is buried. Life goes on. Or it doesn't.

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The work is carried by its misleadingly simple structure: plenty of single-panel and two-panel wordless pages lend the book its muted, understated tone. The vast majority of the book features grey washes and black-and-white line art, yet unexpected flashes of color signal major emotional highs and lows. In what is to me the book's most affecting sequence, Lambé cuts between images of a hunter and a showering Fany to create a potent scene of threat and loss. Few cartoonists could have pulled off such an understated moment.

"Understated" is the key word for this book. De Pierpont and Lambé don't compete with each other -- during the one key sequence with dialogue, for instance, Lambé literally drops the art out of the page. There isn't a misstep to be found in these pages. I've read this book three times, and, in all honesty, I got chills every time.

The best book of last year. By a wide margin.

*****

You can read about the highly accomplished Bart Beaty here. His writing about the various European comics scenes over the last quarter-century is one of comics' great treasures.

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* Paysage après la bataille, Eric Lambé And Philippe De Pierpont, Actes Sud, 9782330069988, October 2016, approximately $31 USD.

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Go, Look: We're Living In The Anthropocene Epoch

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Go, Look: Christoph Mueller

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If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through March 2017

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*****

February 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

February 21
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This (2017 Comic Arts Fest)

February 22
* If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This (2017 Comic Arts Fest)

February 23
* If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This (2017 Comic Arts Fest)

February 24
* If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This (2017 Comic Arts Fest)

February 25
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Copenhagen, I'd Go To This (Copenhagen Comics)
* If I Were Near Destiny City Comics, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Brussels)

February 26
* If I Were In Copenhagen, I'd Go To This (Copenhagen Comics)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Brussels)

February 27
* If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This (2017 Comic Arts Fest)

*****

March 2
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)

March 3
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)

March 4
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Tulsa, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Nigeria, I'd Go To This (Comic Connect Africa)

March 5
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)
* If I Were In Nigeria, I'd Go To This (Comic Connect Africa)

March 11
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Big Apple Con)
* If I Were Near Ontario, Oregon, I'd Go To This (Border Town Comic-Con)

March 12
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Big Apple Con)

March 15
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

March 16
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

March 17
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 18
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 19
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 22
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 23
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 24
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 25
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I Were In Greenville, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

March 26
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I Were In Greenville, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)

March 28
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This
* If I Were Near Harper College, I'd Go To This

March 29
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

March 31
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Dallas)

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Events For April 2017 Onward Listed Here

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Editor's Note: Some of you have questioned whether or not these listings count as personal endorsements; they don't. In the spirit of more information trumping less, I will continue to list a wide variety of events here for those that don't share my specific tastes and distastes.

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Happy 68th Birthday, William Messner-Loebs!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Jim Lawson!

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Happy 74th Birthday, Don Glut!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Gerry Shamray!

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February 18, 2017


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Looking Through A Thousand-Comic Comic Book Collection


Andrea Serio Sketches


Short Film Based On First Blacksad Book


Not Comics: Monte Schulz


Gil Kane The Master
 
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Go, Look: Can Free Pop-Up Clinics Save American Healthcare?

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Go, Look: MAD Knock-Off Artwork Sampling

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In The Bay Area, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Burlington, I'd Go To This

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Happy 54th Birthday, Mark Bodé!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Gahan Wilson!

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February 17, 2017


Go, Look: Curt Swan Superman Splashes

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By Request Extra: Garbage Pail Kids Tribute Pack

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These look great, and they will support Jay Lynch and his medical expenses.
 
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Go, Read: Charles Rodrigues Interviewed In 1969

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* there's a lot to ponder about digital in general with this article on the New York Times and their long move away from print. Just the idea of identifying a core offering and then working your way into indispensability through working in other factors is food for thought.

* never heard of this site and then I read two people casually talking about it on the same day. I love it when the Internet works like that, I don't get that feeling as much as I used to.
 
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