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Lyon BD 2019: Day Three

[Editor’s note: Today, Fleen concludes the recap of last week’s bandes dessin&ecaute;es festival in Lyon, courtesy of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin.

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Lyon BD has always been an international festival, but it was particularly visible this year with the presence, hot off their appearance in NCSFest, of Charlie Adlard, Bill Morrison, and Steve and Luke McGarry, the latter of which was responsible for this edition’s poster. Their lines were packed whenever they were signing, unfortunately precluding me from meeting these big names, but I was able to meet other international creators such as Ariel Vittori and Natalie Nourigat on Sunday; I was especially interested in the latter’s I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation (which I ate up on the trip back, very interesting even though I has little relationship with my trade of software engineering, you should check it out), and we were able to chat and discuss differences between the Euro and North American comics signing systems, since she has experience with both. I also had Jim Jourdane sign his Fieldwork Fail: while not an international creator, his book is available in English, though it seems you’ll have to catch him to get a copy after his online store had to close.

Another Sunday highlight was the Badass (sic) exhibition: Sandrine Garage, who has been helping organize Lyon BD for some time already, took it upon herself to see whether there were now enough comic book heroines to be worth showcasing, 6 years after the first Héro-ïne-s exhibition, and there were. Rather than commission imaginary covers, she was able to showcase 10 actual, published comic book heroines that have in common that they don’t conform to stereotypes, including that of the strong female character: instead, they do what they want to do; one may be bold, while also being empathetic (and they made sure to display the pages showing that), while another heroine may be friendly to everyone while having a tendency to take responsibility to solve every single problem in the valley. Akissi and Aster were featured, but also Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl and Cece Bell’s El Deafo, giving it a worldwide scope. In between the various heroines, pages of Miron Malle’s comic book on feminism concepts, The League Of Super Feminists, were featured. However, they did solicit visitors in creating their own badass heroines, and they obliged.

But Sunday was most interesting for its interviews, beginning with that of Pénélope Bagieu. Of particular interest were these bits:

  • While she has to focus on one project at a time, she likes to alternate between personal projects and boring ones, the latter of which to allow her to recharge and remind her why she sets out to plunge on multi-year personal projects. In fact, at the end of a project she tends to be unable to work on much, trying to start new stories but failing, though by no mean remaining unoccupied as she devolves some time to the promotion of the just completed project (book tours, etc.), until such time as the sparks strikes again and she dives back in a new project.
  • No one has so far managed to publish Brazen in Arabic; the only publisher who was interested started demanding a long list of absurd changes which she gave up on reading halfway through, such as not showing women who smoke, at which point she told them she might as well remove all women and avoiding them the trouble of publishing the book. She did mention breasts having to be covered and the story of Phulan Devi having to be removed from the U.S. edition, explaining to the audience the particularity of the young adult positioning of the book in the U.S., in no small reason because comics books are still thought as being for children there and are hard to sell to adults, relating feedback such as I bought it for my daughter, and couldn’t believe I was enjoying it myself. But she was proud to mention she successfully fought back more meaningful censorship, such as when the Polish publisher wanted to remove any mention of abortion, while she refused, and she won as it ended up being published there without any cut in that regard. Ironically even when censorship happens there is no mention of it: the only disclaimer that was added to the U.S. version was a warning that elements in the books should not all be taken literally, due to the duality in the U.S. market of fiction/non-fiction and Brazen being sold as non-fiction, and the fear of fact-checkers coming e.g. for the campus restaurant background gag in Agnodice’s story. On the other hand while there was less censorship there Russia made sure to physically slap the book with a forbidden to minors badge, due to the references to homosexuality.
  • She is currently working on a comic book adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which she is very excited about: she takes it to be the best Roald Dahl book. The idea of a comic adaptation of a Roald Dahl book came from Dahl’s estate, which proposed it to Gallimard, their French publisher, and that is how she was proposed the job. However, Gallimard initially proposed adapting Matilda, and while she loves the book, its relative lack of action did not strike her as making it particularly suited for a comics adaptation (that, and people’s idea of the universe tend to be shaped by the 1996 movie, not to mention Quentin Blake’s illustrations), so she made a counter-proposal to Gallimard of adapting The Witches, which the Dahl estate accepted. It will simultaneously come out in French and English beginning of 2020, which means she’s glad it is going to beat the Zemeckis movie to market and not be taken to be the book of the movie.

Then later in the afternoon, as the last event of the day, it was Boulet’s turn to be interviewed in a similar setup, and … wait, what are these people queueing in the stairs for? Oh, come on, it can’t be for the room where the Boulet interview will take place, it’s too far!? Well, turns out that is what it was for that. I swear, I never intended for the Lyon BD festival to conclude with the sight of Boulet’s mile-long line to be a running gag, but here we are; except that in the case of a panel/interview/etc., it’s not that you have to wait hours for your turn, it’s that the room is full before you have a chance to enter. So I am unfortunately unable to report on anything that happened there. I’m going to have to start showing up 15 minutes early whenever Boulet is involved from now on …
[Editor’s note: Nobody tell him about the Hall H camp-out lines in San Diego.]


Spam of the day:

It’s 2019 and yes! you can now burn fat without exercising!

I do that all the time, unless you count trying to put out a grease flash on my stovetop as exercise.

Lyon BD 2019: Day Two

Editor’s note: Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin continues his reporting of the French comics festival scene.

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Setting up a festival of the scale of Lyon BD is never an easy task, but this year they had their work cut out for them. For instance, terror level in France as a whole has abated somewhat since 2017, when I first went; but the explosion of an abandoned package which wounded about a dozen people (they’re all out of the hospital by now) in the center of Lyon mere weeks before the event was undoubtedly responsible for heightened security: mainly, the need to show an ID before entering the main festival spaces on Saturday, and the need for tickets to be nominative, which was completely unplanned. As a result, at the ticket booth vendors had to manually write down the name of the attendee on the tickets, slowing down the sales process and lengthening the lines.¹

Given that context, my Saturday went remarkably well. I took advantage of the lack of panels in the morning to check out local creator Phiip and his Lapin crew (Marc Dubuisson, Cy, Tim, etc.), and catch up on their latest releases. Same with Thom Pico (who I met for the first time on this occasion, allowing me to congratulate him for not talking down to kids in his writing, and he was glad I noticed that) and Karensac, whose Aster is slated to be released in English by Random House in 2020.

