Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Signing / Dédicace

I will have a signing, together with French cartoonist Rica, at comic book shop Azimuts in Montpellier, 13 Rue St Guilhem, Saturday June 2, 3.30 PM.

Page One

... from Lost Cat. (Wait... have I already posted this?)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cigarette 11

Kiss Me Deadly

Ralph Meeker is private detective Mike Hammer, a caveman in a suit going around and bitchslapping various people, trying to find out who killed Cloris Leachman. Also starring Jack Elam in a non cowboy role. And... what's in the box? Directed by Robert Aldrich.

I accidently caught this film on tv years ago, not knowing anything about it, but recognizing Mike Hammer from having read some Mickey Spillane novels. Mike Hammer is a mean bastard - you can see a link from this character to James Bond. The opening credits of the film goes downwards instead of the usual upwards, creating an impression that something is wrong right from the beginning. It has an amazing black and white cinematography from Ernest Laszlo. Car scenes seem to be shot in the street, and not in a studio using back projections. You can see why the French nouvelle vague directors liked it. There's a scene showing what I assume was the Angel's Flight funicular in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles. And wow, the ending...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cigarette 8

King, Queen

The Man Who Would Be King

Sean Connery and Michael Caine are almost like a British version of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It's a bit interesting that this film, using a couple of matte paintings, ends up looking more convincing than some modern action films like, say, Troy, with thousands of soldiers fighting on a battleground, since your brain tells you that obviously has to be CGI. The film is an adventure story, almost a fable, so the colonialism angle isn't too bothersome. It's not worse than Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom in that regard.

The African Queen

Don't go bumpin' into no hippo. This film actually could use some CGI. Uhm, yes... that maybe ruins my point about the previous film. Hmm... But when they travel down the waterfalls on the boat it's clearly a mix of models and back projections. It dates the film somewhat. Hepburn looks her age. Bogart is very funny and likable, pretty far from his usual tough guy persona. Unfortunately, there's a weak, happy ending that is a bit hard to believe.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New development

Apparently, there's been some development on the film version of I Killed Adolf Hitler. It will be directed by Timo Vuorensola who did Iron Sky. I wish the guy the best of luck. My assistant tells me Steven Spielberg is on the phone so I have to go now. Ciao! Let's have lunch! Have your people call my people!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh Detective, where art thou?

I took a break from the detective story, to get some distance and be able to see it with fresh eyes, but am now back on track. I'm somewhere between half finished and two thirds done. And yes, the name of the detective is Dan Delon. A good comic book name, I thought.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Swan, Moon

Black Swan

Finally watched this film. I skipped it in the cinema – at no big loss, it seems. I found it to be Aronowsky's weakest film so far. He's never been a subtle director, but here he takes a step into Oliver Stone Country. The film is very one note - Ooh, the mirrors! - harping on the theme of doubles. There are plenty of horror film scares, but it's never really creepy – not in the way the best Polanski films are. It's another film that would maybe have been better without CGI – if they'd rather gone for more creative solutions. Also, and a bit of SPOILERS here, I don't find the way Nathalie Portman loses her mind towards the end to be credible. The mix of things that really happen and things going on only in her head never really adds up. It's a movie version of losing your mind, not how it would be in real life. I guess! Maybe, who knows...

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson has one problem: his second film, Rushmore, was a masterpiece, and all his films after that have been... good, but not quite as good as Rushmore (Fantastic Mr Fox being an exception). Moonrise Kingdom is a step up from Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited but still... I wish we had spent some more time with the adults. Possibly that would have tipped the film off balance, but none of the adults seemed as real as, say, Seymour Cassel's character from Rushmore. Even though the actors, including Bruce Willis, do a good job. But I think I liked the film, and look forward to re-watching it on dvd. Visually the film is a delight, as always with Wes Anderson.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Man, Bogart

I know, it doesn't really look like him, but yes, it's supposed to be Humphrey Bogart. An early attempt at cross-hatching.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"We drove

with the windows down. The mild spring evening, after several frozen winter months, was like a foreigner breathing in our faces."

Denis Johnson, Jesus' Son

Man, desert

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ah, merde!

