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Archive for the ‘European’ Category

Translation: Poison River and the vertiginous ellipsis

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Derik Badman takes apart translates an article originally written in French in which David Turgeon takes apart Gilbert Hernandez’s Poison River and sees what makes it tick for French site

The density of narration, the abundance of situations in a limited space, and the compressed representation of time all participate together to give the story a schematic impression. In other words, Hernandez tells his stories in broad strokes, showing details only when necessary. Among other things, this allows him to age his characters significantly in only a few pages or to show the type of large-scale social or political evolutions that would be difficult to notice were the story told “step by step.” On the other hand, these characteristics seems to prevent a certain degree of fluidity in the story.


Written by The Department of Illustration

September 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm


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Derik Badman writes a brief post on Grandpapier, a project started by Belgian publisher L’Employé de Moi. The site features work in French and English as well as a number of wordless strips.


Recent Comics Bureau postee Darryl Cunningham comments on Derik’s post;

I was recently asked if I wanted to contribute to GrandPapier, and have now been doing so for a number of weeks. I find the style of the comics on the site to be so much more playful than US or UK comics. There’s a real freshness about the approach there which made me realise how staid English language comix have become.

Looking at the quality of the work, this is a hard opinion to disagree with.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Samandal, a Lebanese comics magazine

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Check out Samandal, a Lebanese/French/English comics magazine. This stuff is really great – a real variety of styles, content and backgrounds, and what I think to be a very worthy mission statement;

Samandal is a non-profit organization that aims to lift the stature of comics to that of a mature art form capable of tackling more than superheroes and their baffling hairdos.

Get on over to the site, you can download the first few issues as pdfs. If you like what you see, why not drop them a line to tell them so or submit some work. If you are anywhere near Gosh! Comics, you can pick up a hard copy of Issue 5.


Written by The Department of Illustration

August 20, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Who do you write for, and how to improve

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Norwegian comics writer Olaf Solstrand writes up some good advice for publishing webcomics.

While you may make a great webcomic, I guess it’s not really a comic about webcomics. So why focus solely on webcomic fans when building your readers? Take what your comic is really about and use that to win readers.

Although his article focuses on webcomics, I think that the principle remains the same for most comics. Marketing comics to a comics crowd is very much singing to the choir.

Olaf also writes a very interesting article on improving.

This is what improvement is all about: Realizing what your greatest weaknesses are, and changing them. If you believe that you are perfect, you will never improve. Everybody has mistakes — you need to find yours if you want to get rid of them.

The basic idea? You suck – figure out why!

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 18, 2009 at 6:59 am

A history of Irish comics

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Patrick Brown of has started a very interesting history of Irish comics;

It’s difficult to compile a history of Irish cartooning from the available secondary sources. Most cartoon histories use cartoons to shed light on historical events and contemporary attitudes, and have little interest in the cartoonists and their art. For obvious reasons, political cartoons are well represented in such histories, but cartoons on more general subjects are of little interest to historians and are much harder to find. Compiling a proper history would take years of research through newspaper and magazine archives, backed up with the knowledge to place styles and trends in Irish cartooning, not just in their historical context, but in the context of styles and trends in cartooning and art generally, and I’m in no position to do that just at the moment. This article is based on the knowledge I have, in which there will obviously be huge gaps, but we have to start somewhere.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Comics, European, History

Lewis Trondheim

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Following a recommendation by Aiden Smith, here is a good review of Lewis Trondheim and Olivier Appollodorus’ Bourbon Island 1730 over at Madinkbeard, which discusses POV and narration.

A ten page preview is available at First Second Books.

If you haven’t heard of Lewis Trondheim before, have a look at his website, read up on L’Association, read his interview on The Comics Journal and buy all his books.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

Lucy Kinsley in Paris

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Lucy Kinsley, author of French Milk returns to Paris with her boyfriend and keeps a travel diary – Paris Journal.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm