In France, comics are called bande dessinée and they are huge. Railway station bookshops devote at least twice as much shelf space to graphic novels as W.H. Smith in the UK give over to prose novels. On a recent trip to Ypres, my co-editor on To End All Wars, Jonathan Clode, discovered local museums displaying racks of comics books about WW1 in their shops, including French translations of Charley’s War. By comparison, he couldn’t find a single title at our Imperial War Museum, not even the uniquely British Charley’s War.
France further boasts a sub-species of journalists and critics who work exclusively within the bande dessinée world. They have their own professional Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée, with a website that provides critical appreciation of the flood of work that issues from the nation’s creators, a list of their year-on-year most highly rated top fifty titles, and presents coveted annual awards. So it was no surprise to find the French streaks ahead of any British critical comics arena in wanting to interview us about the forthcoming anthology. ACBD asked just three questions, one with a twist, and you can read the English version of our answers here.
But we are delighted that The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has invited us to contribute to this year’s nod to the centenary of the war, which will feature Charley Adlard’s White Death (soon to be republished but in a French language edition), Dutchman Ivan Petrus’ three books on the war and, of course, Charley’s War. TEAW will be providing an illustrated session on editing comics that will feature both editors, plus a writer and an artist who suffered at our hands. We are told we were tough but inspiring editors, so come along and learn something.