Superdupont: The Revival

November 26th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Superdupont

This was one of those assignments that had me scratching my head. Superdupont is a beloved French figure, but as a caricature of indefatigable Gallic redneckery, seemed basically an inside joke for the hexagonal nation, and not particularly exportable. Stranger still, Europecomics decided to go with a 2015 reboot from artist François Boucq, with script help from Marcel Gotlib and Karim Belkrouf, rather than the character’s 1972 debut from original creators Marcel Gotlib (a mainstay of humor cartooning) and Jacques Lob (the writer of Snowpiercer), who made it a classic in the pages of Pliote and Fluide Glacial. But foreign rights move in mysterious ways.

As a result, little time is spent reacquainting readers with the title character. Instead, the story revolves around the kidnapping of his newborn son. The French subtitle was Renaissance; my initial suggestion of “Rebirth” was rebuffed. I can see why they went with “Revival,” though in retrospect I think the right (and obvious) choice was Superdupont: The Reboot.

Superdupont, son of the unknown soldier buried under the Arc de Triomphe, affectionately ribs all the vieille France, Gaullist values of the generation preceding his creators. Patriotic, chauvinist, potbellied, gourmand, a champion of good living, fine reds, and French cheese, he can often be found in cape and beret striking a Superman-type pose in the three colors of the national flag, a baguette of bread under one arm. He smokes Gauloises, sports carpet slippers (charentaises), and—but of course!—is an expert in that martial art of Marseille sailors, French kickboxing, or savate. His nemesis is a secret terrorist organization called “Anti-France,” whose agents—all foreigners, naturally—speak the fictional gibberish Anti-Français, a mishmash of English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Meant to mock hick xenophobia, this aspect would seem to take on new topicality in the era of the National Front. I didn’t really find that in the story, though I did appreciate its onomatopoeia cannon, reifying the heard word into menacing (comedic) presence.

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Sound effects in comics are inherently if not hopelessly dual in nature: at once textual and pictorial, visual and aural, diegetic and non-. Making words meant to mimic sound into material projectiles and forcing characters to confront them maintains that duality.

The unique and truly French super hero is back, like a phoenix from the ashes, to save France once again and to restore it to greatness in a world going to the dogs. Superdupont’s reboot gets a kick-start with the birth of his son who, astonishingly, has inherited the supernatural powers of his father. Perhaps together they can finally bring down the enemies of their wonderful homeland!

This graphic novel is now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

OUT NOW: Casati, The Selfish Muse

November 25th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

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Vissi d’arte! Luisa, the beautiful and extravagant Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino (1881–1957), with her leashed leopards and live boa boas, was many things: heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts, celebrity, and epitome of the female dandy. She died penniless and alone in Knightsbridge, her name misspelled on a headstone that read, ”Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” Italian comics artist Vanna Vinci, author of acclaimed children’s books and biographies for adults of Frida Kahlo and Tamara de Lempicka applies her lurid, vibrant style to Luisa’s life. At Women Write About Comics, Ginnis Tonik praises Vinci, saying

she shows a skill for deftly balancing honesty without condemnation, Casati is a lovely addition to the fashion lover’s library. I wish this book wasn’t only in digital form as it makes for a great coffee table piece for the fashion geek.

This graphic novel biography is now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

I Will Be at Skylight Books Tonight

November 6th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

skylight

Tonight kicks off the Eyes Full of Empty tour with author Jérémie Guez. I will be appearing with Guez and crime great James Ellroy at Skylight Books.

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From France’s hottest young crime writer, comes a hardboiled noir with the pace of a Chandler novel and the French Algerian literary legacy of Camus.

Idir is not your typical Parisian detective. The son of an Algerian immigrant who made good, Idir’s middle class upbringing places him at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to his rich friends from university, while his street smarts make him just intimidating enough to handle the secret problems of Paris’s elite. Put another way, Idir knows precisely how much pressure to exert on behalf of his wealthy clients, while keeping things low profile. That is, until Oscar Crumley, a powerful media mogul, hires Idir to find his missing younger half-brother, Thibaut. Sent on a wild goose chase through highs and lows of the Paris underground, Idir must navigate upper crust treachery and entrenched criminal rings to discover the truth. Echoing the headlong impulsiveness of Chandler’s Marlowe, and deftly translated by Edward Gauvin, Eyes Full of Empty introduces us to an entirely new kind of Parisian mystery.

Jěrěmie Guez was born in Paris in 1988 and has been hailed as the rising star of contemporary French noir. His two previous novels, Balanceě dans les cordes and Paris la unit, were awarded the 2013 SNCF du Polar and 2012 Plume Libre prizes, respectively.Eyes Full of Empty is the highly anticipated first English translation of Jěrěmie Guez’s work. He lives in Paris.

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz,and the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood’s A Rover. These seven novels have won numerous honors and were international best sellers. His newest novel, Perfidia, is the first novel of the Second L.A. Quartet, Ellroy’s fictional history of Los Angeles during World War II.

Event info:
Friday, November 6, 2015 – 7:30pm
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Eyes

I Will Be Reading Tonight in LA

November 5th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Loudest Voice
I will be reading from my own fiction tonight at the first Loudest Voice reading of the year, November 5 @ 7:30 PM at Pop-Hop Books! The USC reading series will feature some amazing current students as well as out-of-towners. I’m delighted and flattered to be in their company:

Christine Kanownik is the author of the forthcoming KING OF PAIN by Monk Books. She lives and works in New York.

Dexter L. Booth  is the author of Scratching the Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by Major Jackson and was a Finalist for the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in Poetry, as well as a finalist for the 2014 L.A. Leimert Park Book Fair’s Jessie Redmon Fauset Award. Booth is included in the anthology The Best American Poetry 2015 (edited by Sherman Alexie) and his poems appear in BlackbirdThe Southeast Review, Ostrich Review, Grist, Willow Springs, Bat City Review, Virginia Quarterly, and other publications. Dexter currently a PhD candidate and Provost Fellow at the University of Southern California.

Yvette Siegert is a poet and translator based in New York. She has edited for The New Yorker and has taught at Columbia University, Baruch College and the 92nd Street Y. Her writing has appeared in many publications, most recently in Aufgabe, Boston Review, St. Petersburg Review, Stonecutter, The Literary Review and The New Yorker, and her work has received recognition from PEN/New York State Council on the Arts, the Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts.

OUT NOW: The Invisible Lesbian

November 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Invisible Lesbian

In The Invisible Lesbian, singer, director, and performer Océane-Rose-Marie brings her 2008 hit one-woman show of the same name, about a young woman discovering her sexuality, to the graphic novel form, in collaboration with her theatrical director Murielle Magellan and noted artist Sandrine Revel, an Angoulême prizewinner.

This graphic novel is now available as a digital exclusive from Delcourt at Comixology.

Oceanerosemarie has been attracted to women from a young age. For some reason, no one will believe she’s a lesbian, not even other lesbians. Is she too feminine? She does love women, but she also loves lipstick and pretty flowery dresses.
From a women’s soccer club to the ultra-trendy nightclub “Le Pulp”, she explores and decodes the stereotypes associated with lesbians–and she doesn’t spare the heteros either!
Well-written and miles away from the usual clichés, a funny and compelling graphic novel.

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