I’m finishing up my new graphic novel called Ex Libris. I’ve got some irons in the fire but I’m not ready to announce any publishers yet. It’s an exciting and strange book and I can’t wait to share it with you.
In the meantime, here’s a little teaser in the form of a single-page “comic-within-a-comic” followed by some notes about the circuitous route this comic took before ending up in my book:
It’s worth pointing out that this comic does not represent the actual style or register of the rest of the book as a whole. To illustrate, here’s a detail from the page leading up to the comic you just read (you can see it peeking out from the last panel) which gives you an idea of the “default” style of the book:
This page has an interesting history. It originated as a response to a call for entries to an Oubapian project directed by Étienne Lécorart. He shared a schema for a comics page that I had to follow while creating a story to fit in and around its layout and “stage” directions.
I was already well into developing Ex Libris when I drew the original page for Mon Lapin and once I hit on the idea of a character trying to escape a comics page, I realized I could re-purpose it for my book. I’m always happy to find ways to re-use stuff not only because very few people get a chance to read the short stories I publish in more-or-less obscure anthologies, but because it can be rewarding to stick a page into a new context and see how it takes on new meanings and inflections. For example, not only did I put this page into my book but I also drew four more pages of it, further imagining them to be excerpted from the 1,000-page graphic novel shown above!
Looking back, I think the first time I became aware of that practice was in MAUS, where art spiegelman reprints his powerful nightmare comic “Prisoner on the Hell Planet” which had previously appeared in his Breakdowns collection. I was struck by the contrast in style but also by the meta-fictional notion of inserting one comic into another comic world. Later on, Dylan Horrocks did amazing work with these conceits in Hicksville, a big influence on Ex Libris.
Have you ever repurposed older work and found interesting new uses for it?