Régis Loisel, Peter Pan has just been published in English from the original French. Written and illustrated by French artist Régis Loisel.
Régis Loisel, Peter Pan: Today I went to the Institut Français in South Kensington to hear him speak about one of his adult comic books, which has just been publised in English. I actually got to chat to the artist, who speaks very little English and so I had to use my French, which is still quite basic at present. He is a multi-award winning artist, who happens to write and illustrate beautiful comic books.
The book took Loisel fourteen years to create, which is why it is so important to him. His take on Peter Pan is as far removed from the sugar-coated Disney version that it could possibly be. The first book in the series is set in the seedy, dark and grimy world of Victorian London. Peter's mother is an alcoholic prostitute, who hates Peter and shows him no love at all. So he is really nothing more than a street urchin, an orphan. An orphan with, to use Régis Loisel's description, a psychological crack. Jack the Ripper also features in this book, along with his infamous murders. Throughout it is implied that Peter could be Jack the Ripper. Is he? Or isn't he? Loisel says it is up to the reader to decide for themselves, but only he knows the real answer. The story in this first book leads up to the point where Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie starts his tale. So a very dark Peter Pan indeed.
The book has been published by Soaring Penguin Press, and is available now, at www.soaringpenguinpress.com. You must buy a copy!
The book like so many French comic books is aimed at adults and not children, and it is a respected and thriving industry in France. So much so that when the Institut held a comic strip competition for a local French-speaking school, it was the French ambassador that got involved! It was once thriving here, but alas died many years ago. However there are publishers around trying to revive the industry, and one in particular that is publishing volumes of French comic books, painstakingly translated beautifully into English. They are called Cinebook and talking to a Aldous, a representative of the publisher today, I found out that it takes around two years to produce a new bande dessinée album, the original work to write and draw it in French. Wow - how about that for perfection? The Managing Director, Olivier is French, and was at todays event, but was busily deep in conversation, so the last thing I wanted to do was to butt in! If you would like to find out more about Cinebook, then check them out by clicking Cinebook right here.
Rather than my work today here are two covers taken from Cinebook's latest catalogues! Worth taking a look at them. There are some truly spectacular French comic artists out there!
Watch out for my next post all about my upcoming lecture at Sidcup Library. Quentin Blake is lecturing too - can't believe I have been billed alongside the great man - humbled I am!