Sunday, 25 November 2012

Rebus Books: Barrel of Monkeys by Ruppert and Mulot


This is my pick for “Book Of The Show” for the 2012 Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Fest.
-Brian Nicholson

Robot 6 have a nice interview with Bill Kartalopoulos on the founding of his new publishing house Rebus Books, the first release of which is the English language translation of Florent Ruppert and Jerome Mulot's Barrel of Monkeys. Here are some excerpts from the piece:

On the motivations of setting up Rebus books:

'I’ve been pretty fortunate to travel to France several times over the past year or two, and have had a chance to see a lot of European work that hasn’t been translated into English and meet a lot of artists at comics festivals and events in Paris, Angouleme and Amiens. There’s really a whole world of interesting work that we only see bits and pieces of in the U.S. I’ve already spoken with a few people about future publishing projects, some of them European and some of them American. In both cases, I’m planning to publish pre-existing work. There are a lot of European artists who haven’t been published in North America yet, and there are a lot of American artists who have done good work that I think would benefit from being collected and presented in a new format.'

On Barrel of Monkeys:

'Barrel of Monkeys is Ruppert and Mulot’s signature book. It won the Prix RevĂ©lation at the 2007 Angouleme comics festival, which is pretty high profile in France, and has been translated into German, Finnish and Italian.

Among Ruppert and Mulot’s many books, this one makes a very strong first impression due to the sheer variety of formal and visual techniques on display. One of the thing that Ruppert and Mulot like to do is to play with perception, and push the boundary between image-making and representation. Their figure drawing is very careful, with extremely naturalistic body language, but their characters are drawn in a kind of sketchy way, topped off with schematic faces that look like masks. The images almost dare you to believe in them, while constantly reminding you that they’re artificial. And that’s a jumping off point for narratives that use these puppet-like characters to perform and endure some pretty bad behaviour. But it’s all done with a light touch, a wry sense of humour, a dash of surrealism, and a kind of austere elegance that gives the work a tone unlike anything else out there.'

It pleases me no end to see more non-English language European comic work being translated in order to make it accessible to not-good-at-languages people like myself. There's some truly amazing work being done around the world and it's incredibly frustrating that it's not available to a wider audience. Really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of this: the sketchy, fine-lined art, angles and layouts appeal to my aesthetic sense. You can see more pages from the book here, where it can also be purchased. I'm in love with the giffed page below, from the Rebus Books tumblr- it's very, very hypnotic: don't look at it for too long!



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