[Editor’s note: I’d been wondering when another imprint would challenge the essentially free reign :01 Books has had with grabbing the pick of Franco-Belgian comics for re-release in the US; it’s not surprising that it’s Gina Gagliano that’s taken up the banner.]

Then the afternoon was the occasion to get to the LGBTI+ comics event (the second edition, meaning the first wasn’t a one-off), where I bought a zine from Anna Lkiss and Holly Rectum, where each of them tells how they found out they were non-binary. Then a number of panels and events on Chilean comics (including a zine created by women, the latest edition of which they made wordless, in order to present their work abroad), on migrants entering France through the Roya valley north of Nice, and on making the invisible visible, where creators of a “hobo mom” story, of a story of a Roma family tricked into emigrating to France then getting trapped into debt by the human traffickers, and of a story of emigration from Africa to Europe, exchanged on their processes for bringing these stories to life. For instance, Christian Lax, creator of the latter story, told he took advantage of a partnership with a museum and mixed that with a migration theme to create the story of a man saving an African art artifact from Muslim fanatics by taking it with him in Europe.

Come back soon for coverage of the third day, including U.S. and English creators, Pénélope Bagieu, and Boulet.


Spam of the day:

This revolutionary lightbulb camera is driving home security companies out of business

Yeah, under no circumstances am I putting an unvetted wi-fi attached camera on my home so that you assholes can either stripmine the video for your own purposes, or leave it exposed to the world. Bugger off.

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¹ Oh, and the Lyon city hall was searched by police mere days before the festival following an inquiry involving the mayor, though I have no idea whether that affected festival activities.

Lyon BD 2019: Day One

Editor’s note: It’s all Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeapuin today, chiming in from the Lyon BD festival. Well, except for the Spam of the day, that’s me.

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Guess what happens at the beginning of June? That’s right, Lyon BD Festival, and just like in 2017 and 2018 your correspondent was there to cover it.

One characteristic aspect of Lyon BD is that it lacks a congress-center-like space as a central hub: Quai des Bulles in Saint Malo has the Palais du Grand Large, Colomiers has the Hall Comminges, and that is without mentioning the convention centers housing the various anime cons. As a result, when the Place des Terreaux had to go into renovations this year, meaning they couldn’t erect tents to host booths like the previous years, Lyon BD had to split itself between the Town Hall where it usually resides and the Palais de la Bourse) a few blocks away.

But regardless, Lyon BD always sets up or encourages more exhibitions that they have space in the main locations for, spilling them in many public places. The lobby of a small theater/comedy scene? Yup. The town halls for three boroughs? You betcha. A local bookshop? Of course. A hospital lobby? Been there, done that. An underground parking space? That, too. Contrary to Angoulême it does not feel quite like comics taking over the town, because Lyon is just too big, but they’re getting close.

So while sub-par planning on my part prevented me from attending professional day on Friday or entering the main locations, I nevertheless had a full day going to and fro between the different exhibitions¹. My favorite piece was in the Héro-ïne-s exhibition, one of the new pieces recently introduced from international creators, called Umah-Mah, by Thomas von Kummant (the names at the top may be familiar: Umpah-Pah was an early work of theirs, from just before they started Astérix). What if Sacagawea was a badass warrior, not merely saving hapless European explorers ready to walk into every trap, but able of single-handedly hunting buffalo armed with but a tomahawk, and striking fear in the hearts of her enemies, becoming single-handedly responsible for the success of the expedition? That’s Umah-Mah in a nutshell, since that is pretty much the plot of Umpah-Pah that von Kummant references².

The day was capped by an opening party, the first of its kind, with a dozen artists including Boulet and Luke McGarry drawing live on a small scene over music they chose (one or two at a time!), with in the middle a zombie-themed drawn concert on the main scene, featuring Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) and
Julien Limonne.

P.S. I should mention Boulet and Cy directly switched to covering the Annecy animation festival as in past years. Since the two festivals arrange themselves to be set up on successive weeks, couldn’t they coordinate to give poor creators a day of rest?


Spam of the day:

If you’d not prefer not to recive future emails Unsubcribe here
480 Walnut Drive Penn, ND 58362

Hey, I don’t want to alarm you, but apparently Penn, North Dakota is literally about six small blocks, a car repair shop, and a bar, situated on maybe eight streets total, none of which is called Walnut Drive. Weird! You’re referring me to a place that doesn’t exist, no doubt by accident.

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¹ Note to the lowlife who stole my bike: I hope it gets stolen back from you at the most inconvenient time possible. And that you get caught, of course.

² Umpah-Pah actually takes place in the somewhat extrapolated context of a French expeditionary force reaching New World shores in the 18th century (e.g. they end up encountering a Prussian expeditionary force; Goscinny’s penchant for playing with history did not start with Astérix), but the parallels are otherwise striking.

We, As All Right-Thinking Folk Do, Rejoice At The News

[Quick note before the main event: Rosemary Mosco and a host of other creators from :01 Books’s Science Comics line will be at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, Massachusetts on Saturday, 26 January, from noon to 3:00pm. Go see them!]

You have, by now, no doubt heard the news that the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême has, after generally suffering from a couple of years of not having their collective shit together, pulled up their pants and gotten over themselves. That is to say, they have declared Rumiko Takahashi the winner of the Grand Prix, which makes her only the second woman¹ (after Florence Cestac in 2000) and the second manga artist² (after Katsuhiro Otomo in 2015) so honored in the festival’s 45 year history.

Given the depth and breadth of her career, and the numerous creators who’ve established their careers and cited Takahashi as their inspiration, this is both richly deserved and long overdue. For generations of readers around the world, Takahashi is practically synonymous with comics. Nobody can dispute these actual facts, and you’ve no doubt read something very similar to this already.

But have you read the observations of a French lover of comics? Take it away, Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin!

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So Rumiko Takahashi won this year’s Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, and this is a significant event in more than one way.

First, it is significant for Takahashi-san herself, of course. While to the French public she needs no introduction, it is expected this will result in renewed exposure to her work, such as through re-edition of her classic works (did you know? It is only after Bill Watterson won the Grand Prix in 2014 that France finally got a French version of the Calvin and Hobbes tenth anniversary book).

