Today at the Comics Journal, we're proud to share Oliver Ristau's insightful and impossibly open interview with Catherine Meurisse, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist whose memoir, Lightness, was translated into English and released by Europe Comics earlier this year. The book, a graphic novel where Meurisse processes the murders of her colleagues and the upheaval of her own life in the aftermath, is one that has gone somewhat unacknowledged in the US so far. Thankfully, Oliver's interview--which has made its way through multiple languages to even exist--begins the journey of remedying that situation.
There were no selection criteria, because the whole book was made by instinct. As I was saying earlier on, the shock of the attack made me lose my intellectual faculties for a few months. I was unable to think, to form sentences, my imagination was totally blocked, as if some of the parts of my brain had been unplugged. My memories and my culture had disappeared, but drawing and comics require a solid culture. I was terrified by the idea that I might never be able to draw again. I started to write and draw in a large sketchbook in order to not become crazy, to try gathering fragments of myself, emotions in particular. I did not want to let any part of me escape. Colors came to me because they had to: In the opening scene, in front of the ocean, I chose dry pastels because it couldn’t be anything else. For the pond scene, it couldn’t be anything else than watercolor. I opened up some color boxes randomly, instinctively. This graphic disorder at the time matched my inner disorder. La Légèreté is a huge gathering: There are the dead and the living, black and color, writing and drawing, sadness and humor.
Today's review comes to us from Tegan O'Neil, who dug into a black and white comic about a vigilante that seems to have very little in common with the majority of things that could share that description: it's Bald Knobber, by Robert Sergal.
Bald Knobber distinguishes itself for being a narrative about masked vigilantism in comic book form that avoids any clear parallels to super hero material. There’s one reference to his mask being “Janky Batman,” which is fairly descriptive, but also a telling anachronism. The fact that Bald Knobber is about a disgruntled kid who puts on a mask and sets about to beat up a bully without echoing any spandex tropes is impressive. That’s the point of the book, really – there’s nothing at all good about vigilantism, no nostalgia to be mined, just weird and shady shit from dark chapters of the nation’s history. The point isn’t particularly subtle but it’s not particularly trying to be: Cole puts on a mask and acts out, and this acting out earns him scorn and distrust.
Last week's Jog review, like many Jog reviews before it, had me jumping to pick up my own copy of a book that had gotten him so pumped. Along with my shipping confirmation, I got a linked to a whole mess of Lale Westvind animations I'd either never seen or not seen in years. That's where I'm at, and now, you can be too.