Thursday, December 29, 2011


Is it a real detective story if there isn't a scene where the detective gets the shit kicked out of him?
I think not.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homage / Rip-off

Still haven't seen Tintin. I guess I'll just wait for the dvd. Anyway, here's one of my favourite gags from from The Blue Lotus. Which I then ripped off in my book, Tell Me Something.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Pianist

Adrien Brody is Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish musician trying to survive in Warsaw during World War 2. Directed by Roman Polanski.

It's a tremendously powerful film. It's less sentimental than Schindler's List. I don't think there are any scenes in this film that could have been parodized on Seinfeld. Each time I watch films like this or documentaries about the holocaust, it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this happened less than seventy years ago. It's impossible to imagine what Szpilman goes through. I normally like black and white films, but I think colour works best in this story. You are used to images in black and white from WW2, and this film being in colour brings the story closer. The film makes you lose faith in humanity, but at the same time, through Szpilman's survival, makes you believe in the human spirit.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Bruce Willis is a former police negotiator who gets the chance to redeem himself. Also starring Kevin Pollak and Ben Foster, directed by Florent Emilio Siri.

On the list of underestimated Bruce Willis films - it's a pretty short list - I think this one should be somewhere close to the top. There's something strange about this film, and it took me a while to realize what it was: It's a modern action film / police drama, but the camera isn't constantly spinning around for no reason. Sometimes it doesn't move at all! It's directed in a rather classic style by Siri, who also did the terrific French film Nid de Guêpes. It's the visual style that makes it worth watching, rather than the story that's not that much to brag about - they could have worked a bit more on the script. Bruce Willis is solid in his part and Ben Foster makes a convincing psycho. I'm sure he could spend the rest of his career doing those parts if he wants to. There is some violence towards small kids in the film that is a bit unpleasant. Also a pretty neat Sin City-ish title sequence.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fanny and Alexander

It's a bit hard to get much of a christmas feeling in the south of France, so what better than to re-watch Ingemar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, his part Scandinavian melancholia, part magic realism tale of a family in the early part of the previous century and a summing up of the director's oeuvre (Look, Ma, I used the word oeuvre!).

There are some funny differences between Norwegians and Swedes. Swedes like to sing drinking songs, something that Norwegians never do. And they often refer to each other in the third person when talking. Each time I watch this film I tell myself I should check out more of Bergman's earlier black and white films, but they have a reputation of being dark and depressing, so I never do. And where do I start? The Seventh Seal? Everything comes together for this film: The composition of the images, Sven Nykvist's cinematography, all the actors, even the two kids! and the script. A masterpiece, and the extended tv version is even better. Favourite parts: the escape, the puppet, the mummy, the scene with Ismael and Gustav's speach.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Terminator 2

I was going to watch Seven Samurai, but what's with the yelling of all the lines of dialogue? I know it's a classic and everything, but do I need three hours of this? So I stoppet it after ten minutes and rather put on... Terminator 2! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the bad ter... no, wait, he's the good terminator. Directed by James Cameron.

The film came out in 91. It's 20 years old! I've reached the age where it's almost a bit depressing to watch films like this. Where did all the years go? Sigh... Well, anyway... Terminator 1 is a better, leaner film, I think. T2 has some fat in the middle. The part where they go to kill the computer guy drags a bit. Linda Hamilton's voiceover they could have skipped and Edward Furlong is a bit annoying. The CGI stuff is still pretty impressive, but it's also the beginning of the end in a way. It's all going downhill from here on, ending up in wall to wall CGI fests like Van Helsing. The pepsi product placement also ruins it a bit, always showing up in the best scenes, dammit! Cameron knows action, of course, but he's also good with the small details. Love the scene of the T 1000 waving his finger in a no, no sign.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Unbelievable Truth

Adrienne Shelly is a depressed teenager waiting for the end of the world, Robert Burke is a mechanic with a history. Also starring Edie Falco from before The Sopranos, written and directed by Hal Hartley.

Hartley's debut film has the Hartley touch right from the beginning. No establishing shots and quirky dialogues. A small universe where the same people keep bumping into each other. Can you have faith in other people? People are only as good as the deals they make and keep. Hartley namedrops some of his heroes here: Molière and Victor Hugo. I believe the words ozone layer is mentioned in all of Hartley's three first films. It's the ozone layer triology? Why did Adrienne Shelly die so young and Paris Hilton is still alive, that's what I want to know. Hartley is an unfortunate name, because you can't say that Robert Burke is playing the typical Hartleyian hero. Or can you?