Then, it is significant because she’s a mangaka. For a very long time comics professionals of the French-Belgian school have been resentful of manga’s success in France, sometimes openly so, and it is still going on today, to an extent. This new Grand Prix both shows the body of professionals is changing (the profession as a whole contributed to selecting the Grand Prix) and means it is time to put that attitude to rest and accept manga as an integral part of the pinnacle of sequential art; because while Katsuhiro Otomo’s Grand Prix in 2015 might have been misinterpreted as a fluke, Takahashi’s Grand Prix confirms that it isn’t.

It is also significant because she has created a significant body of all-ages comics. While I revere Otomo-san, I am also not going to give Akira to my 9-year-old nieces (or nephews); this celebration of all-ages comics is significant in that, while French-Belgian classics such as Tintin, Astérix, Spirou, etc. could be read by everyone from 7 to 77 years old, as the slogan went, the industry has drifted away from that in recent decades, with most comics bookshops today featuring a split between regular comics and comics for children. This, to me, is an unnecessary segmentation that impoverishes the medium, and we are fortunate to have creators such as Takahashi-san, many of them in manga, that keep supporting the idea of all-ages comics; we can only hope this Grand Prix will cause this segmentation to be reconsidered. In a similar fashion, Takahashi’s work blurs the line between shojo and shonen, weakening that segmentation as well.

And it is most significant because of her gender, of course. Finally we have a second female Grand Prix winner to keep company to Florence Cestac. Remember it was only three years ago that Frank Bondoux attempted to claim the absence of any female creator in the 30 nominees for that year could be in any way justified … and while many of us always knew he was telling de la merde that day³ (with we at Fleen specifically suggesting Takahashi-san as an example of qualifying female creator), this year is the year the supreme court of comics for the French-Belgian circuit handed him down a decisive defeat. Good riddance to that idea.

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Our thanks to FSFCPL for his local insight, and congratulations again to Rumiko Takahashi; as one of the aspects of the Grand Prix is that the winner is the President of the next year’s Festival, look for Angoulême 2020 to feature a lot of leggy ladies, short skirts, bountiful hair, frustration-laden slow-burn romance, and the best sight gags since Chuck Jones.


Spam of the day:

The persons shown in photographs in this email may not necessarily be actual users of valentime.com

As you didn’t actually include any pictures, I imagine not.

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¹ Or possibly third; in 1983 an additional tenth anniversary prize was awarded to Claire Bretécher, but it wasn’t the “real” prize.

² Again, possibly third; in 2013, a special fortieth anniversary prize was awarded to Akira Toriyama.

³ An event so obnoxious it resulted in me taking up the mantle of Fleen Senior French Correspondent from then on. [Editor’s note: And we at Fleen are lucky to have him!]

With Bonus Peek At Gary’s Life

As promised yesterday, we have a second dispatch from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, still in the Greater Toulouse region of France. Take it away, FSFCPL!

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A mere two weeks after the Colomiers comics festival, Toulouse was hosting the Toulouse Game Show or TGS, and since this is a show that Maliki’s Souillon regularly attends (though he and Becky skipped it this year), I thought it would be worth checking out. Yup, time for another four-hour train ride to Toulouse …

While the TGS has video games content, it is more general than that and is best thought of as a marketplace for pop culture paraphernalia (taking the whole of the Parc des Expositions de Toulouse), much like any other anime con. In it you could find apparel merchants, steampunk accessories dealers, retrogaming preservation associations, a lot of cosplay of course¹, diorama creation clubs, a food court, booths for many webseries, etc.

And the TGS did feature comics content, and not just Ankama (found in pretty much every anime con in France, Belgium, and possibly Switzerland). I did not spot any creator I previously knew about, so it seems webcomics have not significantly invaded the TGS so far, but this also means everything was new to me. In particular, the fanzine scene was well-represented.

Still, the comics presence was not sufficient to have a dedicated section or artist’s alley, with most comics booths being next to one of the steampunk accessories dealers. Not that there is anything wrong with mixing comics with steampunk), but the TGS and other such conventions could make themselves more attractive to both comics creators and comics fans by dedicating an area to comics, in my opinion.

I am still catching up on my haul of comics bought there (work has been hectic lately), but I was already able to note the variety of approaches the creators I met there have with the web. In some cases, the pages were initially posted online, such as for Blue Bird’s Oath. Other creators put books as a whole on Mangadraft after the fact, keeping the latest print-exclusive until its successor comes out. And some creators barely have a web presence at all.

So while I am not done with my assessment, this trip to the TGS is already a net win to me², and I will keep an eye on it, especially as it provides a view of indie comics outside that of Paris or Brussels, and which is itself nevertheless different from that of Colomiers: I found no overlap at all.

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Thanks as always to M Lebeaupin; when we at the US branch of Fleen eventually make it to France, we’ll have a much better idea of where to go for comics³.


Notspam of the day:

I keep getting email for other Gary Tyrrells (Garys Tyrrell? Garies Tyrrell?). If it’s important, I try to sort things out, but it doesn’t usually work. This morning, I got an invoice for lintels from Perth, Australia. As a special holiday treat, I’m sharing a typical reply:

Hi Wanita,

Wrong person. Bunch of Gary Tyrrells around the world (at least two in England, maybe three in Ireland, two or more in Oz, and one electrical contractor in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, US) think my email is their email. There’s also a sort-of famous Gary Tyrrell in California, but he’s cool. We had lunch together once.

I have not ordered any lintels from you. Truth be told, I’m not 100% sure what lintels are. I mean, I visited Australia once but what with the bridge-climbing, wine-touring, wombat-petting, and Great Barrier Reef snorkling, lintels didn’t come up at all. I’m sure your lintels are very nice, though.

For the record, I also do not have a Peugot that needs service in the Lakes District, have an order for a Brexit-supporting cloisonne badge to be delivered to the Scottish Borderlands, owe registrations fees on a vehicle in Dublin, have a Jurassic Park Smash ‘n’ Throw T-Rex on order at a toy shop in Kildare, have plans to fly between Ireland and Eindhoven, hold a Lawson’s card in Melbourne, or hold any interest in various contracts and requests-for-bid for electrical jobs. Oh and I don’t have a warranty on tires in California, but that wasn’t the Gary Tyrrell that I know, so at least one more?

Please contact your guy and update your records. Tell him Gary said hi.

Gary
The one in New Jersey

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¹ Among the characters spotted: Arthur, king of the Britons with his personal coconut knocker, a T-Rex, two ghostbusters of opposite genders, and a wheelchair-riding Aquawoman.

