License request day: Journal

August 28, 2009


JL_2_-20I don’t just want English versions of comics from Japan, you know. And since I seem to be casting my eyes towards France today, I’ll make it a theme and request… beg, even… that someone takes a crack at Fabrice Neaud’s Journal.

In fairness, there is a Japanese connection here. I first became aware of Neaud’s work in Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s wonderful Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators. (Neaud was one of the 17.) Here’s my reaction to his contribution, “The City of Trees”:

“I’m particularly desperate to see more work from Neaud after reading ‘The City of Trees.’ As Neaud explores Sendai, seeing its sights and eavesdropping on its people, he peppers his narrative with flashes of his inner life. Experiences can unexpectedly call to mind bits of his own pain or heighten his sense of isolation. But they can also please and soothe him. It’s three-quarter travelogue, one-quarter confessional, all rendered with a wonderful eye for detail.”

JL_1_-p-005A few years later, I’m still particularly desperate. Over at Prism Comics, François Peneaud included Journal among the “Top Ten Comics for LGBT Readers”:

“Fabrice Neaud is a unique author in French comics (or bandes dessinées, as we call them). He’s a member of the Ego Comme X group (‘ego as x’, pronounced ‘ego comix’), and the only gay artist there… His Journal (‘diary’) is among the best comics coming from France, for its strong point of view and its constant inventiveness. I think it would suit quite well either Drawn & Quarterly or Fantagraphics.”

Ego Comme X has published four volumes of Journal so far, about 800 pages total. Two of those volumes have been published in Spanish as Diario by La Cúpula. And I must repeat myself when I note that none of those volumes have been published in English by anyone. Someone should fix that.


Birthday Books: Joann Sfar

August 28, 2009


The Comics Reporter notes that today is the birthday of Joann Sfar, the wonderful and prolific French cartoonist. I haven’t read any of Sfar’s comics that I wouldn’t happily recommend, so I’ll cheat and suggest two.

First up is Klezmer (First Second): “Klezmer tells a wild tale of love, friendship, survival, and the joy of making music in pre-World War II Eastern Europe… Tragic, humorous, violent, and tender, Klezmer’s rich watercolor art and simple but moving story-telling draws you into the lives of these fascinating characters.” Here’s my review of the book.

Next is a companion piece of sorts, The Rabbi’s Cat (Pantheon): “The preeminent work by one of France’s most celebrated young comics artists, The Rabbi’s Cat tells the wholly unique story of a rabbi, his daughter, and their talking cat–a philosopher brimming with scathing humor and surprising tenderness… Rich with the colors, textures, and flavors of Algeria’s Jewish community, The Rabbi’s Cat brings a lost world vibrantly to life–a time and place where Jews and Arabs coexisted–and peoples it with endearing and thoroughly human characters, and one truly unforgettable cat.” Here’s my review.