Pico Bogue is a little boy who triggers laughter and emotion as surely as his predecessors – Mafalda, Charlie Brown and Little Nicholas. Authors Dominique Roques and Alexis Dormal tell us about creating Pico Bogue and take us behind the scenes of this phenomenon that has now entered the Europe Comics catalog with volume 1: Life and Me.
How did you come up with the idea of Pico Bogue?
DOMINIQUE ROQUES: I loved the worlds of Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, Mafalda. These characters gave us the idea for the series. I’ve put together notes, thoughts, impressions I have collected throughout the years, and gave them to Alexis to illustrate. It took months to take Pico Bogue from those notes and into his current daily life.
ALEXIS DORMAL: I immediately felt in the right place when I read my mother’s scripts. Perhaps because we share the same ideas in life. Therefore, when looking for a graphic style for Pico Bogue, I was looking for one that would represent me entirely.
You chose to give the reader a combination of freshness, subtle humour and poetry, which goes against current market trends in the world of comics. What explains this approach?
ROQUES: The world of Pico is ours. No one pushed us towards it from the outside. But that’s the world that we wanted to enter. Obviously, we built it using the things that affect us. Nonetheless, we do what we want. What I’m trying to say is that we did not use the current market trends to go for or against us. We’ve placed ourselves right next to the others. I love all genres if they are fresh, funny and poetic.
To which extent are your gags inspired by reality? How big is the autobiographical influence?
ROQUES: It’s autobiographical to the point where the real world makes me smile, makes me cry, makes me scream like Anna and Pico scream. From time to time it’s fully autobiographical (for example “The Little Girl with Matches,” where Pico’s mom cries).
DORMAL: Yeah, I remember that time my mother burst into tears and I was laughing… Now I look like a total bastard. Next question…
When reading Pico Bogue we think of the best in the genre – Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Mafalda… Could you tell us more about the influences that guided you while creating this book?
ROQUES: All of the ones you listed. But I’ve also learned a lot from Franquin, Goscinny and Uderzo, Sempé (enormously) and other more contemporary authors like Ferri and Larcenet. And there is Bretécher and F’murrr. The joy of living – Geluck. I can go on and on…
DORMAL: I’ll continue! In addition to the artists my mom mentions, there are writers and illustrators such as Art Spiegelman, Ian Falconer, Harry Bliss, Edward Sorel, Charles Addams, Voutch, etc. And when working on color I was inspired by the watercolors of Hopper and Homer. Sergent and Delacroix albums always lay open on my desk.
Pico as well as his little sister seem to fall in line with all the “intelligent kids.”
ROQUES: Intelligent kids? Of course my kids are intelligent. There’s no doubt about that!
Source: Dargaud.com. Header image from Pico Bogue © Roques – Dormal – Dargaud