² Not to mention everything else you can do there, such as eating takoyaki, buying retro games (be sure to have your console so you can check they work: you’ll have a hard time returning them otherwise), or attending a panel by the competitive Puyo Puyo playing community.

³ Other than Belgium, that is. Several of the best English language collections in comics shops I’ve ever seen were in Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp …

All I Want For Christmas Is You*

* Where You is defined as Dispatches from France courtesy of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin. Let us jump into the first of them now.

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I didn’t know what to expect in Colomiers, but I wasn’t disappointed in the end.

The town of Colomiers (located next to Toulouse, home of the French aeronautics industry) has been hosting a comics festival for the past 32 years, and it is remarkable for its focus. Indeed, while it is directly set up by the cultural services of the town, it is not mainstream-oriented, as those tend to be (which makes sense: these towns typically intend to provide quality entertainment for their inhabitants, without any grander ambition).

Rather, with this festival the municipal authorities clearly mean to try and make the town, which might otherwise seem like an ordinary suburban town, a cultural attraction with their editorial choices, the first of which being a clear focus on indie comics.

First came the professional day, which was very student-oriented: at the start of the day I was given a proof of attendance, for instance. And the matters covered were undoubtedly advanced, such as the state of comics creation in Argentina, or the carrier of a master of comics in Argentina, Alberto Breccia¹.

Then I was able to go to the exhibition of his work the following day, and he indeed had a varied career, working with a variety of styles and means, though the published pages (often shown next to the originals) were often unfortunately not up to preserving his midtones. I was able to visit the other exhibitions the festival set up, all involving people I had never heard about before.

But besides the exhibitions, where the focus is most clear is in the main expo space that I trawled on the third day, which was almost entirely dedicated to independent creators and publishers, without even sellers of historical editions of comics as you can find even in SoBD for instance (there was a small space for a general comics library and a few invited creators). As a result, Colomiers provides the indie French-Belgian comics scene with the most space of any festival or convention in France.

I went back home with a few realizations.

First, it is interesting to note that, except in a few cases (Lapin, in particular), this scene is still largely independent from webcomics, by contrast with the small press scene in the U.S. which has by now entirely merged with the webcomics culture. So most of the works and creators were new to me, and it is clear it is going to take me some time to properly penetrate this scene.

In particular, the works shown made me realize I did not previously give much though about the legibility/reader effort dimension of comics: while webcomics, in French or in English, have made many experiments mainstream comics haven’t, on the other hand they would rather err on the side of being legible without much effort as a survival strategy on the web, where attention is very limited. Not so in this indie comics scene, and this brought me back to Scott McCloud’s theories on the subject (fortunately the local library, very much involved with the festival activities, did have Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics for me to refresh my memory).

The festival also veered towards the edge of what constitutes comics, showcasing for instance the publishing part of an artist collective as one of the four featured publisher, where the shown works were hard to distinguish from merely separately framed pictures in succession (they were wordless). Was it comics? Was it not? Heck if I know.

I did find familiar ground that nevertheless I think is representative of the festival, which is the works of Joan Cornella, published in France by Ici Même, one of the four featured publishers. You have probably seen one of his absurd, wordless, slightly disturbing four-panels cartoons floating on the web, but those are only the tip of the iceberg, and only with the book can you see how absurd he can go; I would recommend at least taking a look.

Yet all this focus on indie comics does not mean the expo space was empty: it did have significant attendance without it being free to attend (while SoBD, also focused on indie comics, is free to attend), with many families coming. So it is clear the organizers have managed to create an interest for indie comics in a wide demographic; this was best represented by the presence of Biscoto, an indie youth comics magazine. And the organizers do not always have it easy: it is quite a balancing act for instance to have under the same roof the creator of Avni as a featured creator, and the creators of its not-as-sensible parody Proutchi, themselves present as part of the Lapin booth.

I will be sure to come back next year, but meanwhile it has provided me with much food for thought.

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Thanks as always to FSFCPL, and come back tomorrow for his take on the comics scene at the Toulouse Game Show


Spam of the day:

It’s no secret the liberal news HATES the Bible and anything to do with it.

Nobody ever whines as much about being oppressed as a scammer trying to appear to be evangelical. Nobody.

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¹ The day ended with a drawn concert, which itself was much more experimental in nature than any I previously saw. No way to recount it; I will just note that, on the drawing side, actual plant leaves, and on the musical side, the support springs of a desk lamp were at one point involved.

Trust Me: Keeping Up With An Interview In Real Time Is Difficult

Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin was tasked to attend the Quai de Bulles BD festival and report back. Please enjoy the approximately 2700 words he filed, which is beastly amount of work.

Just like last year, I had a great time at Quai des Bulles chatting with creators, visiting exhibitions, attending panels, and of course buying comics (Akileos did have the French edition of Stand Still, Stay Silent book one for instance), but the most interesting event was definitely this interview of Laurel which is transcribed at the end of the post: she had not signed her comics in France in the last 6 years, and so was eagerly expected.

I was able to chat with her at her booth on Sunday, and it had gone well: she and Adrien already knew they had made back their expenses, and she was glad to meet readers in this fashion again; she is not stopping, as she has more festivals planned even just this year.

One note: the meetup occurred on Friday, and this year the festival occurred outside of school holidays, so the auditorium was filled with school children (most about 10, some in the 14-15 range) which made for a very nice ambiance. Seriously.

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[Editor’s note: FSFCPL has produced an account of the interview, but this should not be taken as a series of literal quotations. For starters, Laurel and Adrien should not be taken to referring to themselves in the third person.]

Present were Laurel and Adrien Duermael, interviewed by Arnaud Wassmer.

What is Laurel doing today?
Laurel: She has always wanted to do comics, and when blogs started appearing, she put online what she considered a kind of diary. It took off, and accumulated a community as it went on. She claims to have the first blog BD (French-language comics blog) as she started it in 2003, after which she was joined by Boulet, Mélaka, Maliki, etc.

What was her initial intent?
Laurel: First of all, her pen name comes from Laureline, her actual surname (which itself comes from Valérian comics). These days Internet and the web enable young newcomers to start out from wherever they are, without the need to enter an artist studio. She taught herself (she did not pursue studies beyond the Baccalauréat [Author’s note: equivalent of the A-levels/high school diploma]), and she wanted to do it from her childhood reads.

