Coming in the spring of 2012 from Drawn & Quarterly, The Making Of —published this autumn, 2011, under the title De Liefhebbers in Belgium and Les Amateurs in France —is the new offering from Flemish cartoonist/visual artist/musician Brecht Evens, who shook the English-speaking comics world by the lapels last year with his gorgeously illustrated graphic novel, The Wrong Place (which regular readers will remember received a “Heads Up” and a capsule review here at RCN):
Via Amazon, here’s the publisher’s description of Evens’s new book (ISBN-10: 177046073X; ISBN-13: 978-1770460737):
The Making Of is the follow-up to international sensation Brecht Evens’s Eisner-nominated debut, The Wrong Place. With lush watercolors and his characteristic wit, Evens details the fumbling, amateurish foibles of the participants of a small art festival in the Flemish countryside. Pieterjan is invited to a small town as an honored guest. From the moment he arrives, things start going wrong, and since no one seems ready to step in, Pieterjan takes over the show. He decides to build a giant garden gnome as a symbol of Flemish identity, but the construction process brings buried tensions to the surface as the other artists become jealous of Pieterjan’s authority. In The Making Of, Evens delves deep into the petty tensions, small misunderstandings, and deadpan humor that pervade modern relationships. With a keen eye for the subtleties of body language, Evens’s The Making Of builds on the iconic visual style showcased in The Wrong Place, which was published around the world. Sweeping watercolors jump off the page, surrealist scenery intermingles with crowds of people, and small suburban plot homes have never looked so lovely.
For me, any painted graphic novel by Brecht Evens is a must buy! How about you?
Available this month from Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly:
Here’s the publisher’s description:
The Wrong Place
Rendered in vivid watercolor where parquet floors and patterned dresses morph together, Wrong Place revolves around oft-absent Robbie, a charismatic lothario of mysterious celebrity who has the run of a city as chaotic as it is resplendent. Robbie’s sexual energy captivates the attention of men and women alike; his literal and figurative brightness is a startling foil to the dreariness of his childhood friend, Francis. With a hand as sensitive as it is exuberant, Brecht Evens’s first English graphic novel captures the strange chemistry of social interaction as easily as he portrays the fragmented nature of identity. Wrong Place contrasts life as it is, angst-ridden and awkward, with life as it can be: spontaneous, uninhibited, and free.
Full Color, 184 pages, 6 7/8 by 8 1/2 inches
$24.95 US / $27.95 CDN
A short PDF preview of The Wrong Place can be downloaded via this page, but as someone who already owns the book, I have to say, the scans don’t really do justice to Evens’s sharply observed, lushly layered, boldly spontaneous sequential illustrations limned in coloured ink, gouache, and (in places) coloured pencil. Although I wasn’t anywhere near as convinced of irresistible charm of the elusive Dionysian antagonist, Robbie, as his various friends and acquaintances seemed to be, and felt the story was a bit slight overall — it takes about 25 minutes to read all 180 plus pages of it — I was entranced by Evens’s kaleidoscopic evocation of the complex social swirl of urban night life, and immediately flipped back through the book, after reaching the end, to re-examine various scenes. Yes, Evens’s artistic ambition sometimes leads him to force the symbolism of his characters and situations. At his best, however, Evens creates richly suggestive patterns through the organic development and juxtaposition of particular human interactions ranging from intimate moments of inadvertent or intentional self-revelation among acquaintances, friends, and lovers, to grand and colourful gestures calculated to wow crowds of strangers. Fool that I am, I will even go so far as to predict that, by this time next year, The Wrong Place will have been nominated for several major awards for graphic novels in English and will have won at least one or two. And to think that the lion’s share of the book was completed, near as I can figure, in the same year that Evens graduated as an illustrator from Sint-Lucas Visual Arts, Gent… well done, sir!
The Wrong Place is Brecht Evens’s first book published in English; the second will appear early next year from Top Shelf:
Here’s the publisher’s description:
by Brecht Evens
$7.95 (US) UPC 094922048837
Lush colors, wild imagination, and rich human themes collide in the Top Shelf debut of Belgian cartoonist Brecht Evens (The Wrong Place). Night Animals is a deluxe full-color comic book containing two wordless stories, each a feast for the mind as well as the eyes. Join an innocent young girl as she becomes a woman and learns where the wild things are, then follow a rabbit-suited man as his blind date becomes the epic journey of a lifetime. These gorgeous, bewitching tales are not to be missed! — A super-deluxe 48-Page FULL-COLOR Comic Book, 6.5″ x 9.5″
SHIPPING IN MARCH 2011!
Right after breakfast this morning, I emailed my preferred local comic shop to place my order.