“In the space of thirty years, I have witnessed an extraordinary comic strip boom. At the end of the 1980s, comics were still series, the boards of which were pre-published in magazines for children before being compiled into 48-page albums. When this market shrunk in the 1990s, it was as if comics had taken a huge breather. Gradually, she made her revolution.
The graphic novel comes directly from this liberation from limiting shackles. More places, more diversity of subjects, a larger and more diverse audience… She was then able to take paths she had never explored, such as autobiography, history, the adaptation of literary novels. There was a desire among the authors to develop more mature, more complicated, and above all longer stories – up to 300 pages. From these books, which are in fact nothing more than long comics, readers expect them to easily bring up subjects of great complexity. The Choice of Unemployment (1), by Benoît Collombat and Damien Cuvillier, met with great success by tackling a difficult subject with simplicity and rigour.
Comics now have this ability to inform without being indigestible. The drawing can transcribe beautifully, without artifice, the bond created during meetings. Marco Rizzo and Lelio Bonaccorso did it with great talent in Aboard the Aquarius (2), a work produced after boarding an SOS Méditerranée boat. The result is as hard as it is soft. The text that accompanies the drawing, short and striking, must fit completely with it and complete it. We have to find ways to say through drawing what we don’t have the space to put in the speech bubbles. The information is then disseminated between the two, without there being a break.
This allows the graphic novel to reach an extremely varied audience, from very young adults to grandparents. Some get there by the subject, others by the author. They may have always been comic book lovers, like having abandoned it when they were children. I thus met, on the occasion of signatures of my graphic adaptation of the book of Sorj Chalandon, Profession of the father (3), fans of the novel delighted to be able to offer this version to close relations that literature does not seduce. The strength of the graphic novel is to build a bridge to bring them together in the middle, around a beautiful narration. It’s great, isn’t it? »
(1) Futuropolis, 2021, 288 pages, €26.
(2) Futuropolis, 2019, 128 p., €19.
(3) Futuropolis, 2018, 232 p., €26.