What kind of stories doe she tell? Why autobio?
Laurel: It’s not because she’s self-centered; since she started out with a blog, she fed it with daily life stories, and that continued into her books: the characters were already ready, and she could more readily count on her community to buy them.

Adrien: As time goes on, you fall more easily into an observer role, ready to take note of relevant situations.

Laurel: It doubles as a way to be able to recount these stories to their own children, when they will be older.

So the children are taken along in the ride. How to set the limit between what you can tell and what is too intimate, and in a related question, how much storytelling versus literal telling is put in the stories?
Laurel: Everything is true. But the matter of making the children uncomfortable? Good question … At the same time, they tell very ordinary things about them (doing the dishes, school grades), nothing really intimate, even the story of expecting her second child that she’s telling has nothing specially revealing.

Doesn’t she risk fanning jealousy between her children?
Laurel: Her eldest Cerise does have her own book series …

What about the animals?
Adrien: Squirrels were often used to for narration, especially to tell of negative events, express messages, that sort of thing.

Laurel: Indeed, to have the squirrels complain while telling what happened is a good storytelling technique.

Laurel is drawing on a tablet these days. Why?
Laurel: She worked for 10 years on paper, even when she put colors digitally back then she did it with a mouse… But when she started working on video games, she had to switch to a graphic tablet for productivity reasons: games need tons of assets, and drawing on a tablet avoids having to scan the original, clean the lines digitally, etc.

Nevertheless, it did require her 6 months to get used to the graphic tablet, then 6 more months to be really comfortable with it. The material (texture, etc.) is not the same, and you have additional latency before the stroke appears as well as an air gap; and that is without mentioning technical parameters to worry about such as file resolution. She does however appreciate the possibility to cancel: she often retries the same stroke 10 times in order to get a clean one.

Adrien: Cerise is more comfortable with tablets than Laurel is.

What are her graphical influences?
She was influenced by Pénélope Bagieu, also by games such as Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on Nintendo DS; for the last 6-7 years she has had her own style.

Which is very expressive.
Adrien: Indeed, and for the messages of Comme Convenu, this is very useful to convey them, like for animation.

Laurel: Nevertheless, she considers that part of her work to be in line with French-Belgian comics traditions.

Here we see some panels before inking.
Laurel: One important part of the panels is their size: at the beginning Comme Convenu was not designed for a book, but they instead considered going for a mobile app, and therefore every panel was the size of a mobile phone screen, with 4 of them fitting an iPad screen. Then they did a book with that layout.

Adrien: The application never saw the light of the day, and it was easier to design that way than to design pages for A4, then try and cram them in a phone screen.

But does this change the way you tell the story, how to think in term of story rhythm?
Laurel: She tried to think in terms of multiples of 4 panels, and then on a larger scale to have breaks on the story fall on Fridays.

Adrien: Though it is a single story.

Laurel: Indeed, so the breaks were sometimes cliffhangers to get readers to return the week after…

Why then publish on paper?
Laurel: She wasn’t even sure at the start whether she would get to complete it or not, but with readers coming in and comments, she was encouraged especially as it provided her with an outlet next to her difficult day job; it was nevertheless taking her 6 hours of work per page. When she proposed it to publishers, she was proposed 8000€ [Author’s note: of advances, though that is often the only thing creators earn these days) for 3 years of work: there was no way she was going to accept that.

Does it make a difference in the story if it is published online or traditionally?
Adrien: Regardless, it is important for them that this story was published on paper in the end, as he saw multiple video games he worked on virtually disappear (no physical artifact remaining) when they were pulled from sale: here something concrete will remain. But it makes a difference for it to have been prepublished on an interactive medium, such as the ability to be reacting to feedback when continuing the story (as well as fixing typos).

Is she feeling pressure from comments? How to take them into account without compromising her work? Are they mostly positive or negative?
Laurel: Most commenters mean well, but sometimes she is not clear, and in one occasion she took a lot of heat and tried to address that by inserting a new page … which got heated comments as well, with much less justification this time. She realized that people demand because they like the feeling of being in control, without it being necessarily justified. She trusts Adrien to tell her when she ought to change something or if commenters are out of it. Twitter is sort of an additional comment stream, but on it people may not necessarily realize they are telling her something that 50 other people are telling her about already: it is not harassment per se, but a close equivalent.

Why did you move to California?
Laurel: Adrien is a software developer. In many aspects when developing applications it is better to be on location to meet Apple, Google, etc. So they uprooted their whole life and left with Cerise in tow.

Adrien: One advantage is that he previously went on holidays there; nevertheless when they started the business while still in France, and they would deal with the European offices of Apple for instance, as a result their apps would be promoted in France, but not worldwide. Coming to California was also important for them to meet other businesses in the same sector.

Laurel: It really is a super area, she had the feeling of being in a series.

How did the environment influence storytelling?
Laurel: Among other ways, she met with people from Pixar, and their work influenced her drawing style, more so than the move from paper to graphic tablet; she was also able to meet U.S. comics creators, go to conventions, and in general open herself to many different aspects of the local culture.

Adrien: He noticed there an important tradition of “artisanal” graphical expression, such as in burger restaurant menus, or lettering in coffee shops.

It was not exactly smooth sailing, hence the origin of Comme Convenu.
Laurel: They had a work visa, meaning if they were fired, they couldn’t stay, and they did not have the means to move back to France, plus they did not want Cerise to have to move again just after settling in. As a result they ended up having to unquestioningly obey their boss, Joffrey. They are not holding a grudge these days, but they suffered a lot at the time, especially when Cerise was involved, as a result this story had to come out. At the time they thought that, besides making an app out of it, it could allow their partners to see their side of the story and perhaps make them go off their backs, but that did not work.

Adrien: When Comme Convenu started they were really at their lowest anguish point.

Laurel: They were very protective of Cerise, as a result this story is also a way to tell her about these events in a time-shifted fashion.

Why use comics?
Laurel: It is the way she expresses herself. And when publishers showed interest but only proposed her insignificant revenues, she went: I’m going to show them how I can do it by myself.

Adrien: They had heard of Kickstarter, so given the ridiculous sums offered by publishers, they thought they had nothing to lose by going with crowdfunding, so they went with it. They were going to go with Kickstarter when Ulule took notice of them and proposed their platform, which had some benefits but in particular that of being oriented toward the French-speaking market for instance.

