[now updated with links galore and accents to boot]
After Angoulême, Jessica and I had a few days off in Paris before our bookstore signings. We went to the Centre Pompidou, which has a really great Hergé exhibit, advertised around the city with the iconic rocket (shown here hanging behind the space-age tubing of what is surely the greatest escalator ride on the planet–you can see all of Paris from the top):
The exhibit design was pretty thorough, including these great decals on the floor:
Along with the Hergé exhibit there was a small but very impressive exhibit called BD Reporters, featuring original comics and sketchbook pages from Loustal, Mattotti, Nicolas de Crécy and others. Here’s a glimpse of one of Baudoin’s “collage” pages:
The Joe Sacco section was particularly informative, showing a lot of photos, sketches and annotated scripts. Here are some photos of Soba followed by some early studies for the character design:
After a few days’ rest it was back to work. Jessica and I took the TGV down to Lyon to do a signing at Éxperience. Owners Jean-Louis and Nicolas were great hosts and fed us full of as many kinds of meat as they could stuff us with–I’m sorry I don’t have photos of them or their store, which is in the middle of downtown Lyon if you happen to be passing through. The walls and ceilings of the store are covered with drawings by artists as varied as Jeffrey Brown and Jose Muñoz. I added this little sketch to the mix (the Matt character is actually drawn on the ceiling):
Next day we came back to Paris for another signing, this time at a new and sure-to-become-legendary space called Le Mont-en-l’Air, in the newly-fashionable neighborhood of Ménilmontant:
Le Mont-en-l’Air is a comics and fanzine shop in the tradition of Quimby’s, See Hear, and Un Regard Moderne. Owner Guillaume, a retired acrobat and former employee of L’Association, uses the walls as gallery space. While we were there the walls were covered by drawings by Placid, whose demented cubist comics some of you may remember from Verre d’Eau, the last issue of Weirdo.
That night we went to a party at L’Association for Eprouvette #3 but I didn’t get any good photos out of it. I also arrived too late to meet two Oubapo members that were there early on, Anne Baraou and Étienne Lécroart. (I gave Menu a packet of some of my constrained comics work to distribute to all the Oubapo members so they can see what their US correspondent has been up to other than Exercises in Style). We chatted with Jerome Mulot and Florent Ruppert, the award winning co-authors of Panier de Singe and Safari Monseigneur. Turns out they have some kind of residency in Connecticut in April so you will likely be hearing more about them here soon. (You can read a translation of one of their stories via this link from Comics Reporter. It’s actually not one of my favorites of theirs but it gives you an idea of their idiosycratic use of word balloons and page layouts.)
Our last event in Paris was a signing the next day at one of the city’s best comics stores, Super Héros.
The previous two signings were not all that well-attended but this last event really made up for it as we whipped out the dédicaces and passionately discussed the state of modern comics with our host Christian acting as MC and provocateur (I felt like I was on a radio talk show at various points–someone should have been recording!).
We had dinner that last evening with Igort, Gipi, Alessandro from Canicola, and a few other stray Italians. It was a nice, low-key end to our ten-day trip. Igort is working on a crime story written by a well-known Italian author while at the same time overseeing the Ignatz series, including his own comic. Gipi is getting ready for a full US onslaught, with two books lined up at First Second coming out in the near future. By the end of the evening my adrenaline abruptly ran out, just in time to drag myself to the airport to come home.