Kind Words for Blutch’s So Long, Silver Screen

February 26th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Cover design by David Mazzuchelli

Cover design by David Mazzuchelli

At UK site Comics Review, Win Wiacek has this to say about Blutch’s So Long, Silver Screen, out last year from Brooklyn-based PictureBox:

This lyrical, declamatory, harshly imaginative and lyrically introspective collection of short tales – as much stern self-analysis as autobiographical exploration – by pre-eminent cartoonist and illustrator Blutch examines the creator’s relationship to and lifelong shaping by the magic of celluloid fantasies and the mythical icons who made and populated them.

Challenging, enticing and genuinely thought-provoking, this delicious cartoon voyage with a keenly enquiring companion – who has all of the questions but so few answers – is a sheer joy that no grown-up fan of graphic narratives and motion pictures can afford to miss.

Sadly, PictureBox shut its doors at the end of last year. It was a fine publisher of beautiful books, and will be missed.

This Friday at AWP

February 25th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I will be on the following panels this Friday morning, 2/28, at the Associated Writing Programs 2014 Conference in Seattle, WA:

See you there!

What Ho, Châteaureynaud!

February 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Cover art by Marcela Bolivar

Cover art by Marcela Bolivar

Exotic Gothic 5, edited by Danel Olson, which came out last year from PS Publishing, recently made Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading List. It contains Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s story “The Open Mirror,” which Mario Guslandi at SF Site called

“a delightful supernatural tale with a spicy touch of eroticism first published in French and here translated into English by Edward Gauvin.”

UK Cover

UK Cover

Châteaureynaud’s “The Gulf of the Years,” which originally appeared in the 2010 Small Beer collection A Life on Paper, was reprinted in Ann & Jeff VanderMeer’s colossal anthology, The Time Traveler’s Almanac.


Why Words Without Borders Is Still The Best of Its Kind

February 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


This post is unpremeditated. Had I planned it, I’d probably have been able to supply better reasons, or more thoroughgoing argumentation, or even anticipate objections to my reasons, and shut those down.

I was going to post about my latest blog piece there, “Tintin in the Land of Foreign Affairs,” about the experience of working on Weapons of Mass Diplomacy by Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain, a graphic novel forthcoming from UK indie stalwart SelfMadeHero this May. But instead, I found myself feeling very grateful for my long, fruitful working relationship with Words Without Borders, and listing my purely personal, sometimes honorable, occasionally venal reasons for loving it.


It was the first.

It is truly global in scope.

It does comics every year.

It does an LGBT issue every year.

It sees to the permissions process for translators.

It pays for those rights.

It pays translators.

Just sayin’, is all.

13 years of bringing you world literature, going on 14! Consider giving today.

H.V. Chao in The Red Line’s Best of 2013

February 20th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


H.V. Chao’s “The Scene” is among the twelve selections in The Red Line’s Best of 2013 anthology. In the preface editor Stephen Lynch says:

One of the things that always draws us to a story is a strong voice and tangible sense of place. Both of these were evident in two selections from the Excess issue: Rush by Bear Weiter and H. V. Chao’s The Scene. We loved the rich atmosphere in both stories and how a sense of desperation and hyper-activity threatens to overwhelm the central characters.

More Praise for Peeters’ Pachyderme

February 18th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


From Jared Gardner at Guttergeek:

Peeters is a reminder of something I talk about at some length in a recent piece at Public Books: the fact that living, as we do, in a relatively golden age of Franco-Belgian comics in translation serves only to remind us how much amazing work still remains inaccessible to English readers. Aside from the translation of Peeters’ 2001 book and his collaborative work with Pierre Wazem on Koma, we have little sense of the Swiss cartoonist’s career on this side of the Atlantic (and Koma, a dizzying and moving dystopian fantasy, received shockingly little attention when Humanoids published an English edition in 2012). Fortunately, SelfMade Hero is going to change all that, having picked up the English-language rights to his celebrated sci-fi series Aama, already out in the UK and making its way to these shores in the spring.

In the meantime, however, there is more than enough to bring stateside readers up to speed with the range and talent of this cartoonist, whose Blue Pills, engaging as it was, now looks a bit like juvenilia in comparison…

The book is a testament to the power of graphic storytelling. But it is also a declaration of an artist who has arrived at the height of his powers and is, like his protagonist, ready to show of the full strength of his artistry.

Henry Chamberlain at Comics Grinder:

An elegant young woman struggles her way out of a horrific accident and finds herself in a strange world. Thus begins the new graphic novel by Frederik Peeters, “Pachyderme,” published by SelfMadeHero. Peeters borrows from David Lynch’s dreamlike narrative style, specifically his landmark film, “Mulholland Drive,” and creates something wholly original and worthy of comparison. It’s not your typical reference. It’s more of a tapping into a similar wavelength or molding from the same clay…

If you gave one hundred cartoonists the assignment of somehow riffing on David Lynch and going on to create their own mesmerizing work, you would get a lot of interesting results, no doubt. Let “Pachyderme” lead the way. This 88-page full color graphic novel is a keeper you’ll enjoy with every new read…

Drawn in a very confident and fluid style, the artwork of Frederik Peeters is a joy to behold. He is truly a remarkable artist/writer.

Sylvain Jouty in Alpinist Magazine

February 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


My translation of Sylvain Jouty’s “The Wall” is now out in the latest issue of the climbing magazine Alpinist, Winter 2014 (available in hard copy or online to subscribers only). It’s the first piece in the Climbing Life section. I’m really happy to have found a home for this non-traditional story in a non-traditional venue, where I hope the austere ethos it derives from its vision of the world as a vertical rockface will be welcomed by readers who are themselves mountain enthusiasts. Jouty wears his literary influences (the usual suspects: Borges, Calvino) lightly, melding these with his own experience as a climber. Here’s an excerpt:

The Wall: this is what we call the world.