Could you elaborate on the crowdfunding concept for our audience?
Laurel: So you put your project up on the Internet on a platform such as Kickstarter or Ulule. You must have something to show already, and you’re asking people to chip in. They asked for 9000€ (US$10,300 then) which would have allowed them to print the book (which would have cost US$15,000) using an additional loan, and if that sum is reached the book is printed.

For the second campaign it is claimed the goal was reached in 6 minutes.
Laurel: Having a promo video helps a lot for promoting the crowdfunding, she doesn’t like doing them at all but it worked. The first campaign collected more than 8000 pledges for as many copies of the book, much more than she would have been able to do with traditional publishing. She is not throwing them any stone, but there they are.

Here the audience can see her with the printer.
Laurel: It was a California company, Global PSD, recommended by another French-American creator. She tried to get involved every step of the way, and she managed to have goodies (stickers, etc.) put along with the books.

And here the audience can see pallets and boxes of books being opened …
Laurel: They had 800 books shipped to their home in order to sign them, and they assembled the bundles of goodies by hand, including Cerise.

And they went with crowdfunding again for the second book.
Laurel: That allowed them to keep owning all the rights to the book and use them as they like later, for instance for a digital edition. They own everything.

Adrien: As a team, they own everything. While for her other comics books, they ended up seeing them on apps without being told about it.

And now everyone can read it.
Laurel: They wanted it to be available for everyone on the Internet, people in the audience can go read the 500 pages right now if they want.

Now the audience can see some of the pages from the book …
Adrien: Their cat, Brume, is indeed useful here to materialize the question they were asking themselves: why were they allowing themselves to get exploited?

Now they are back in France. What’s next?
Laurel: Right now she is telling her experience of expecting a baby (and side stories) in California.

Adrien: First it deals with the adventures in a video game studio, then with expecting a baby, but in fact it is larger than that.

What is Adrien’s opinion on his drawn double?
Adrien: I do see myself in him, well OK I’m less scrawny, but in all seriousness I find myself well drawn. In that story we are together, after a few more years have passed I would like to read it again.

[Adrien exits stage left. Now the public is allowed to ask questions.]

Will she do comics in a different style?
For now she sticks to what she is doing, but she previously did about 15 books: classic Cerise books for instance. When she will be done with her current project, in about 3 years, she will see.

Is she considering doing prose?
No, she needs to draw; writing is a very different job, but it is true that Diglee and Maliki are managing it.

She worked with Adrien for recollecting their memories of the story, did she do the same with Cerise?
Yes, Cerise was able to show her viewpoint at the end of Comme Convenu.

Were scenes changed or interpreted differently?
The names were changed, that’s it, but of course there are exaggerations, such as the size of a spider, but the dialogs occurred as shown.

How much time did they stay in California?
Five years, they would have stayed but could not renew their visas, now they are located near Vannes as Adrien has family nearby.

Do they intend to make video games in the future?
They do have projects to that end, they love developing games. They are proud of making games without ads, interesting, pretty, and out of people who download them there are people who appreciate that and allow one to make a living out of it.

What takes the most time, the scenario or the drawing stage? Would you consider you would need help on the scenario side or the drawing side?
Before she did draw scenarios from others. What she finds the hardest is dialogs and the process of dividing the scenario into pages and panels; however sketching and inking she feels are faster and more pleasant, and she can do so while watching series anyway. However, she has to watch against losing concentration because of social networks. She would rather work with a scenarist.

Would she like living in the U.S. again?
She would love to; her two youngest were born in the U.S., so they could claim citizenship when the time comes, but it is harder and harder to come, lately her immigration applications were solid but rejected anyway, she is not entertaining too many illusions. They will be able to come the U.S. for holidays already.

What games did she work on?
With the warning that they may or may not be online any more: Grub, which is a kind of snake by tilting the phone, and Greedy Grub, which is a village management game. They recovered the rights to them and are preparing a release, including on Android.

Thanks as always to FSFCPL for his unerring sense of interesting stories and creators in the intersection of BD and webcomics.


Spam of the day:

Used by all military, police, fireman and astronauts personnel. So powerful it can over e miles of light It can protect you more then a knife or gun

It’s a flashlight. And what kind of threats do you think astronauts are facing that they need the flashlight that’s more powerful than knives and guns?

A Less-Disturbing Encore

I think I speak for all of us when I say that yesterday’s post from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin was a tough read. Along the same lines, I invite you to consider how much more difficult it must have been for FSFCPL to research and write it; as such, I think we’ve all earned a palate-cleanser. Please enjoy the following submission from Our Man In France on the intersection of two media that seem to have a lot of overlap these days.

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On the menu: using comics to promote a video game, using a video game to promote comics, and having a comics creator illustrate and tell the story for a video game … using comics of course.

  • While it has been known for some time that webcartoonists Thorn and Meredith Gran have been working on their respective point-and-click adventure games, you might not have known illustrator Pins has been working on his own called tiny and Tall: Gleipnir, which is now out.

    The story? Fenrir, the wolf son of Loki, is devouring everything on its path and the Gods of Asgard have to react before it ends up devouring the whole world; however, no chains have proved capable of keeping Fenrir down, so they commission two blacksmiths, the titular tiny and Tall, to come up with restraints that can restrain the unrestrainable. Easy. Follows a number of hijinks as the protagonists have to first locate the recipe, then the improbable ingredients necessary to accomplish this quest.

    The game works like the point and click adventure games of old, with you needing to solve various puzzles using found objects and your wits. And if you get stuck, no matter: clicking your partner will provide you with information necessary to proceed. But where the game shines is with its humor, especially in its writing: overenthusiastic tiny contrasts well with fatalistic Tall, desperate of ever seeing the project to completion (but duty-bound to try, at least).

    Pins even felt the need to introduce us to the characters ahead of the game’s release through comic strips released online … we can now safely say that the promotional effort went slightly out of hand, as not only did he do more than 200 strips (this is strip 81 of the second book), but he even managed to release a collection of the 130 first strips, published by Lapin, before the game even came out; and his humor hits home just as well in comics as it does in the game.

    tiny and Tall: Gleipnir Part One is available through Steam on PC and Mac for 14.99€; this review is based on the Mac version of the game.

  • Raphaël Beuchot, on the other hand, first set out to create strips around music in a project called Medley; and it is in order to promote the recently-released collection that he came up with an online game called Backstage.

