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February 1, 2013

Bart Beaty In Angouleme 2013 03: Rainy Day Blues

imageBy Bart Beaty

And on the second day, oh how it rained...

Rain has dampened the mood of the Angouleme Festival considerably on day two, with showers on and off all day, including some particularly heavy storms in the mid-afternoon. It's not the worst I've seen it here (I recall one year when the tents leaked at their seams, sending publishers scrambling to get the stock out of the way) but it is raining just hard enough to be annoying. You sort of have to really want to go to another location, which leads to a lot of people standing around not doing much.

Crowds are definitely down. The Bulle New York (with the smaller, cooler publishers) is solid busy but by no means overcrowded. People stand around with the usual exchanges: what's worth buying? What's worth seeing? I've picked up fewer books than is typical for me, but I also need to hit a bank machine. I'll probably do most of my own shopping tomorrow.

As for the shows, I still have a couple to go to but nothing is setting the world on fire. The Jean-C Denis presidential show at the Hotel St Simon is about the smallest I've ever seen (I guess, technically, Trondheim's was smaller, as he moreorless refused to have one...). His pages are super-polished, with so little evidence of reworking I first thought that they might just be enlargements. They're not, they're just that slick. This has led to a number of conversations about the fact that super-polished original comics art is kind of dull in comparison to a Spiegelman, Kurtzman, Herge, Ware -- people whose pages show a lot of their process and provide a new perspective. Uderzo's work is super clean as well, so the two big shows have that in common.

Definitely a flat-feeling show at the moment, with nothing really very memorable. The highlight for me on the first day was the OuBaPo Show, featuring Francois Ayroles, Etienne Lecroart, Alex Baladi, Andreas Kundig, Matt Madden, Lewis Trondheim and others displaying innovative and experimental comics techniques. I will never look at the feet in a Largo Winch comic the same way again!


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posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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