Festival International de la Bande Desinée
Angoulême, France – 28 janvier 2011

Friday began with a meeting with Marco Lupoi who is our Italian licensee and the Publishing Director for Panini Comics Italia. Marco said he is the ‘Prince of Tweeting.’ I said I had never been tweeted about.  Marco said he wasn’t sure it was polite to tweet about people in their presence.  I replied that my impression is that that was the whole object—other than journalism. So Marco sent out a tweet.  For as long as we sat with him, no one tweeted back. So my curiosity on that front has been satisfied: Twitter n’existe pas pour moi!

Now on to more serious conversations; there was a discussion by a professor named Harry Morgan in a small conference room in the Conservatoire (I think it is a Music School, very nice classroom environment).

Mr. Morgan was introduced by Thomas, one of the staff at Dargaud, our French publisher. Thomas began by talking about the Fantagraphics reprint books that will ultimately publish Sparky’s entire 50 year Peanuts oeuvre. He spoke of the difference of reading the comic strip chronologically as opposed to other reprint books, which may be thematic but are neither chronological nor complete.

Mr. Morgan, if I understood correctly, is a professor of Popular Culture and Communications at one of the many universities around Paris. He spoke of the comic strips that came before Peanuts that led up to a child’s view of the world presented within the comic strip panel.

Image of Harry Morgan and Thomas of Dargaud Publishing

Harry Morgan (left) and Thomas of Dargaud during the Peanuts discussion

Image of Harry Morgan and Thomas of Dargaud Publishing

Mr. Morgan & Thomas with an image of the first Peanuts strip projected on the wall

My hostess, and the manager of the agency that represents Peanuts in France, whispered to me a rough translation of the talk. It was very interesting and one I wish we could share with all fans, but alas, it was not written. The most interesting aspect of his talk, to me, was his discussion of the drawing style, comparing it to Cubism. Mr. Morgan explained that the manner of the drawing itself is flat, especially the outlines of figures, but the placement of the details, especially things like eyes, collars, etc. add depth to the flat abstract drawing, allowing the mind’s eye to fill in the rest of the image.  All of these points were illustrated with strips projected on the wall. This was exactly the sort of analysis of Sparky’s art that I have been hoping to hear, so it was a very exciting morning.

Image of Jean Schulz with a group of French school childern

In the afternoon we headed to what had been described to me as “a baseball game.” I wondered how one of America’s favorite past-times, baseball, would be translated onto a French school yard.  It turns out that several local schools’ classes had been divided into teams that played catch, batted (from a t-ball stand), and threw pitches into a pitching bay—all quite fun to watch. Snoopy came to cheer them on, and I don’t know whether it was the uniqueness of seeing a costumed character, or the giddiness of the whole experience, but they really mobbed Snoopy, until his escort asked them to give Snoopy a little space.



Image of baseball batter cage in France

The baseball batting area

Image of French child playing baseball

The baseball batting area

Image of Snoopy with French school children

Snoopy with a crowd of students

Image of Snoopy with French school children

Excited French school children visiting Snoopy

All in all, it was a good day for Peanuts and for me. The rest of the day was spent visiting the pavilions at Angoulême, chatting with cartoonists and other colleagues and enjoying a beautiful day in a wonderfully unique setting.

—Jean Schulz

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