The little shop where I used to buy my milk and bread has closed down and been replaced by a new, bigger shop with bright colours and lights. It was already a chain shop, 8 à huite, and is now taken over by the owner, Carrefour, but before, it was a bit dark and dusty, a place where I didn't feel completely out of place. Now it's become this ugly, shiny monster, looking pretty much like the kind of supermarket I tried to avoid shopping at in Norway. With the exception of little, old ladies, I don't really see who would want this new place, looking very much like an eyesore on what used to be a pretty charming little street. Why does everything have to become so ugly and soulless? Really, is this progress? Ugh... I will have to find some new place to shop now. Hopefully I won't have to end up walking for ten minutes to go get my youplait yogurt that I thought was in my fridge but turned out I ate all of yesterday.

Man, chair

I switched the numbers. The drawing is really from 84.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I got this drawing

...during the signing at Desert Island in Brooklyn. I don't remember the name of the guy who gave it to me, but thanks anyway!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

it was just a little while ago

almost dawn
blackbirds on the telephone wire
as I eat yesterday's
forgotten sandwich
at 6 a.m.
on a quiet Sunday morning.

one shoe in the corner
standing upright
the other laying on it's

yes, some lives were made to be

Charles Bukowski

Friday, May 11, 2012

Henrik Ibsen Superstar

It's a bit hard to translate what old Hank Ibsen says here - I'm not sure if there's a good English word for "digte" - but basically it's that as a writer you need a life experience to draw from, if not you're just writing books.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


...I watched The Avengers and will report that I was bored out of my skull. I found it in English and in 2D, but after only 5 minutes I realized I had done a mistake in buying a ticket. Maybe it's because I'm an... adult, a 46 years old man? I just felt no connection at all to the story and the characters. Granted, there are some very funny scenes, showing there is room for humour in a superhero film, but the story was just some slapped together old sci fi tropes about oh, some portal to another world, an invasion from outer space and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Who's in danger? A lot of people, apparently. Millions! Yawn... The Spider-Man films got repetitive with poor Mary Jane being rescued all the time, but at least there you cared a bit for a minute or so what would happen. No, I'm afraid the train is gone. The smoke puffs are getting smaller. The sound of the engine is getting weaker. Etc. I have seen my last super hero movie.

Okay, I might do a last exception for Batman, but that's it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ah, New York...


(apologies to Allen Ginsberg)

America I have returned to Europe and my feet hurt
America I walked around in Manhattan and peed in the corners, marking my territory
Manhattan now belongs to me
America I only did three sketches while in New York
That's not very good at all
America you are too big for my sketchbook
Yes, that is the reason
How do I fit in the sky skrapers?
America will you sign your photo for my nephew?
He's a big fan
America do you want me to strangle Paris Hilton in her sleep?
America I'll do Kim Karblooshistan as well
Two for the price of one America
Well, you can think about it
America these are the books I bought in New York
C by Tom McCarthy
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
Angels by Denis Johnson
You have many good writers America and Johnson is one of them
I got another book as well
Various Positions; A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel
but I got that book in Toronto
I'm sorry America yes, I've been unfaithful
Will you ever forgive me America?
America these are the books I picked up at the Fantagraphics stand
Love and Rockets New Stories no. 2
Murder by High Tide by Tillieux
Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus by Macherot
New York Mon Amour by Tardi
Yes, it's another book about you America
What else is there to tell about?
Your dreams are filling my European brain
The neighbors are complaining about the noise
America I got a cold in New York
No I don't really blame you
I should have worn a sweater
I get colds easily
It was stupid of me
Why am I telling you this America?
America I don't know
America when will the first black, lesbian atheist be elected president?
America will the last buffalo be served as a hamburger at McDonald?
America when will the flying cars come?
Come on America
America we are waiting for you
You have to show us the way America
We still want to believe in you America
America I'm lost in your airports
America am I holding my map upside down?
America is this train going uptown or downtown?
America is that person holding a gun?
Will you look for me America?
America I knew that you would

Written while jetlagged. Thanks to everybody who came out for the signings. It would have been a bit lonely if you hadn't. Thanks to Benjamen, Desert Island, Peter and Chris of The Beguiling, and Jacq, Kristy, Jen, Mike and Janice of Fantagraphics who politely faked interest while I rambled on endlessly about my unhappy childhood in the coal mines and my theories about who built the pyramids (The pharaoes, I tell you!) Okay, I'll go to bed now.