The quality of my dvd is pretty bad. The image is too bright. Strangely, some sequences from the film is repeated in the bonus Hartley interview, and there they look much better. Bit of a bummer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Watching The Detectives

I now got 100 pages begun - they're in various states of being lettered, pencilled, half finished and finished. That leaves around 45-50 pages left. I hope to have the thing finished in May for publication in French next fall and in English in spring, 13.

I like the books of Raymond Chandler and have been wanting to do something within the detective genre. Originally I had thought about doing a story in the US in the fourties, but found it might be better to have some distance, so it's rather set today in France. Also, it's more of a playful take on the genre, it's not completely straight, so maybe something a bit closer to Truffaut's Stolen Kisses. That's what I hope, anyway. We'll see how that turns out when the book is done. And the title? The title is two words, the first word is: Lost

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise is a secret agent, some people die and things blow up. Directed by Brian De Palma.

There's a new Mission Impossible film on the way. I'll probably go see it. I enjoyed the third one, even if Abrams obviously comes from tv and is used to commercial breaks every ten minutes. There was a lot of action, but not really much tension. For an example of tension, see the CIA sequence in this film. Possibly, kids today will find it slow and boring, but anyway. The second film... Actually, let's not talk about the second film. Let's pretend it never happened. The first film is clearly a "one for them" film for De Palma, it's less personal, but it's a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. The opening scene, though, with the tv image showing something that is a setup is very much De Palma. Apparently Cruise and the producer didn't allow De Palma to do any split screens. Oh, well... Tom Cruise is kind of a selfconfident prick in his role, but he's a moviestar, I'll admit. The helicopter in the tunnel sequence at the end is pretty ridiculous, but when the theme tune kicks in it's hard not to sit there watching with a big grin on your face.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jason + Lewis

Illustration done with monsieur Lewis Trondheim for an interview in M, a Norwegian comic book, from 2007.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Victors

We follow a group of soldiers in Europe during World War 2. Starring George Peppard, George Hamilton, Jeanne Moreau, Melina Mercouri, Peter Fonda, Romy Schneider, Albert Finney and Eli Wallach, directed by Carl Foreman.

I discovered this film by accident late one night on a French tv channel. I had missed most of the film, only getting the last half hour or so, but its bleakness made me want to watch the whole thing. Now, the dvd I have is 146 minutes, and apparently the film originaly was 175 minutes, so that's half an hour missing. A complete version would have been nice, thank you. It's actually a very interesting film, an anti war film in the style of the more famous Paths of Glory, and quite episodic: Characters disappear for a long time, then re-appear, without us knowing what has happened to them in the meantime. There are several memorable moments in the film. It shows an American deserter being executed, white American soldiers beating up black soldiers in a bar, even a soldier shooting a dog! Most memorable is maybe the scene of Wallach in the hospital, his face ruined. I don't understand why this film has fallen through the cracks, being so little known.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Alex Schomburg

I love these covers by Alex Schomburg, especially the science fiction one, where the woman has a 1940s hairdo. There's a collection of his illustrations, called The Thrilling Comic Book Cover Art of Alex Schomburg, published by Vanguard.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Half finished page

This is a page from the detective story. For the moment I have a lot of these, where the characters are more or less drawn but the background is still missing. This is usually how I work: the characters first, and then I'll go outside and find a street or whatever is needed and draw that in with pencil and then go back home and ink it. For you aspiring cartoonists out there, this is not a method that is recommended! Rather draw the setting first and then place the characters into that, okay?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hugo Pratt

Top five Hugo Pratt books:
1. La Ballade de la Mer Salée
2. Corto Maltese en Sibérie
3. Les Celtiques
4. Les Ethiopiques
5. Les Scorpions du désert

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Film Noir

Top five film noir
1. Out of the past
2. The Big Combo
3. Kiss Me Deadly
4. The Asphalt Jungle
5. Detour

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Detective story update

Finished pages: 20
Some details left: 15
Half finished: 19
Just begun: 2
Only 100 more to go!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Top five Moebius books:
1. Le Garage Hermétique
2. Le Bandard Fou
3. Arzach
4. Les Yeux du Chat
5. 40 Days Dans le Désert B

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Drawing done for Mike Allred. It should be in his big collection Madman 20th Anniversary Monster, out in January.