Antonin Baudry is the French government’s Cultural Counselor, based out of New York City. He is the author (pseudonym of Abel Lanzac), with cartoonist Christophe Blain, of the graphic novel, “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy.” This is a work of fiction that provides an insightful look at how, amid what can appear as utter chaos, great things can be accomplished. Baudry was part of the staff of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and helped in crafting speeches including the French position to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As a work of fiction, this book provides a unique window in a similar spirit to “The West Wing” and goes it one better with its distinctive vision, timeless quality, and wry sense of humor.
Category Archives: French Comics
Interview: Antonin Baudry and ‘Weapons of Mass Diplomacy’
Filed under Antonin Baudry, Christophe Blain, Comics, European Comics, France, French Comics, graphic novels, Interviews, movies
Movie Review: The French Minister
If you are interested in an intriguing movie based on a work in comics besides “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” you will want to see “The French Minister.” This comedy could be your window to offbeat political satire and French comics all rolled into one.
Filed under Comics, France, French Comics, Movie Reviews, movies, Paris, politics
Angoulême 2014: What to See (Live Stream Video)
Here is a look at what you can expect to see at this year’s Angoulême Comics Festival, which runs from January 30 thru February 2. Just grab a croissant and kick back and watch some of the proceedings.
The festival has since cut off its live feed. For a long stretch, try this link here.
From press material for the Angoulême Comics Festival 2014:
Angoulême 2014: ComiXology presents Joe Keatinge’s French Comic Picks
ComiXology is making a big splash at this year’s Festival de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême. In connection with being a part of the Angoulême Comics Festival, which runs from January 30 thru February 2, ComiXology presents some top picks in French comics selected by Joe Keatinge (writer on such titles as TECH JACKET DIGITAL, BATMAN INC. SPECIAL, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN). ComiXology is proud to present a fine selection of French comics. You can read Keatinge’s thoughts about some of his favorite titles (all available at ComiXology) here.
Filed under Angoulême, Angoulême Comics Festival, Bande Dessinée, Comics, Comixology, French Comics
2014 Angoulême Review: HOW THE WORLD WAS by Emmanuel Guibert
The 2014 Angoulême Comics Festival, being held in Angoulême, France, is just around the corner: January 30th through February 2nd. As one of Europe’s most premiere comic book events, the Angoulême Festival helps set the tone for the rest of the year in comics. One of the selections featured this year is “L’enfance d’Alan,” published by L’Association. It is by Emmanuel Guibert and chronicles the life of his friend growing up in California in the years prior to World War II. It seems quite appropriate to provide this advance review of the first American edition, entitled, “How The World Was: A California Childhood,” translated by Kathryn Pulver, published by First Second Books.
It is a wonderful little miracle each time a life’s story is so vividly brought to life in comics. Cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert created “Alan’s War,” a graphic novel about his friend’s time as a soldier in World War II. For this new graphic novel, he turns the focus over to Alan’s childhood in California. And he does a most interesting thing. He lets Alan’s voice be heard with a deft balance of word and picture. Guibert lets the words breathe by providing them with all the room they need. These are, after all, delicate and quiet reflections and they require a certain tone.
Much of the story is told directly by Alan. His narration is predominant. We only need a smattering of word balloons on some pages. Guibert manages the tempo by alternating layouts: cinematic storyboard, grid sequence, tableau, scrapbook vignette. On one page, he has Alan recalling his grandfather’s habit of spreading out his magazines during his routine lounging. As part of that, he depicts the old man as a magazine cover portrait. This is all in the service of spinning a good yarn.
Ultimately, this book lives up to its title. Guibert, with a gentle and consistent vision, provides us with a sense of how the world was. This is Alan’s childhood and we’ve been provided a portal back in time to view it. Like anyone’s life it has its struggles, drama, and pain. But we never get pushed out of the story by melodrama. This is an honest depiction, almost as if a camera were left rolling while Alan recollects as well as rolling directly upon key moments in his life. It is left to Guibert to give it shape, and therefore bring out its meaning, and that he does.
“How The World Was” is a 160-page book, priced at $19.99, and will be released by First Second on August 12, 2014. Visit First Second here.
The Angoulême Comic Festival celebrates its 41st year, having first debuted in 1974. It is now the second largest comic book convention in the world, with more than 200,000 visitors attending each year. Numerous prestigious awards are granted during the four-day festival, known as the Le Palmares Officiel du Festival, covering a wide range of categories, including “Best Album,” “Angoulême Essentials,” and the “Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême,” which is awarded to a living creator in honor of their lifetime achievement.
For more information about the Angouleme Comics Festival, visit here.
Review: BUT I REALLY WANTED TO BE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST… BY MARGAUX MOTIN
Do you like to keep up with comics from France? Do you enjoy lighthearted wit and a decidedly chic perspective on everyday life? Then you’ll want to check out this collection of comics by Margaux Motin, “But I Really Wanted to be an Anthropolist…” Translated by Edward Gauvin, this often raucous, always hilarious, book loses nothing in translation. Margaux is a girl who likes to have fun. She has a passion for music, fashion and partying and zero tolerance for body hair beyond her neatly kept tresses. She claims to harbor a desire to be an anthropologist but the closest she has come are speculations on why pygmies might enjoy high heels. She admits she was really meant to be an illustrator because she’s too lazy for anything else. But her life is far from just being a party zone. She is married to a nice man and they’re raising a little girl. How she manages to juggle it all is the material for her blog you can view here. Ms. Motin has managed to find just the right balance in her comics with her uninhibited take on life.
Ms. Motin’s alter ego in her comic is constantly at odds with her party girl self and being a mom. She teaches her little girl the importance of wearing pretty red panties since you never know if you may get hit by a truck and need to go to the hospital. After attempting to get validation from anyone she can find, she asks her daughter, “Do you think my breasts are too small?” She is easily at the mercy of her vanity and can think of nothing else but how to pressure her husband into buying her a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes for her 30th birthday. Their Paris apartment is completely plastered with messages and photographs demanding that these shoes be her b-day gift.
Considering how shallow Mr. Motin’s alter ego can be, it’s refreshing to see how well the whole book holds up. Comics and fashion don’t always mix. In this case, the elegantly drawn images and carefully paced jokes add up to a delightful combination. With some of her antics, you sometimes will cringe and wonder if she’s gone too far in the same manner as the two drunken ladies from “Absolutely Fabulous.” But, then, she comes in for a safe landing, her perfectly pedicured feet firmly planted in a new pair of Louis Vuitton. What really saves her work is herself. Ms. Motin has a perfect sense of humor and can lay claim, as she suggests at the end of this book, to being the Sarah Silverman of comics.
“But I Really Wanted to be an Anthropologist…” is published by Self Made Hero. This hardcover is $24.99 in the US. Visit Self Made Hero and learn more about their wonderful books.
Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, France, French Comics, graphic novels, Margaux Motin, Paris, Self Made Hero
Review: ‘Weapons of Mass Diplomacy’ by Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain
Speaking truth to power. That’s a good thing. Needless to say, it gets rather complicated when it is in the form of an official statement or formal speech. In fact, speaking truth to power is not something you expect to hear at the highest levels of government. However, from time to time, there are those in power who actually do try to make a difference. In “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy,” we have a graphic novel that is a hilarious political satire and gives us the heroic story of the French Foreign Minister attempting to prove the pen to be mightier than the sword.
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Filed under Comics, European Comics, France, French Comics, Geopolitics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels
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