Wednesday, November 26, 2014

VIS-A-VIS "French Bande Dessinee Meets LA Comics" UPDATED 2/23 with link

Stuart Ng Books was a guest vendor at this celebration of French Culture and comic arts ...

The program booklet included this description of the event:

"An event organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Los Angeles, in partnership with UCLA's Department of French and Franco-phone Studies and the Institut Francais.

For its third edition, the French-American literary event VIS-A-VIS will focus on comics and their adaptation to the screen."

Here is the front and back covers of the program booklet:

 And here are the introduction pages...

Stuart was invited by Meltdown Comics owner Gaston Letelier and Adelaide Barbier, Cultural Attache from the French Embassy Consulate General of Los Angeles,  to set-up a mini-SNB at this event and provide sales of French comics related to the speakers, artists and topics presented.  
What a wild ride! I had not been to Meltdown Comics and Collectibles before. 

Both a retail store and a comics culture gathering spot in its quintessentially Los Angeles location on Sunset Blvd, Meltdown has an amazing reputation and did not disappoint. ( )
The setting was Meltdown's Nerdist showroom ...
... a  cozy stage and theatre space t the very back of the the Meltdown Comics store. The store was open and busy while Vis-A-Vis happened in the back, behind a door and a black velvet curtain... like a speakeasy for French comics fans.
Stuart was on hand the entire afternoon ....along with our staff member Amber..
AND we had a special assist from former SNB crew chief .. the amazing Mary (below left).  Mary  took a break from her law school studies to stop by and help out! 
There were two speaker sessions. During breaks between the speakers, attendees could browse and purchase the books. There was a very informal meet-and-greet opportunity at the end of the afternoon, and attendees could chat with the artists and get their books signed....

For both panels, the conversations were spontaneous and briskly delivered commentaries featuring tales from the trenches. The audience was holding on to their seats...The frisson of all the creative energy of the american and French artists along with the crowd made the room feel electric. 

The first panel was moderated by author and editor Jim Higgins (far left)... and featured (L to R ) Trevor Alixopulos, Dan Panosian, Edward Gauvin and Fabien Vehlmann.
The second panel was moderated by animation scholar and author Charles Solomon... 
(L to R Charles Solomon, Abel Lanzac, Arthur de Pins, John Pham, Jul and Jim Higgins)

Among the topics discussed: ---
  • the challenges of animating stories and characters that had previously existed only as two-dimensional drawings;
  •  the impact of silent film and film noir staging and lighting on telling stories in a bande dessinee format;
  •  the choices involved in telling a story in visual panels and determining the timing of actions and events in comic format vs. animation
  • the culture of indie comics vs mainstream, and the influence of french artists on both
  • can a writer can ever really write for a "universal" audience
  • the translation of classic stories into modern films (ie Tin Tin)... and the challenges of adapting language, culture and references from French and European source material into American comics and books
These are only highlights ... both panels covered a lot of creative-process territory and included questions from the audience at the end.

More photos from the event --- and a nice link back to this report -- on  French Culture website

After the program, Stuart enjoyed discussing books and projects with some of the guests...

The artists even enjoyed a round of signing books to each other. 
Stuart Ng Books has long featured the work of guest artist Arthur de Pins. He's pictured below signing his book ....

The "Arthur de Pins Artbook" has been a long-time,popular seller on our website ... ..

He's also known for his French comics series Peches Mignon. Below is the cover for volume 4
His most recent series is Zombillenium. Both volumes have been big hits with our patrons.
Zombillenium has been translated into English... 
We have both volumes in stock --

Here's the cover of volume one

Many thanks to all the hardworking folks behind the scenes at Meltdown .... 

and bien sur, merci beaucoup for the gracious hospitality of Adelaide and Antonia from the French Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Consulate General of Los Angeles. For more info on other French Culture events in the Los Angeles area, visit the Consulate website.

For those unable to attend the event .. here's a sample of some of the books and artists that were featured:

Abel Lanzac ... (art by Christophe Blain)

Fabien Vehlmann ...  art by Kerascoet.
Fabien also wrote the popular Green Manor series (artwork by Denis Bodart)

To see additional french and  import titles, use this link to "imports" page on the Stuart Ng Books website
And now FYI, some "Bride of Bookseller" commentary from Amy ..... 

The most commonly asked question about foreign art titles at Stuart Ng Books is:  "Do these books come in English?" 

Unfortunately, the answer is usually "Sorry, no". 

We all struggle with the translation issues, and how to cope with them. There are cultural differences as well as slang and story-telling traditions that often get lost in the process of transcribing the texts. Regrettably, Stuart does not speak or read French. He has always selected his French books for the art... and he selects for art that conveys a story through the artists skill with visual images. 

When you see a foreign book at the SNB website or booth, you can trust that the art inside will tell its own story. Stuart doesn't just present best-selling or prize winning foreign titles. He isn't ordering books off of lists or recommendations. Stuart travels to France to personally go through the entire contents of books he is considering. Only then can he see all the art (not just a few images). He views the books with his unique criteria, keeping the needs of his discerning artist, collector and student patrons in mind. There are thousands of BD books published every year. When customers tell us "these book are all so good" they confirm he has successfully curated his selections. This is the service he provides. He finds what they are looking for.

Over time, Stuart has become renowned among US animation artists for his ability to discover European artists who are not only good ... but whose work is inspiring to peers and leading artists in their fields. Stuart has been travelling to France annually since 2005 to attend the Angouleme Comics Festival, where he meets with artists and publishers and does most of his "golden retriever" work. In the last few years, several European comics have been translated into English. We have no connection with that process... EXCEPT that (again, Bride of Bookseller commentary here.. ) I have noticed that many of these books first appeared in the US via Stuart's website and booths at conventions. 

It was the work of French artist Claire Wendling that launched Stuart's French adventure. He first traveled to France back in 2005 specifically to see an exhibition of her work at the Angouleme Comics Festival. Since then, he has been fortunate to become a friend (and publisher) for this icon in animation art ... but that's another story ...

Wendling "Desk"  Sketchbook  Published by Stuart Ng Books

Wendling "Daisies"  Sketchbook Also published by Stuart Ng Books

Wendling "Les Lumieres de Amalou - Integrale"  complete 5-volume series of French Bande Dessinee  French import. Arrt by Wendling, written by Christophe Gibelin

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