Donnie the Dweeb

Today on the site:

Matthias Wivel on L'Arabe du Futur:

In L’Arabe du Futur (‘The Arab of the Future’), the French-Syrian cartoonist Riad Sattouf remembers an errant childhood spent in France, as well as—and notably—the Libya of Muammar Gaddafi and the Syria of Hafiz al-Assad. His tone is mordantly critical, not just towards his egotistical idealist father who is the direct reason for the family’s various displacements, but more profoundly the culture he represents.

It is a great success in France, the first two volumes each having sold in excess of 200.000 copies and having received massive media coverage. The first volume furthermore won the award for best comic at this year’s Angoulême festival, and it has already been translated into several languages with an American edition due this Fall from Metropolitan Books.

And because of some tech trouble we posted Tim's stellar interview with Daniel Clowes a bit late on Friday. So don't forget to check it out.

So many of these stories have been reprinted in various books: Ghost WorldLike a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, etc. It’s interesting to revisit them in their original context, with the ads and the backup stories and the letters. It kind of changes the way you read it. 

Yeah. That was what Kim convinced me was the valid reason for doing it. I never looked at those comics after I finished them. I just stuck ‘em in my closet. To go back and kind of read through them you really get a sense of how the issues themselves were something very different than the stories that came out of them.

Were there any sort of things that you were really happy to revisit or surprised by or anything you’ve cringed at?

You know, luckily it’s all so old that I’m just beyond the cringe era. I find there’s about a ten-year window of cringing, and then it just become part of my juvenile work. You’re able to separate yourself at a certain point. I mean, there are certain things, certain drawings I look at and I know that at the time I knew that I should fix it and just didn’t have time. I regret any time I let some ridiculous, arbitrary deadline dictate the way that the artwork looks. Back in those days you had really no reason to get it out by a schedule [laughter] but Kim was always like, “We’ve got to get it out for the Dallas Fantasy Fair!” [Hodler laughs.] He always had these arbitrary deadlines and you’d go there and you’d sell twelve copies and think why did I cut all those corners to get it out for this? [Laughter.]

Do you miss the days of going to the Dallas Fantasy Fair? 

I kind of do. That was kind of the greatest comic convention, ’cause for some reason they would fly me, the Hernandez brothers, Peter Bagge, Robert Crumb, everybody that you wanted to know to Dallas, where there would be no fans [laughs] so we would just talk to each other. It was like being trapped. It was like the comic-book cruise I didn’t go on where you were trapped in a hotel. I don’t remember ever leaving the hotel the whole time when we were in Dallas.

Yeah, why would you?

Yeah, it was like 300 degrees outside and—Dallas.