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A Moment Of Respite, Courtesy Of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin

The latest atrocity has struck, and in the interests of not devolving into a gibbering puddle of rage, we hack webcomics pseudojournalists will not be trying to find meaning in the meaningless. We will, however, take a moment to name those actual journalists who were lost for the crime of truth-telling, earning enmity of powerful and the petty, both equally unhinged.

  • Rob Hiaasen
  • Wendi Winters
  • Gerald Fischman
  • John McNamara
  • Rebecca Smith

Remember their names. And yes, nitpickers, Smith worked in sales. Doesn’t matter.

And now, so that something can make sense, we turn the post over to Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, who lives in a society where weapons laws are not a godsdamned disgrace.


Today, we are going to look at a creator without equivalent among crowdfunded creators in the French-speaking world.

For more than one year now, Yatuu has been working independently of any publisher, substituting publisher advances with revenue from her Tipeee page, that she manages like a recurring, monthly crowdfunding campaign just like Team Maliki does (complete with illustration available as an ex-libris that changes from month to month).

But, while encouraged towards going that way by Team Maliki itself, she is not doing it for the exact same reasons. The current overproduction crisis in French bandes dessinées, while it hurts the revenues of individual creators, does mean it is relatively easy to get published … in general. But as Yatuu explains in her Doubts (French-only, but pretty expressive), when she tried to present her latest project to a publisher, an heroic fantasy saga, he was OK to go with it … in one volume.

And even getting to start a multi-volume series is no guarantee either, as she relates the story of a fellow creator who had to cut short her story with an improvised ending in volume 3, as there would be no volume 4: the publisher wouldn’t approve it. Without this being an isolated case. Quick aside: while I try not to eavesdrop in comics festivals, I can confirm I have heard this kind of conversation between creators and readers on multiple occasions

Of course, money is an issue too: she observed that it was only after about five years as a professional that she finally earned out on a book and started getting royalty checks; meaning that while in theory creators are only paid by royalties, nowadays royalties are earned so slowly that creators end up making a living solely on advances which are rarely completely recouped, making a mockery of the system.

So she said: screw that. She is going to make her project as she wants it developed, and only readers will get to decide if it keeps going or not … in practice, by contributing to her Tipeee: If they keep doing so, she will have the funding to work on it.

This project, Erika et les princes en détresse (French only, though the title really needs no translation) is interesting in itself; it keeps exploring her favorite themes of gender and gender expectations, but this time in a completely fictional, fantasy setting (with all the world building that implies) rather than the fictionalized setting of junior high in Sasha or the autobio stories of Pas mon genre (untranslatable play between “Not My Gender” and “Not My Style”).

This is all the more risky as there is no punchline at the end of updates, no self-contained story: it is only rewarding in the long run; while other such French-language online comics exist, she was the first to try and make a living with such a story. Not to mention she’s had doubts and hesitations along the way: for instance in the middle of the story she decided to switch to (almost) black and white updates, because she was not satisfied with how fast she could draw the story compared to how far ahead she was thinking about it.

But what is most interesting to me is her behind-the-scenes updates where she gives a frank, raw look at her doubts and fears and anxieties, reminiscent of our favorite mechanical engineer; here for instance for the process of deciding to crowdfund the paper collection. Furthermore, we can see on another occasion that she had to overcome internalized inhibitions about it being “dirty” to discuss money with readers.

Personally, her materializing her character Erika to give her a kick in the ass to get moving speaks to me; anyone who think I am spontaneously outgoing or organized or eager to get around to recontact people (for a promised interview, for accreditation, etc.) is sorely mistaken … but the Ideal of Pseudojournalism keeps me going.

In short, she is definitely worth keeping an eye on (maybe one day I’ll convince her to have her work be translated¹). The first collection of Erika et les princes en détresse is now funding on Ulule]( for a few hours still, if you are interested.


Many thanks to FSFCPL, and for those that either want to work on their French, or just like helping creators out, Yatuu’s Tipeee may be found here, and will accept your largesse even after the close of the Ulule campaign.

Spam of the day:

I have a project that I would like to execute with you. This is going to favour two of us. Kindly confirm your willingness to partner with me so that I can furnish you with full details of the project.

I’m sorry, attempts to swindle money from me are only accepted between the hours of 11:43am and 11:44am, on alternate Thursdays in months with an “r” in them, and only when accompanied by the appropriate form 27b-stroke-6. Please take your proposal, and the associated forms, fold them until they are all sharp corners, and insert them into your excretory passage of choice. We’ll be along to assist you approximately never.

¹The name of her squire may be significant in English, though. It would certainly match her description.

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