Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Du9's Interview With FRMK's Yvan Alagbé and Thierry van Hasselt

Yvan Alagbé, Nègres jaunes et autres créatures imaginaires [yellow blacks and other imaginary creatures], FRMK, February 2012.

You can read here (in French) a very important interview by Du9's Xavier Guilbert with two of the FRMK publishing house most important pillars: Amok's Yvan Alagbé and Fréon's Thierry van Hasselt. The FRMK or the Frémok is the result of the merging of two previous artists co-ops (no publisher would ever dare to publish what they publish because comics publishers are mercenaries), the aforementioned Fréon and Amok.

The main reason why I find this interview very important is because it touches in a couple of points that are crucial to explain why comics are not an art form among all the others. Namely the reason why comics lack intelligent readers and what are the limits of what we may call comics or not.

One of the obvious reasons why this art form is what it is in the public's view is because comics lack a critical voice in the media. In spite of what you may hear from more optimistic folks this continues to be true. Either those optimists are just that, optimists, or they lack critical standards. I said it before on this blog: let's take the city where the FRMK is based: Brussels. I know that even a city like London, for instance, is Disneyfied to cater to tourists (dumbing down, anyone?). Brussels is no exception except that Disneyland is not the inspiration. They use the Belgian history of children's commercial comics underlining the idea that comics are just meant for an idiotic consumption and not, like literature or painting, capable of serious work exploring adult themes. Whenever comics critics celebrate the new Astérix book (this one is French, I know...) a new nail is sealing this art form's coffin. 

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