Angoulême 2009: Change We Can Believe In

After spending two nights in downtown Angoulême, it seems kind of safe to conclude that nightlife culture has changed. Usually THE place to meet is legendary bar Le Chat Noir, but since smoking was banned inside, what seems to be the majority of the patrons have moved outside, leaving the place half-empty, or well, actually abandoned. But there’s more! The semi-notorious bar at Hotel Mercure doesn’t have quite the feel it used to; it’s still packed, although not as impressively as earlier, but now it’s a grey haired crowd dominating the place. You’ll be lucky to spot a youngster. As our beloved Bart Beaty asks @ Comics Reporter: “Where is everyone?”

Well, Dan Clowes and Chris Ware reportedly went to bed early, and even though Norwegian superstar Jason dropped by, turnout seemed a little sparse. Fortunately, the party continues in a bar on the street conecting the Place des halles with City Hall square. That’s where things are happening, mind you without any notable cartoonist presence. At the time of writing, I’ve managed to forget the name of the newbie bar, but it had a great funk band playing, and a charming bartender (see above).

Angoulême 2009: Peep Show

The sun came out today. Angoulême looks great, and this year’s festival is a great pre-spring distraction in this time of recession. The crowds are moderate today, making perambulation pleasant and breezy with sufficient bustle to make you buzz with excitement about comics and their culture. It’s not like everything’s great in French-language comics or anything, but let’s just stay in the moment here.

Hype: Thorhauge i weekendavisen

Lars Bukdahl har fået fingrene i T. Thorhauges seneste tegneserie Jørgen Leth. Som afslutning på en karakteristisk pikaresk om Leths genfundne popularitet, giver han den følgende ord med på vejen:

“Sidste værk i bunken af Lethiana er T. Thorhauges lillebitte, virtuost tegnede og karikerede hæfte Jørgen Leth, hvor tegneseriefiguren Leth, mens han fremsiger blanke visdomsord fra Det uperfekte menneske — »man kan ikke skrue tiden tilbage og lave om« etc. — står op, spiser morgenmad og åbner en lem til en verden under jorden befolket af eksotiske kvinder, en af hvilke han udfører en slags voodoo-ceremoni på, hvorefter han skrækslagen flygter op til overfladen igen og serverer sig selv frokost: »Og nu går jeg ned for at få min mango og omelet.« En kvik og kongenial miniature-hommage, en kærlig Kalulesk uppercut lige på glashagen (der nok skal holde).”

Sådan er det.


The Bunker crew has hit Angoulême! Stay tuned for lots of updates, generous paparazzi-flix and delightful gossip! The world’s greatest comics festival is ON!

Above: Metabaron Wivel conversing Lewis “genius” Trondheim (Photo: Yours truly, taken 2007)

Angoulême 2009: Enter the Cartoon Cathouse

La Maison close is Florent Ruppert and Jerome Mulot’s latest concept comic, and it’s about the most impressive cartoonist’s jam I have ever seen, at least in terms of inventiveness and resonant coherence. Also, it’s pretty hilarious at times. It’s made especially for the Angoulême festival and can be read on the festival site. It unites a couple dozen cartoonists, half male, half female and sets them up in a whorehouse designed by the project masterminds. The idea, briefly, is that the female cartoonists are prostitutes and the male ones johns. From there on, things get unpredictably interesting…

Picks of the Week

“During the same critical period, Vice President Cheney was urging Secretary of State Colin Powell to consider seriously the possibility that Iraq might be connected to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Powell found the case worse than ridiculous and scornfully concluded that Cheney had what Powell termed a “fever.” (In private, Powell used to call the Pentagon policy shop run by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, who shared Cheney’s burning interest in supposed ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, a “Gestapo office.”)

Powell was right to conclude that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden did not work together. But Cheney and Powell did not have this crucial debate in front of the president — even though such a discussion might have undermined one key reason for war. Cheney provided private advice to the president, but he was rarely asked to argue with others and test his case. After the invasion, Cheney had a celebratory dinner with some aides and friends. “Colin always had major reservations about what we were trying to do,” Cheney told the group as they toasted Bush and laughed at Powell. This sort of derision undermined the administration’s unity of purpose — and suggests the nasty tone that can emerge when open debate is stifled by long-running feuds and personal hostility.”

–Bob Woodward

The picks of the week from around the web.

OK, it’s a short one this week, which fits well with my general blogging activity. Rest assured, however, that things will soon pick up!

  • The Washington Post: Bob Woodward — “10 Take Aways From the Bush Years.” The legendary journalist offers ten pieces of advise to the new president, based on his experience in the dark years of the Bush administration. Interesting perspectives offered.
  • Comic Book Resources (scroll down a bit): Steven Grant breaks down all the nonsense that has come to surround Dirk Deppey’s otherwise great term “superhero decadence”. Quick question: Are superhero comics these days really any worse, on average, than they were at any point in the past three decades?
  • Morgenbladet: Den norske tegneseriestribes middelmådighed

    Til vore norske læsere vil jeg benytte muligheden for at reklamere for min seneste artikel til denne uges udgave af Morgenbladet — en anmeldelse af seks norske stribeserier: Pondus, Nemi, M, Rex Rudi, Eon og Zofies Verden. Underrubrikken lyder: “Den norske tegneseriestribe har gode vilkår, men ingen kunstneriske enere.”

    Artiklen kan læses af abonnenter her, eller naturligvis i avisen selv.

    Hvis I orker det, er de andre artikler jeg har skrevet tilgængelige på nettet: Pushwagners Soft City, Tizian i Belluno og Wien, fem norske graphic novels, David Bs Epileptisk. Striben ovenfor er fra Frode Øverlis Pondus.