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blog of the day 29.04.2004

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That wonderful clear line
Tuesday 13 May 2008
In 2003 Comic Art Magazine published a two-part article by Paul Gravett that is one of the best introductions and histories to the ligne claire (clear line) school of comic art and storytelling (and a huge thanks to Paul Harrison-Davies for sending me those articles originally!)
Part one dealt with Hergé and the development of his style - fascinating stuff - but it's part two that provides rare information for English-language readers on the development of that style and the artists that continued to fly the banner for what became an important and enriching force in comics, especially within Franco-Belgian bande dessinée.

I've since come across these articles a couple more times - Paul used them as the basis for a talk on Tintin he gave at the Greenwich Maritime Museum in 2004, and now he's generously put them online for everyone to read. You can see part one here and part two here. Make yourself a cup of tea and go and read them!

When I was selling The Rainbow Orchid at comic festivals, I of course got many comments about the obvious Tintin influence - but these were all from British readers. The handful of European comic readers that I spoke to (French and German mostly) didn't actually mention Tintin at all, and seemed to be more accepting of my story on its own merits, due to the fact, I'm sure, that mainland Europe has a strong tradition of that school of comic art.

Yves Chaland's Freddy Lombard in 'The Elephant Graveyard' (1982)

While I'm perfectly happy with the Tintin comparisons (in fact I love 'em... Hergé is a major influence), I do light up when someone looks at my work and mentions Chaland, or Floch, or Jacobs. If manga was not so ubiquitous, and Astroboy was its prime example in the UK, as Tintin currently is for the ligne claire, then any artist working in the manga style today would be compared to Tezuka, I've no doubt. Things may be changing a little for the Franco-Belgian tradition - Cinebook were at the Bristol Expo this weekend and Oliver is having a huge success with his newly translated albums - he's got a terrific selection and I'm a regular customer.

For some related posts on this subject you can read my manga and style piece and on a more personal level, my entry on two long-time favourite books.

posted 13.05.08 at 10:45 am in Comics | permalink |


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Julius Chancer, The Rainbow Orchid, story, artwork, characters and website © 1997 and 2016 Garen Ewing & inkytales