A Cartoonist’s Diary

Tom Scioli: Day 3

The show is good, but I still haven't seen the Angoulême everybody talks about. I've always heard of the sea of comics-crazed fans clawing at every book in sight. Pitzer seems like he's sweating it a bit. Coming out to Angoulême was very expensive. Add to that the fact that the French government slapped a massive tariff on the  advance copies of American Barbarian that the printer shipped here. Everybody I talked to about it said that amount was unheard of. The most they'd get is three percent of the wholesale value. This was something like 15-20% of retail.

The books were shipped right around the time that the French economic crisis went into high gear. I think some customs agent opened a box and saw a red-white-and-blue-haired American Barbarian taunting him.

Pitzer said if the book was just called "Barbarian" the tariff might not have happened. It's a bummer, but I think it's kind of funny. The book is gaining a legend.

Chris and I were able to talk a good bit about the book itself. I was able to tell him about the various things I was trying to accomplish with it. The first time I've really talked to anyone about it to that degree.

Things turned around after the afternoon, the show picked up steam and all the worries were for nothing.

Some podcasters from Orbital Comics in London, Tom and Simon, stopped by for an interview. First question: What do you think of Angoulême? It was difficult for me to say because as much as I love what I've seen so far, from what everybody's telling me, I haven't seen the real Angoulême yet. Everybody's talking about tomorrow. "Wait until you see the insanity of Saturday." I'm looking forward to it. At this point the recording machine died. They apologized and asked if we could try again later.

Chris and I went back to the chateau for dinner. Lisa made baked ziti. It was really good, and a nice taste of home. We watched France 24 to see if we could catch my interview, but it had already run earlier in the evening and wouldn't be rebroadcast until Monday. I got an e-mail from a production company interested in the tv and film rights to American Barbarian. These things often go nowhere, but it was pretty cool seeing as how the book doesn't "actually" come out for another two months.

Tom Scioli is the author of American Barbarian and the co-creator of Godland.