This is what it looks like.
You won’t believe this, but it took exactly 39 work weeks to begin and complete the 176 pages of new artwork (and 24 revised pages) for Out on the Wire. It’s practically a baby, you guys. I took photos of my piles every few days while I was in the studio (i.e. not in August, when we were in the USA, for example), and made this animation of a big fat comic book being drawn.
I’m still doing some cleanups, and the book is not wrapped yet, but it will be on time, in your hands this August 25. (Preorder now! Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio) More to come in the next weeks and months about this big fat baby, now that I can think straight. (In this way, a newborn book is utterly unlike a newborn human.)
Thanks especially to my production team, particularly interns Ryan Brewer, Bastien Nerre, Dido Drachman, Justine Sarlat, and especially my background-drawer and (not very) secret weapon Matt Madden.
** ça y est: pron. “sa ee ey”, means “it’s all wrapped up.”
Whether you’re a friend, fan, or fellow cartoonist, you probably know that January is a very busy month for comics in France, as it is once again time for the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée here in Angoulême. In addition to the usual festival craziness, this year’s event will be particularly exciting for me, as it will mark the first time I’ve originated a book in French, with a French publisher, thus achieving a goal I set for myself the very first time I went to FIBD, back in 1998 (although then I said I wanted to do it in 5 years). True fact. Ask Tom Devlin.
Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars from Editions Dargaud. For preview pages, diagrams, and book trailer visit the Dargaud blog.
Last year I helped Abby Denson put together a guide to eating at and generally getting through the Angoulême festival (which is actually called le Festival International de la Bande Dessinée, aka FIBD). Abby’s list of tips is still pretty current, and really covers most of what you need to know to survive in style, so for this year’s festival I thought I’d up the ante and make more of a food-lover’s guide to Angoulême.
First of all, my perspective is that whether you’re ordinarily a foodie or not, if you’re coming from abroad to France, you expect to eat well even if your primary purpose in coming is comics. But it’s all too easy to end up eating mediocre bistro food (i.e. chewy steak with ungreat frites) or kebabs the whole time. None of which really gives you the flavor of where you really are, which is, in this case, southwest France. So let’s start with the basics. Continue reading
Since I’ve spent the last three years doing a deep dive on audio storytelling (narrative nonfiction radio and podcasts), the last two and a half of which I’ve been in France (where practically no one has heard of this stuff, not even This American Life) this moment of vast cultural freakout about how awesome podcasts are (hello, Serial!) feels super-strange to me. I mean, good-strange, like, hey, maybe I’m not crazy for drawing a 200-page comic about how they make this stuff! I might need a new tagline for it, though.
“Coming in August 2015: Out on the Wire, a 200-page comic about how one makes audio that’s sort of like Serial.” Continue reading
Every time I turn around these days, I encounter this wave of angry feminist feeling emanating from Twitter, the internet, my friends. It simultaneously thrills and energizes me, and makes me miserable to realize how much horrible shit still happens all the time to women because they are women. Not like I didn’t realize it before, but day to day awareness of these facts had receded somewhat from my consciousness.
I came of age in the early 90s, which was another period of intense feminist feeling (at least I felt it that it was). I may be wrong, but I feel like feminism and awareness of women’s issues had faded from everyone’s consciousness throughout the ’00s. I remember feeling really alone, thinking and talking about problems women face. Maybe it’s evident from the way I’ve phrased the last couple sentences: I don’t really trust my perceptions about all this: is this just my own awareness ebbing and flowing, or is there something real happening right now? I think and hope the latter. It’s beyond time.
I recently remembered this strip that I did in 2005 for the LA Times. I’ve redrawn a bit of it and added a title. I grew up in the 3rd and 4th tiers, and I feel like we’ve almost reached the bottom tier now—the great unknown. It makes me laugh, and most of you will never have seen it before, so I thought I’d post it here. I’ve also made it available at my new Zazzle store. (along with a mug and a t-shirt version, that have the two tiers above on them). Check it out, and get one for your favorite mouthy female (or male, for that matter).
Click through to read the whole strip.
Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars, by Jessica Abel
Friends, it gives me a lot of pleasure to announce that the first moment I put my hands on a copy of Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars (vol. 1 of 3), I was standing outside a comics museum, watching a roller derby demo. Thomas Ragon, my editor, had put a lot of pressure on the Dargaud studio to get the book printed two months before the official release date, so I could be standing there on the chais Magelis, wiping a light drizzle off the fresh, offset-printing-ink smelling pages. Continue reading
Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars will have its avant-première in a week and a half, which means I’ll finally get to put my hands on the actual cover of this book, that I’ve been working so long and hard on. This is the final cover, the one you’ll see if you get a copy yourself.
Getting to this cover, however, was a long and complicated process. I’ve been working on covers for lots of books lately, sending in rough sketches for Out on the Wire (really rough, not ready for prime time), and trying to come up with covers for all three volumes of Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars now, before the first one is even out.
Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars is coming. Volume 1 on sale January 29 @ FIBD (Festival International de la Bande Dessinée, AKA “the Angoulême festival”.
Dédicace avant première (pre-release signing) at the Librarie de la bande dessinée et l’image, Angoulême 29 Nov.!
I’m sitting in Paris, in this biodynamic and organic wine bar (Complètement BIO! Pas de sulfites!), having an extra glass of wine just because I’m in town for a meeting and I’m on my own tonight and why not. I’m reading an Aleksandar Hemon article in an old New Yorker, about how he absolutely owned Sarajevo, he felt like the geography of the place was imprinted on his soul. And then he happens to be out of the country when the siege begins, and then he doesn’t go back for 10 years. He’s losing the geography of his youth and unwittingly overwrites it with Chicago, which happens to be the place where I imprinted….
All the places in his story are my places, and at my moment. I might have seen him walking down the street any time. We overlapped five years, years during which he was engaging, and I was disengaging.
And I know its the three glasses of wine, and Hemon is an awesome writer, but I feel absolutely melancholy about what I’ve given up in leaving Chicago. And yet I can’t quite imagine moving back. When I visit, the geography of my youth is gone, only the street grid remains. Which is sort of what he says, too.
And just as I’m thinking, why don’t I have a home with that imprinted geography anymore why did I give that up? I look up and one of the bartenders is animatedly demonstrating how she wants to add a shelf over the back bar to the other one. In Japanese. Because they’re Japanese.
Why did this Japanese couple open a bar in paris? Don’t they miss home? Are they Parisians now? What does that mean? (Parisian? Japanese? Home?)
If you ask, I’ll tell you: you should go live abroad somewhere for a while. I tell this to all my students, and to any young narrative artist who is curious.
For the last couple years, I have posted Facebook pix of Matt’s birthday cake, which is always pastel vasco. In response to a few recipe requests, voila, my first cooking post. I didn’t know I’d be posting this, or I’d have made a bunch more food-porny photos. Too late now, it’s all gone!
Pastel vasco, also known as gateau basque, is the national pie/cake of the Basque people in southwest France/northeast Spain. Matt and I first had it (basically everywhere) in San Sebastian/Donostia (that’s the Basque name for the town) in 2006, and Matt fell deeply in love. Me too, although perhaps not as ardently. Continue reading