Tag Archives: french

Visual Oddysey

Ulysse Malassagne!

Lesser artists cringe, turning paint-stained pants away from the dark figure in the doorway.

Ulysse Malassagne!

He enters, returned after a long journey to find his banquet hall full of miscreants and vagabonds who merely pose at craftsmanship. He bares a shining sword. No one says a word. A few ragged beggars begin to file toward the door.


I’m not sure how to transition from that gripping intro to the normal blog post. Really it was just a dumb joke based on the fact that his name sounds like Ulysses and his blog/portfolio is called Oddysey. Just forget it.

Ulysse Malassagne is an artist and storyteller from France with a wonderfully loose and imaginative style.

Malassagne_New Companions_2010Ulysse Malassagne, New Companions, 2010

He’s perhaps best known for writing and illustrating the graphic novel series Kairos, which was launched with a very cool book trailer (animation directed by Malassagne).

KAIROS Trailer from Studio La Cachette on Vimeo.

The first two volumes of Kairos are currently available, with one more to come.  To my shame, I don’t have the money to buy any of them. Hopefully I’ll scrape together some cash later this summer.

Malassagne_Kairos_2013Ulysse Malassagne, Kairos Tome 1, 2013


Ulysse Malassagne, Kairos Tome 2, 2014


Ulysse Malassagne, Kairos Tome 1, 2014

There’s been a movement in the past few years towards what I’ll call the “Really-Fast-And-Quick-And-Sort-Of-Crap” school of drawing, embodied and largely inspired by the show, Adventure Time.  I have a beef with this school simply because (1) it has so many followers, and (2) it’s not visually rich.

But I love loose artists. Loose doesn’t necessarily mean “Sort-Of-Crap”, any more than it indicates a lack of effort, and Ulysse Malassagne is a prime example of a loose style, executed well.

Malassagne_TheHouse_2010Ulysse Malassagne, The House, 2010Malassagne_Poster_2013Ulysse Malassagne, Poster, 2013

Looking through Malassagne’s work, I get a sense of his genius for character, setting, and tone. As he tells stories that can only be told with pictures, his work takes on some of the rampantly original flavor of Miyazaki. If we were to cut this guy open, we might find liquid creativity in the place of viscera.

Malassagne_voeux_2013Ulysse Malassagne, Happy New Year, 2013  Malassagne_The Soul of the King_2009Ulysse Malassagne, The Soul of the King, 2009
Malassagne_Searching the Plain_2010Ulysse Malassagne, Searching the Plain, 2010

Malassagne_Jade_2013Ulysse Malassagne, Jade, 2013Malassagne_Anaëlle et la gouvernante_2010Ulysse Malassagne, Anaëlle and the Governess, 2010



Chat Noir

It’s a two-cup day.

I came into the office not even planning to write a blog post about the brilliant Blacksad novels by author Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido, but then I had a cup of coffee.

It’s been a while, coffee. I haven’t had you all week. I haven’t felt the mad downhill rush, the exhilirating exuberance of caffeine coursing through my drug-dilated veins in nearly a week now.

You’d have to be in my shoes to see the thought process. One cup down- what the H? What the H do I care. H, I’ll have two F-n cups of coffee. Because it’s D good.

I’m drinking the second one right now. Maybe I’ll have another after this one. Do you know how many cups it takes to kill a man? Like, 54. I’m nowhere near that.

I’ve only been in the office for 45 minutes and I’ve already written a short-story with my right-hand (I’m left handed). I feel efficient. Here comes the blog post.

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_01Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

Blacksad is a terrific series of noir graphic novels, published primarily for a French market. They follow the twisted career of John Blacksad, a cat private eye with a dark past as he unravels mysteries of sinister dimensions.

What do I love about this series? A lot of things. A H of a lot of things.

Blacksad_within shadows_2000_03Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: Within the Shadows, 2000

Blacksad_within shadows_2000_02Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: Within the Shadows, 2000

First off, the animal-women in these books are smokin’, in more ways than one. Like, I mean they’re hot. And I’m not referring to their physical temperature.

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_04Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_02Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

Second off, the lighting is beautifully atmospheric. The characters move through planes of sunlight and shadow, giving credibility to a bygone world that never really existed. The visuals remind me of a good film.

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_03 Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_06Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

Blacksad_A Silent Hell_2012_05Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: A Silent Hell, 2012

And thirdly, the characters- they’re so well executed. These are the best animal-people I’ve ever seen, better even than (dare I say?)… forget it. I can’t even think of any animal-people that rival these.

Mix all of this story goodness in with themes of racism, class conflict, and religion, and you’ve got something that far transcends the realm of funny-animal comics.

Blacksad_arctic nation_2003_01Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: Arctic Nation, 2003

Blacksad_within shadows_2000_01 Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: Within the Shadows, 2000

Blacksad_arctic nation_2003_02Guarnido and Canales, Blacksad: Arctic Nation, 2003

My patience-fuse burns short. To conclude: Blacksad is great, you should pick up some of the books, especially A Silent Hell.

Thanks for reading. Thanks!