I've long believed that the strenuousness and stretch of both Mondays and Fridays should be helped along with the soothing effect of good news and good art if and when possible. So I'm feeling pretty chuffed about being able to facilitate just that by sharing a first look at a bundle of pages from Blutch's new, upcoming art-book, 'Vue sur le Lac' -A View of the Lake. The French cartoonists's name may or may not be familiar to you; he's a long-standing and widely revered member of the French comics community, where he's regarded as one of the most influential and important artists of his generation, and has been publishing work such as Peplum, Mitchum, Le Petit Christian, and more, since 1988. Blutch (real name Christian Hincker) was awarded the Grand Prix at Angouleme in 2009, but very little of his work has been translated into English. In 2013, Picturebox released the now out-of-print So Long, Silver Screen, the first full length book of Blutch's to be published in English. Resplendent with his lush painted brushwork, the book blurs anecdote and non-fiction/quasi auto-bio reportage to present a look at the impact of the cinema Blutch loved and grew up with. More recently, his volume of the almost-obligatory French cartoonist contribution to Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar's Dungeon series, Dungeon Monstres: My Son the Killer, was translated to English this year, and it seems Peplum, his adaptation of the Satyricon, may soon follow.
It's nice then, to have anything new of Blutch's available to peruse, and that it's an art-book -the first of its kind from the cartoonist- makes it accessible to new and old readers alike. As much as people buy art-books because they're already invested and a fan of a particular artist, they can serve very well as an introduction to their body of work. Due to be published by Darguad on the 28th of August, A View of the Lake is an 184-page collection of carefully selected editorial illustrations (from publications such as Le Figaro and Libération), drawings, posters, pages from sketchbooks, and even a few comic books extracts: 'As Blutch's first non-narrative book, Vue sur le Lac gives a stunning panorama of this author's talent.' Like Gipi's artbook from Comic Out, Darguad have put this together with an international audience in mind: the accompanying text will be in three languages, French, German, and English, with translations by Volker Zimmermann and Matt Madden respectively. You will be able to order it directly from Darguad's site here, but for now, feast your eyes on this 14-page excerpt of what to expect from the exceptional French cartoonist.
With thanks to Thomas Ragon for arranging the preview.