Comic strip: an autumn signed Moelle graphik
BID À DAY
The modest editorial structure based in the old capital to which we owe in particular the extraordinary Traces of moccasins by Louis Rémillard, the fabulous collective René Lévesque, something like a great man and the hard-hitting You destroyed the beauty of the worldby Christian Quesnel, Isabelle Perreault, André Cellard and Patrice Corriveau is doing it again these days with two of the flagship albums of local production of 2022.
Giants at the feet of argile
There are albums that inhabit you, make you waver and go through you like Le petit astronaut by Jean-Paul Eid and Paul à the house of Michel Rabagliati. A new album of this so rare and precious wealth is emerging in bookshops these days after 7 years of hard work: Giant with feet of clayby Mark McGuire and Alain Chevarier. Remember these two names, you will hear about them for years to come.
Two dads at home befriend each other after a meeting at the gymnasium of the school their children attend, one, sullen and almost 7 feet tall, the other, affable. Both fraternize quickly, share a common passion for basketball and discuss their parenthood. Both face their wounds and will try to overcome them to break the cycle, in their own way.
“At the start, there were three male characters. Then we made the choice of authenticity, autofiction. We drew the courage from within to make it happen,” says screenwriter Mark McGuire.
“We also opted to stage two progressive men, the perfect vehicle for exploring certain blind spots,” adds the illustrator, who admits in the same breath that he has returned to drawing thanks to Isabelle Arseneault, whose sensitivity and evocative power graph emanate from the same source.
The album tackles the distress of men head-on. A taboo subject, it goes without saying, and yet one of the most current as Quebec faces an unprecedented wave of feminicides. It also asks the questions: are we doomed to transmit anger as a genetic defect to our sons? How can the modern man free himself from the toxic masculinism and the classical role to which he has forced himself for millennia? “If he can help readers, so much the better. It was important that our comic open a masculine space to express emotions,” adds McGuire.
Nurtured by Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, The Best we could do by Thi Bui and Ordinary Combat by Manu Larcenet, the duo, supported by the artist and publisher Marc Tessier, worked side by side, inspiring and surprising each other, arriving thus to a perfect fusion.
Dense and dark, the story offers moments of hilarity as a counterweight, moreover offering a luminous finale. Doing useful work, Giants with Feet of Clay invites both women and men to dialogue and openness, as we live in a world that is more polarized and divided than ever. A giant work, firmly anchored, necessary.
The survivors of eternity
For 30 years, Quebec cartoonist Grégoire Bouchard has worked in a vacuum to construct the mythology of his Canadian aviation hero Bob Leclerc, an astonishing cross between Frank Hampson's Dan Dare, Sampayo's Alack Sinner and Munoz and Dog Boy by Charles Burns, whose The survivors of eternity, an extraordinary fourth album dedicated to him, has just been released.
After his previous mission where he annihilated the Martian civilization (Read The Silver Nightmare, then Terminus la terreto Eds. Mosquitos), we find Leclerc in 2059 in Montreal City, far from the rancid smells of Ontario Street at the end of the 1950s of previous albums and whose aesthetics are reminiscent of that of the Jetsons, in order to narrate the strange fate of Jim Flash, singer, actor and racing driver whose origins date back to Atlantis.
Like every new delivery by Grégoire Bouchard, it is to a breathtaking narrative and pictorial prowess of 274 pages that he invites us.
“I work in complete solitude, the reader is non-existent in my mind. Just like Hergé, I draw in a purely selfish way,” says the artist.
Apostle of a subversive second degree, he borrows as much from EC Comics as from the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock and the outmoded aesthetics of Catholicism. Interested in the aging of form, Bouchard's tragicomic stories portray characters dispossessed of their sanity of body and mind. Each box is full of detailed and sharp lines, from which emanates an impeccable direction of actor. Nothing is left to chance, nor any corner of uninhabited space, for that matter. Although in a totally different key, Grégoire Bouchard shares an undeniable kinship of spirit with the late Henriette Valium, refusing like him to tend towards graphic purification and devoting himself entirely to his universe.
“ Comics made me unhappy until I was 40, until I made Towards Distant Worlds. I had the feeling of being a vulgar jobber inhabited by great ambitions.
After four years of hard work to produce The survivors of eternity, the Emeritus illustrator has since resumed work on the next album, finishing the inking.
You won't regret a penny of the $60 invested in this new masterpiece. Each new Grégoire Bouchard album is an event, and an opportunity to take full measure of his genius.