    The premise? You’re running a concert hall, and you need to raise its standing enough that celebrity DJ Acier Fulgur (Steel Lightning) will consent to producing himself in it. But that will only happen if you successfully manage your concert hall day after day after day … and here, success entails satisfying the needs of the bands that produce themselves in your hall: their scene equipment needs, their food and drink needs, but also their (legal) drug needs or smoking implement needs. All that on a deadline. And that is even without mentioning the occasional agitator to dispatch with security, or the occasional inebriated person to put in a lateral security position….

    The gameplay does not have a lot of depth (though is not necessarily a bad thing), and you can complete the game in about one hour, but what I find most interesting with Backstage is that, while it is not a music game, its gameplay is well integrated with the theme of the musical scene: the bands you get at first are hesitant to ask for food when they do so, then quickly you will get requests that turn out to need nothing, nevermind, until in the late game where these prestigious bands complain that they even need to request that seafood be brought to them.

    And new elements are introduced in a piecemeal fashion, but you can’t help but notice that French singers get introduced at the same time as the folk guitar gets added to your available scene instruments … and as Xanax gets added to your pharma kit. In short, the gameplay builds on the theme to keep you on your toes (I once got a request from a punk band to give their dog four bottles of beer!), which prevents the game from feeling repetitive, and helps give sense to the game … well, except for that one band where the instruments included both autotune and accordion. I’m still scratching my head over that one.

    That is very consistent with the strips of Medley, which don’t always deal with music per se, but always at least refer to it while using it to comment on critics, journalists, campaigning political parties, or just music consumers.

    Backstage is available for free (with ads inserted for Medley at appropriate times) and is playable directly on your browser, including mobile ones; it was reviewed on Safari on the Mac¹.

  • Finally, it is time for me to swap my French correspondent hat for my Apple devices correspondent hat to bring you the news of Factory Hiro, with art and story by KC Green. What makes this (more) relevant for Fleen is that part of that story is told as in-game comics cutscenes, in which we learn that the titular Hiro is responsible for an assembly line, the gameplay being to manually manage routing of incoming components and combination of these components to create finished products. Can you run your assembly line fast enough to make your quota in time for the end of the work day, without screwing up and loading the delivery truck with garbage?

    What does that have to do with my Apple devices correspondent hat? Factory Hiro is actually a remake of a classic 90s Mac game called Factory: The Industrial Devolution which finally makes it available on modern platforms, including tablets where its point and click — now touch — interface really shines. Make sure to give it a try.

    Factory Hiro is available on PC and Mac through Steam, and on iOS and Android through their respective app stores (I got it for 3.49€ on the French iOS App Store; pricing will depend on your region); it was reviewed on an iPad Air 2 running iOS 11.4.1.


Spam of the day:

Im Regina, im single with no kid….I am a great self-sufficient lady who has achieved a lot in her life. I am a starting swimsuit designer which is taking the time to get second education. I am studying interior design. I love working on myself, and self-improvement. I spend most of my time in the USA, and came to visit my family in ontairo states for a few months every year. My documents have been figured out. I am looking for pure love, and beautiful relationship.

Regina, I think that just maybe you’re trying a little too hard here.

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¹ FSFCPL sent along a clarification that Backstage is only available in French, but you don’t need a lot of vocabulary to successfully play it. This may or may not be a comment on the language skills of musicians.

Back In The Saddle

Wow, that was a busy week. I’ve got pretty much no idea what’s been happening in [web]comics across the last seven days (except for the news that Raina Telgemeier announced her next two books, because that got reported everywhere).

Enter the secret weapon of the beleaguered webcomics opinionmonger and any right-thinking blogger’s best friend: Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, who dropped a reminder of my impending mortality and a thoughtful piece about an (at best) unsavory happening in French comics on the same day. The former is linked in the last sentence, the latter begins below.

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Before I begin, I must mention there is a language warning for explicit sexual language in this post. Onwards …

Is it possible to be so disgusted with a creator’s behavior that you’re considering foregoing their creations entirely, even those without relationship to the matter at hand? [Editor’s note: Yes. This was definitely answered by Cerebus #186 when Dave Sim went batshit insane, and has only repeatedly doubled down on his misogyny ever since. He is one of the most creative letterers that’s ever lived, and it is impossible to separate the creator — pre-batshittery or not — from the work.]

I have recently been made aware of a new release from Bastien Vivès (who you may remember from Last Man): it is a comic book called Petit Paul which is pornographic, explicitly so even: prominent warning on the cover, in a collection called Porn’pop dedicated to pornographic content, etc. This by itself would not be cause for alarm or even disapproval in the Fleenplex — if it were, we would never have made mention of Slipshine or Smut Peddler, for instance.

The issue (and the reason I have been made aware of that work), however, is that the eponymous protagonist is depicted to be about ten years old.

Let us take aspects one at a time. First, is it actually pornographic, or is the pornography warning just a way to avoid issues down the line for the publisher; and in a related matter, can we distinguish this from pedopornography trial cases where we can’t even know whether this is innocent child nudity? We can answer both questions thanks to Actualitté, who describes the depicted acts¹: not only does the titular Paul have an enormous penis, but he is in erection for most of the book, and he is shown ejaculating on multiple occasions; moreover at some point his female teacher is inflicting a [sic] cunnilingus upon him, for the next sequence Paul’s pants are torn open under pressure from his erection. To hide Paul, only one solution: penetration. Once again without really consulting him, and later on more sexual acts, all involving little Paul.

Nevertheless, that still leaves open possibilities for defense, and some have attempted: what if this is so ludicrous that this ends up being purely parody? But the creator himself has weakened if not foreclosed on these avenues in an interview with the Huffington Post where he is quoted as stating:

Le HuffPost: So you think that comic can be arousing?

Bastien Vivès: I made do with kinks that arouse me personally. […] If it is not arousing, I hope readers will at least get a laugh out of it.

This quote, regardless of the contents of the book, is what caused general reactions of disgust; in particular, Tanx, keeping on her theme of skepticism as to whether the artist can be separated from his creation (the bubbles read: You must separate the artist from the person, erm, well, but then … along which way do you cut?), wrote a reaction to clearly state her stance, which is that she is not invoking state censorship, but rather expressing disgust as to Vivés’ attitude, and that vile ideas can and should be fought with criticism; and that such criticism, even widespread and vigorous, is not censorship. Many creators found Tanx’s words to express their position better than they themselves could.

