The webcomics blog about webcomics

From Our BD Desk

"Crayon", they said. Right. Photo by FSFCPL. Click to embiggen.

Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin¹, as noted earlier in the week, spent some time prowling the recent Lyon BD, and he’s brought an extensive recap. Pret-ty sure that there’s no other webcomics blog this side of the world with a report from Lyon (or anyplace else in France), so be sure to share with your friends. Take it away, FSFCPL!

The Lyon city hall is a very nice place.

This is in fact not the usual location for Lyon BD, but with the French general elections, which happened the same weekend, preventing the use of the Palais du Commerce where it usually takes place, it had to find a backup location, and kudos for the city council of Lyon, and in particular the mayor, Gérard Collomb, for opening the city hall for use by the festival.

And so that is where your correspondent found himself in Friday morning to attend the first day of Lyon BD festival. The public was not allowed yet, reserving that day for interactions between creators, publishers, booksellers, students, and other professionals, including journalists. For instance, a number of publishers were set up with tables in a dedicated room so that students could come get feedback and inquire about opportunities; but KissKissBankBank also had a table there, for instance.

Additionally, most of the exhibitions were already set up, so it was possible to visit them while not too busy with everything else that would be happening the following days. And of course, there were panels on matters of interest to the comics community. Most of the booth space, however, would be in a tent on the neighboring plaza, which was still being set up.

Highlights of the day:

  • A panel on the interactions between museums and comics. In particular, a representative from the Centre Pompidou emphasized that it housed more than a museum of modern art, and in particular a library which has of late presented a number of exhibitions, on Claire Brétécher and on Gaston Lagaffe for instance. They also touched a word on museums acquiring original art, exposing it, and in a few cases publishing comic works (e.g. around a fine art exhibition).
  • Inside the city hall, an exhibition of comic works from German creators. Germans read more comics, in particular French, than they produce, but they do produce some, and as part of an exchange with the Frankfurt 2017 book fair Lyon BD presented this exhibition of German creators, most of which were present in the festival.

    I had already heard of Mawil through Safari Plage (which itself was pointed to me by Tim), but the others were new to me, and I would get to meet them the following day (except Mawil, who was not present). The exhibition will go to the Goethe Insitut in Lyon now the festival is over, so you can still catch it until September 14th. As part of the collaboration, the involved creators are creating comics to present French and German culture which are being posted in a dedicated site, including in English.

  • An exhibition [PDF] centered on Understanding Comics at the Lyon Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication a few blocks away. Organized around excerpted chapters from Scott McCloud7rsquo;s œuvre (it would be impossible to cover it all in a reasonable space), the exhibition illustrates concepts from the book (time and sequence, page construction, etc.) using French-Belgian comics (and a few others), notably Blacksad from Diaz Canales and Guarnido (as Boulet writes, #IMComingBackTonightWithACrowbar).

    The last room deals with digital comics and excerpts from Reinventing Comics instead. A must visit. It remains there until September the 20th, so if you are in Lyon for any reason, check it out².

  • A panel with Lisa Mandel and Matthieu Sapin, on how they work with the raw material they turn into comics. Both creators have used comics as a way to report on current events, for Mandel on the life and evacuation of the Calais migrant camp, and for Sapin on the life in the Elysée for a few months during the presidency of François Hollande.
  • A panel on graphic novels with McCloud, Yannick Lejeune, and Reinhard Kleist, specifically trying to tell what they are. Lejeune, an editor at Delcourt, provided examples more than a definition, starting with Tardi and Pratt in the 70s, followed by a renaissance in the 90s, starting with Satrapi’s Persepolis. Kleist, one of the invited German creators, told he uses “graphic novel” more as a container in particular for his own work, because he finds the word “comic” (used in German as well) as being inappropriate to represent his work, which is anything but funny.

    McCloud emphasized that, in the US, the expression “graphic novel” was a weapon meant not so much to add meaning than to escape the baggage of the word “comics”; he told he considers it all comics, while recognizing that the expression can be useful. On the matter of what they are, he said that while you always see the artifices of comics, a graphic novel for him is one that is deep and long enough that you end up losing yourself in the story and not noticing them any more.

    This is my favorite definition, because while his introduction of graphic novels in Reinventing was strictly in the context of US comics, now this definition is workable for Euro comics, and manga as well. After introducing myself, I told him as much during the opening ceremony for Lyon BD that followed a few minutes later.

  • During the reception that followed the opening, getting to chat with Phiip, local creator, host of many French webcomics and publisher of even more, about crowdfunding and its impact on comics publishing and self-publishing.

As always, Fleen thanks Lebeaupin for his contributions.


Spam of the day:

Ich habe hier mein Sofa im Test online gefunden.

A discussion of a sofa in German? I suspect that either Rich Stevens or Brett Porter is trolling me. In which case: Bravo, gentlemen.

_______________
¹ Who, I should note is now the first person besides yours truly authorized to carry a Fleen business card (complete with a rendering of our masthead mascot by Meredith Gran). You’re officially a pixel-stained wretch, FSFCPL!

² The permanent collections are also worth checking out, including this bit. The caption reads: Crayon drawing This portrait drawn in crayon by the celebrated caricaturist Gavarni is of particular interest. Comparing the proof with the stone it can be seen that a moustache has been added. This kind of alteration was made possible by a process developed by Godefroy Engelmann in the 1820s. The stone is in its final state, the proof from a previous state ‘before the moustache’.

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