Our scholars and priests have given us (sometimes contradictory) reasons for the Earth’s verticality, but for us, it has the force of plain fact. From birth, from the first day our mothers carry us on their backs, until the day when we have no more strength to hang on to the holds—as with me, today—our entire existence unfolds above a never-ending void. Once we’ve accepted its sting and its temptation, the Wall provides for all our needs. It feeds, waters, shelters and even cheers us. And we’d hardly have any reasons to complain if it weren’t for the vertical horizon that both attracts and repels. Yes, the void is indeed the crucial question of our lives, the great riddle our scholars debate, the moral axis of our existence, which we attempt, no doubt vainly, to escape with an ascent that we wish to believe just as infinite…. The void saw us born; it watches us climb, live and die; it will greet us with indifference on the day we die and serve as our only grave; it alone likely knows the final meaning and ultimate goal of our quest. It’s no wonder that some hope, by willingly letting it swallow them, to find a revelation that life refuses to give.

Born in 1949, Sylvain Jouty is the author of five novels and a biography of Hungarian Tibetologist Sándor Kőrösi Csoma. An avid mountaineer, he has published more than a dozen books on mountains and climbing, including several reference works, and for fifteen years, he served as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Alpinisme et Randonée. His three books of short fiction have won several awards, including the Prix Renaissance and the Grand Prix de la Société des gens de lettres. He is a member of the contemporary French fabulist movement La Nouvelle Fiction. His work has been translated into Russian, Spanish, Italian, and German.

I’ll Be Reading Next Tuesday

February 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

February 18th, 2014, at La Movida Wine Bar & Community Kitchen (3066 24th Street, San Francisco, California 94110) in James Warner’s InsideStorytime Event, 7-9 pm.
The theme is “Innards.” I can’t believe Mr. Warner took me seriously when I suggested that.
The event will feature wrecker of ten million galaxies Tim Pratt (Antiquities and Tangibles and Other Stories), Chechen hand Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena), ex-model memoirist Meghan Ward (Runway), and Marin chronicler Susanna Solomon (Point Reyes Sheriff’s Notes). MCd by emissary from another dimension James Warner (All Her Father’s Guns).
Check it out!

I Have Now Translated 100+ Comics

February 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


I did an official count, and sometime last year, I officially broke 100 in terms of the number of French graphic novels I have translated (am currently at 103). Some of these are still in production, so the actual published count is probably in the low 90s. This doesn’t count excerpts for periodicals like Words Without Borders.

What constitutes a “graphic novel”? I know, I know, this nomenclature is despite being widely suffered, still warmly contested. This count was based on source materials: i.e., if a French series was released in 3 volumes in France, but published as a single book in English, I counted it as 3 books. Conversely, if a single French book was split into 2 or more floppy issues in English, I counted it as 1 book.

The 100 looks more impressive in the original French, since they were mostly large hardcovers. Take the series The Secret History, for example, of which I’ve done 20 books to date: in French, each installment is a volume, hence a “graphic novel” unto itself, but due to packaging as a slightly thicker floppy with nicer cover stock, American readers are unlikely to consider it more than a single issue, hardcover trade collections of which might be deemed graphic novels (the relative completeness of story inside, or lack thereof, is another topic altogether).

Terra Australis now out in the UK

February 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

New from SelfMadeHero:

Terra Australis UK cover

Based on the real-life voyage of discovery of Admiral Arthur Phillip, who became the first Governor of New South Wales and founder of Sydney, Terra Australis is a dramatic historical account tracing the First Fleet’s epic seven-month journey, from its departure from London in 1787 to the early attempts at establishing a new settlement.

Fifteen hundred men and women were crammed aboard 11 ships sailing to the other side of the planet. Most were convicts, sentenced to transportation for crimes against the crown, and banished to exile. Having travelled over 24,000 km across three oceans, enduring mutiny, disease and perilous weather conditions, they arrived at a country that did not yet exist. For some it was a one-way trip to hell; for others, it proved an unexpected chance of a new life.

Written by LF Bollée, drawn by Philippe Nicloux, and published to coincide with Admiral Phillip’s bicentenary, this is a 500-page cinematic-scale epic that moves from the festering squalor of Newgate prison to the claustrophobic confines of the ships and the natural beauty of Botany Bay. The narrative and illustrations flow with expressionistic drama, highlighting the social climate of the late 18th century, and depicting the characters and landscapes in equal detail.

Bollée has maintained a life-long fascination for Australia and began working on the five-year project in 2007. His research drew on a wealth of reference books and personal accounts from the period, giving added authenticity to the project. Many of Phillip’s officers are featured, including diarist Lieutenant Ralph Clark, Lieutenant-General Watkin Tench, who published accounts of that first settlement, and Major Robert Ross, governor of Norfolk Island. True historical figures such as Bennelong, the first indigenous person to be taught English, and French botanist La Perouse are interwoven into the drama along with stories of real-life convicts including young thief John Hudson and Caribbean-born John Caesar.


LF Bollée is a journalist who has written over 40 graphic novels. Fascinated by Australia, he began working on Terra Australis in December 2007. He is also the author of XIII Mystery, a spin off from the world-renowned XIII saga. He lives in Versailles, France.

Philippe Nicloux is from Nice, France. He has published three graphic novels – Rashomon, Otomi, and Tropique De L’agneau (published by Les Enfants Rouges).

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