As for me, I tend to agree with Tanx. In particular, I remained unconvinced by other defenses of Vivès: Gilles Juan for Slate, for instance, sees a double standard between the reaction to the obviously illegal sexual acts depicted there and that for other illegal acts such as murders depicted in movies and comics, for which we do not even bat an eye; but beyond the initial objections (it is much harder to shoot a sex scene without actually performing it than it is to shoot a murder scene without actually performing it, so the distance in case of a depicted sex scene is necessarily reduced by a lot), there is the major objection that, through his ambiguous attitude, Vivés is allowing vile people to gather, and potentially organize themselves, around his work.

As far as I am concerned, this is the criterion for my utter disapproval; it is not a matter of needing writing talent in order to cover “edgy” subjects (though that may help), or even a matter of this work making it more likely for pedophiles to act out on their impulses, this is a matter of making sure the work cannot realistically be (mis)interpreted as validating ideas that must not come back to the surface; and Vivès has completely failed this part of his responsibilities as a creator.

But I am willing to hear everyone’s good faith takes on the matter.

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Fleen thanks FSFCPL for spending more time on this than we would ever have asked.


Spam of the day:

20,000 Anime Fans Want to See You

Nnnnnooooope.

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¹ Which is fortunate as I sure as heck was not going to fork over any money to find out for myself.

I Don’t Know How He Does It

They're counting down to 2019, if you want to get tickets.

Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, that is. There’s … stuff … going on here, and my mind is anywhere but webcomics at the moment. But FSFCPL sent an unlooked-for post — the first of two! — and so we all get to read along.

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It took me some time to understand that Souillon¹ was on to something.

What struck me when I started paying attention to his signings, in order to consider going, is that he overwhelmingly favors anime cons, and generally shuns “traditional” French comics festivals. This is not merely because of his new independent status: the pattern was the same when his erstwhile publisher, Ankama, was housing him for signings (these days he either booths independently or is hosted by a bookshop).

He has his reasons, of course, of which I’d rather not speak instead of him; but I considered him an isolated case and so did not pay much attention to anime cons in general.

But last year I came to two realizations:

  • Festival goers for traditional French comics festivals are really centered around netting these signed copies from their favorite creators; there is not that much demand for discovery or curiosity there. It would be presumptuous of me to try and explain this phenomenon; I will just note that, since French comics are traditionally very well distributed, it seems the main role left for festivals to fulfill was to allow the public to actually meet the creators, which are presumed as being already known.
  • It’s important for online creators to be discovered, obviously. And being rediscovered — that is, being noticed by passersby as being the creator of art these passersby first saw online — can be an important part of that. Case in point: last year I went on a lark to a comics festival of LGBTQ+ creators, and once there I noticed Shyle Zalewski was there, which I had not expected (well, not that they aren’t LGBTQ+, but I had not followed them enough to notice any announcement that they’d be there).

So while I skipped them in 2017, I thought it important that I attend anime cons in 2018, because creators can benefit from exhibiting there way beyond simply catching the eyeballs of otaku using their manga-like style: attendees are much more likely to be simply travelling the aisles looking for something new, and while I described some French comics festivals as being big, anime cons are bigger (allowing more affordable table space for creators) and have higher attendance (allowing better changes for rediscovery, statistically speaking) by an order of magnitude, on average.

And Japan Expo Paris is probably the biggest (about 120,000 m² [meters squared, not a footnote], not counting the halls dedicated solely to line management) and most attended anime con in France². But by itself that does not mean much: earlier this year I went to Made In Asia in Brussels, and while that took up more than 50,000 m², I did not find any comics content to discover. And with these conventions, Japan Expo Paris included, you cannot really count on the programming or exhibitions to compensate.

Japan Expo Paris, however, was a bounty. Not only did I see SoSkuld, Pellichi, and other creators with a manga-like style³ that you would spontaneously associate with such a convention, but I also saw Jackpot, creator of Jo, whose style is definitely closer to traditional bandes dessinnées; and this was all the more valuable to meet her as she had to get away from social media (I missed Jo writer Soyouz, who was not present on Saturday). So the chance meeting aspect was definitely there.

Plus, since there was no line of people waiting for a signing, we were able to chat for a bit: for her as well attending Japan Expo Paris was a snap decision, without much of a commitment (Jo’s readers have no particular expectation of seeing the creators at Japan Expo Paris), to see how it would go, and she indeed appreciated the occasion to meet readers who’d just happen to be there and recognize her work.

I came back at the end of the day to check out her booth and ask how the day had gone, and it had obviously gone well, at least better than she planned for, as she had run out of some books (Saturday being usually the biggest day).

While other creators confirmed the impression, for it to happen to Jo shows these anime cons are now much more than places for selling manga, anime DVDs, and messenger bags to people who grew up with anime (though they are that, too): they are general pop culture conventions; and much like crowdfunding is providing comics creators an alternative for financing their creations, such conventions are providing them an alternative for meeting their readers. These conventions have in recent years been colonized by Youtubers for this very reason, and it is and will be interesting to see independent comics creators doing the same.

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Thanks again to FSFCPL. We’ll run the second part of his adventures at Japan Expo Paris once it clears Blog Customs.


Spam of the day:

Sorry to see you unsubscribe! Just so you’re aware, unsubscribing removes you from our global PR list for all clients. If you’ll allow us, we can customize your subscription settings to specific topics so that you receive news only that you care about.

See this? This is from a PR flack that’s sent stuff to me that I don’t care about for years. They finally — after uncounted messages being sent to the spam folder — included an unsubscribe option and then this happened.

Don’t do this. Unsubscribe means you don’t talk to me any further, and it pissed me off enough that I complained to MailChimp, to find out if this was a violation of their TOS (it is).

Fun fact: the PR flack in question was using fake MailChimp headers and badging and isn’t actually one of their customers! So this is going to serve as notice: if I get anything further from you, I’m naming and shaming. In the meantime, bugger off.

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¹ Since Maliki does not deign show up to conventions and other public events, for the purposes of this report we will treat the creator of Maliki’s webcomic as being Souillon.

² For instance, I anecdotally met a Peridot when I reached the train station next to my home to embark on my journey to Japan Expo Paris. Not unusual to meet con goers ahead of the con itself you say? Except we were at least (depending on train choices) two connections away from the train to get to the Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord Villepinte … so I think it’s fair to say Japan Expo Paris draws quite a crowd.

³ One of which will be the subject of the next post.