Just back from France and the Angouleme Fair which went quite well, all exhibitors I talked to were happy with attendance and sales which is certainly nice to hear, good news amongst all the bleakness around these days.
On my way back from Angouleme, I made a point of stopping by an exhibit that just opened up at the Louvre museum and will run until April about comics!
Specifically it’s about the series of books they’ve been co-publishing and that we’ve been bringing out here in the States, namely Glacial Period by Nicholas De Crecy which I’m happy to say is in a 3rd printing already and Museum Vaults by Marc Antoine Mathieu.
While not exactly vast, it’s in a big vault-like room in the basement (echoes of Museum Vaults?) where you can see the foundations and oldest portions of the Louvre dating back to 13th century (possibly earlier) and it presents the originals as well as work in progress on the next books in this series.
Here’s where you can find more information on this at Louvre site and here you can get a lot of the images of the books out and forthcoming.
The exhibit shows stunning art of the next book we’ll most probably bring out later this year by Eric Liberge, called At Odd Hours which tells of a deaf person whose semi-fantastical meanderings though the museum and actual communication with its works change his life.
Following that will be the much awaited volume from Bernar Yslaire (also known as Hislaire and many other versions, quirkily enough). Also visually stunning, Sky Over the Louvre will happen during the French Revolution, a very important turning point for it, as it went from King’s palace to public repository of France’s art. This part of the exhibit had screens showing the gradual work in progress by the artist in creating his pages. Hislaire is quite famous in Europe for a number of series and books including Sambre and Memoires du XXeme Siecle.
But also, fascinatingly, a fifth book is now added and announced there… by a prominent Japanese artist! Hirohiko Araki of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which is published by Viz here is presently working on his story based on the Louvre which is set to come out in 2010. We’ll be publishing it as well here. Not much was shown of this yet, except a very pop poster/cover, its working title is Rohan in the Louvre.
So, if you can make it to France, go see this exhibit! A proud moment for comics to make it into the Louvre. Heidi McDonald in her The Beat blog had mentioned this before but this is not actually the first time this has happened. Back in 1967, a famous exhibit was put up about the history of comics with huge blow-ups of frames by Caniff, Raymond, etc… that helped to turn public opinion around in France on the value and artistic merit of comics… Its book was a personal revelation for me as well, at the ripe age of 14 (bought a few years later, ain’t that old!)