Reading List: Manu Larcenet

reading list

October 8, 2018

Manu Larcenet. You utter that name in the corridors of any Franco-Belgian publishing house and practically everyone’s got something to say about it, comic book fans or not. Larcenet is easily one of the most celebrated artists of the 21stcentury, hailed as a genius by critics, collaborators and comics fans alike. His presence is as regular on prize lists as it is rare at media events. But this is an artist who has come a long way, with a past shrouded in anguish. He has now been involved in the industry as a professional for over 20 years. And he’s proud of what he’s achieved. According to Larcenet, it’s not a question of luck or chance, but simply the fact that his life’s intention has been to get where he is today. Here we present to you some of Manu Larcenet’s  most notable works.

Ordinary Victories

Marco’s left town for the countryside. He’s left his psychologist because he feels he’s doing better. He’s quit his job as a reporter because he’s had enough of photographing corpses. He gets himself a little cottage in the heart of rural France, where he lives with his cat, Adolf. He throws out all his work, and cuts ties with his employer. That night, he has his first panic attack. It’s not long before he meets the lovely Emilie, and also the wise and good-natured old man who lives in the cottage just across the way… but who, it turns out, isn’t exactly what he seems…

Cosmonauts of the Future

It all starts in a school playground, and then it moves to a classroom, where Larcenet’s superb graphic camera zooms in on two ten-year-old kids: Gildas and Martina. The pair of them are ever so slightly obsessed with Sci-fi. To the extent they think they’re surrounded by robots and aliens. As far as they’re concerned, their entire world is made up of false appearances, and they’re soon to be the victims of a huge intergalactic plot! You read, you smile, you snigger. But then suddenly, it’s all turned on its head

Blast

A man – filthy, stinking, alone and obese – is taken in by the police. We don’t yet know what he’s done, or why he’s there. But he’s going to tell us his story. The story of a man who strives to live by his own rules, free from the bounds of socially imposed morality and norms, an ambition inspired by one blinding, ecstatic, vivid moment of ultilmate perfection in life and existence – The Blast. He makes the only choice possible for him after such an experience: he leaves everything behind and sets off to live, really live, in the wild, on his own. This first volume is a homage to the acute beauty of nature, solitude and feeling alive. And to the pain and brutality necessary for this man to find his way to another, purer, more complete level of existence. But is the mysterious ‘Blast’ really what it seems? And so the interrogation begins.

Back to Basics

Aaah, the countryside! Fresh air, green fields, home-grown vegetables… the dream (or the nightmare) of all city-dwellers. Well, this is the tale of when it became Manu Larcenet’s reality. One fine day he and his partner Mariette packed up their urban life and set off for the little village of Ravenelles (population of 89 people, including a pretty baker). When, like Manu, you’ve lived your whole life in a Parisian suburb, the rural life can be quite the shock to the system…

 

Header image: Blast © Manu Larcenet / Dargaud