Converted

We convinced a sceptic critic on comics. The kind of review we LOVE to see, this one on the Sky Over the Louvre. First, setting the background on this book of Robespierre commissioning David to create a new Supreme Being:

“If you want the full account, you need to read a comic book.
 
Excuse me: a graphic novel.
 
Another surprise: This one has A-list credentials. 
 
The sponsor is the Louvre. The artist is the esteemed French cartoonist Bernar Yslaire. The writer is Jean-Claude Carrière, the favorite collaborator of Luis Buñuel; he wrote the screenplays for “Belle de Jour,” “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “That Obscure Object of Desire,” among others.
 
But still…a graphic novel?
 
If you’re Old School like me, you haven’t jumped into this craze. At best, you think it’s a good idea for wired kids who grew up on comics and don’t have the attention span for real books. But for adults, a reasonable response to graphic novels would be: well….why?

“The Sky Over The Louvre” provokes a different response. Interest, for one. Understanding — even mastery — of a fascinating historical/art episode, for another. A powerful and enjoyable esthetic experience, for a third. And then, just to be shallow, there’s the cool factor — on a coffee table, this book makes you look good.
Was I self-conscious reading this book? Not once.
 
Did I get a better sense of David and Robespierre? Yes, and quickly.
 
Was I grateful for the art history lesson? Yes, and also for the way the paintings in this book are accurately copied and for two pages of artistic references.
More smart, beautiful hardcover comic books for grownups, please.”

Jesse Kornbluth, Head Butler. and picked up by the Huffington Post.

YES!YES! This is what we live for here! Another convert to our art form!

Makes my day. Keeps me going as I have for *gasp* 35 years.

AT THE LOUVRE NOW: The Louvre series we’ve been publishing.

Just back from France and the Angouleme Fair which went quite well, all exhibitors I talked to were happy with attendance and sales which is certainly nice to hear, good news amongst all the bleakness around these days.

lourve.jpg

On my way back from Angouleme, I made a point of stopping by an exhibit that just opened up at the Louvre museum and will run until April about comics!

Specifically it’s about the series of books they’ve been co-publishing and that we’ve been bringing out here in the States, namely Glacial Period by Nicholas De Crecy which I’m happy to say is in a 3rd printing already and Museum Vaults by Marc Antoine Mathieu.

While not exactly vast, it’s in a big vault-like room in the basement (echoes of Museum Vaults?) where you can see the foundations and oldest portions of the Louvre dating back to 13th century (possibly earlier) and it presents the originals as well as work in progress on the next books in this series.

Here’s where you can find more information on this at Louvre site and here you can get a lot of the images of the books out and forthcoming.

The exhibit shows stunning art of the next book we’ll most probably bring out later this year by Eric Liberge, called At Odd Hours which tells of a deaf person whose semi-fantastical meanderings though the museum and actual communication with its works change his life.

Following that will be the much awaited volume from Bernar Yslaire (also known as Hislaire and many other versions, quirkily enough). Also visually stunning, Sky Over the Louvre will happen during the French Revolution, a very important turning point for it, as it went from King’s palace to public repository of France’s art. This part of the exhibit had screens showing the gradual work in progress by the artist in creating his pages. Hislaire is quite famous in Europe for a number of series and books including Sambre and Memoires du XXeme Siecle.

But also, fascinatingly, a fifth book is now added and announced there… by a prominent Japanese artist! Hirohiko Araki of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which is published by Viz here is presently working on his story based on the Louvre which is set to come out in 2010. We’ll be publishing it as well here. Not much was shown of this yet, except a very pop poster/cover, its working title is Rohan in the Louvre.

So, if you can make it to France, go see this exhibit! A proud moment for comics to make it into the Louvre. Heidi McDonald in her The Beat blog had mentioned this before but this is not actually the first time this has happened. Back in 1967, a famous exhibit was put up about the history of comics with huge blow-ups of frames by Caniff, Raymond, etc… that helped to turn public opinion around in France on the value and artistic merit of comics… Its book was a personal revelation for me as well, at the ripe age of 14 (bought a few years later, ain’t that old!)

Terry