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Marcinelle School

by Philippe Capart

Translated by Annick Pellegrin

Original publication: Capart, Philippe. “École de Marcinelle.” Capart, Philippe. “École de Marcinelle.” La Crypte tonique nov/déc 2012: 21-27. Print.[1]

 

In 1998, I was thousands of kilometres away from Belgium, poring over a light table in an animation studio under the Californian sun. I had brought with me issues of the magazine Spirou from the late 50s. The magazine contained in its pages some of the most beautiful creations by Franquin, Morris, Tillieux, Roba, Peyo, Jijé. I was trying to share my enthusiasm for these works with my US colleagues. Flipping through the pages of one issue, one of them had this naively violent reaction: ‘Did the same artist illustrate the whole issue?’. Appalled, I went through the magazine with him, trying to explain the profound originality of the authors of my childhood… only to gradually perceive, insidiously, the accuracy of his remark. The noses, the eyes, the ears, the attitudes, the mouths, the speech bubbles, the lettering, the framing, the colours all plotted to reinforce this appearance of uniformity. I was discovering the automatic graphic processes scattered in the pages of the magazine Spirou and that swarmed and gratified us with the famous ‘école de Marcinelle’ (Marcinelle School).[2]
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The International Bande Dessinée Society: February 2014 by Lisa Tannahill and Chris O’Neill

The International Bande Dessinée Society (IBDS) was founded in 1999, aiming to encourage scholarly discussion of the French-language comic or bande dessinée, in all its forms. Their journal, European Comic Art, (ECA), is published twice-yearly, with previous issues focusing on national identity, caricature, narration, 19th-century comic art, adaptation and other diverse themes in the European comic medium. IBDS conferences have taken place bi-annually since 1999; the most recent conference was held at the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee in June 2013.

However, English-language bande dessinée scholarship is still in relative infancy, and French-language works are seldom translated. The purpose of this new, twice-yearly column is to draw attention to both recent English-language work on bande dessinée and francophone scholarship which may otherwise go unnoticed in anglophone countries. We do not aim to cover all relevant work; the popularity of bande dessinée in the francophone world means many books on the subject are published every year. Instead we will highlight a selection of the most notable or interesting works which appear throughout the year. In this first edition we will look back at books published in 2013.

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