Archive for April, 2006

Comics in Corsica

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Fw: photos Bastia

Cambodian comic artists
got their day in the (Mediterranean) sun, as part of exhibition BD À BASTIA.: March 30, 31, April 1 and 2.

Samples from Séras 2005 workshop were exhibited as a part of the event. (Participants were Tek Tevin, Nhek Sophaleap, Lim Santepheap, Moeu Diyadaravuth, Phal Phouriseth, Chan Nawath, Sovana Sim, Touch Rethy, Kim Samath, and Sang Sok Chamrong.)

(above: Séra rencontre)



Click for event poster, site,or press.
(Cheers to Séra and Pierre for info!)


Review: Palaces, Simon Hureau

Monday, April 24th, 2006
Review: Palaces, Simon Hureau
From Editions Cargo de La Nuit – by Pierre Andricq.
Read the original in French at:
Machine translation:
 At the time of a meeting around the Comic strip organized at the end of October 2004 in the French Arts centre of Cambodia, Alain Daniel, guest to draw up a panorama of this kind in Kampuchea, very precisely recalled it: the French-speaking comic strips treating or evoking this country are not legions.
The list of works whose screen is located at the Khmer country reduces indeed – and while seeking well – to maximum ten references among which one will find best like the worst since the album of Jacques Martin: The Column in the series of Lefranc (undoubtedly the worst) to splendid water and the ground of the French-Cambodian author Séra (Phouséra Ing) recently published by Delcourt; while passing by one of the episodes of the adventures of Sleeve-board pointed drawn by Marc Wasterlain: The green Dragon, or even the appointment of Angkor de Fromental…
At least succeeded of this production, the French-speaking reader residing in Cambodia will be able legitimately to reproach certain historical improbabilities, even in certain cases a too great distance with his reality social and economic, passed or present.
In any event, these weaknesses could not be charged to this beautiful album of Simon Hureau entitled Palaces published by Ego like X, publisher born here are ten years in Angouleme, in the “Holy of Holies” of the French comic strip. De luxe hotels is a true “paving stone” of comic strips (150 pages!) who wants to be an account of voyage in which the author puts in scene itself at the time of a visit that it returns working to European friends for a Cambodian foundation of assistance to underprivileged childhood. It “offers” an immersion in this country – out of the beaten paths – of which it returns account to the wire of seven small stories which walk the reader since the impossible to circumvent temples of Angkor until Bokor, while passing by Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, and Phnom Penh…
A genuine guide of Cambodia ultimately, at the same time poetic and very realistic, where nothing seems to escape from the glance sharp-edged from Simon Hureau: fauna, flora, the beauty of the temples, but also, the misery and distress of people still traumatized by the wounds of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Admittedly, the graphic style of this young author born in Caen in 1977 and graduate of the Higher School of Arts-déco of Strasbourg will be able désarçonner holding them of a comic strip “traditional” directly inspired by the school of the “clear line”, Palaces is essential nevertheless like excellent “a precipitate” of Cambodia of today at the same time tender, tragic and full with humour.
Ego comme X
5, rue Massillon
16000 – Angoulême – France
Date d’édition
152 pages
28 €
Pierre Andricq
Chronique “ Que lire cette semaine? ”
publiée par Cambodge Soir

sentence make sense

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

sentence make sense

from Astrogrrl:
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:36 AM
Subject: let’s zine like it’s 1995

Dear John Weeks,
I thought I would email you to alert you to the fact that Kane of Surezine is staying with Vanessa Berry at the moment, and I hung out with both of them last Saturday night and it was soooo fun! There is a picture on my blog of the 3 of us with some other friends, and it was my 15 year old dream come true(ie. dream of when I was 15, not a 15 year old dream, but I am feeling too tired to make my sentence make sense).

Astrogrrl was one of the most fun and unpretentious zines I ran across in the great small press frenzy of the mid nineties.

I’m a comics guy but once we comics folks realized that comics and zines were both (a) done through the mail and (b) both contained words and pictures a lot of critical mass started coming together.

“LOUD” featured us in their Australia wide youth festival.
The National Young Writers Festival took off and although Marcus was too busy to have sex the first year, it got better. They even had special comics segments.
The Great Traveling Zine Show was put on by Jane Curtis – now teaching English in Korea, I think.
Noise” Festival followed on from LOUD, and Next Wave followed once the kids were too old to be called ‘yoof’.

Some great moments – seeing Amber Carvan get the full media blitz by ABC, walking into the kitchen and hearing the ‘Malvern Stars’ on Tripe J, tuning into ‘Recovery’ Saturday Morning to watch Shags freak out Dylan.
Where are they all now? Some I know about (Silent Army), others are off the map (Kylie Purr, Choozy).

Got an update?
Email me. I dare ya.


Comics will break your heart

Sunday, April 16th, 2006
Hi John

It was Jack Kirby said that. I found it buried in the author biographies for ‘Seven Miles a Second‘, a Vertigo graphic novel from the 1990s. The artist on that book (James Romberger) was apparently told that by Kirby at a convention once. I then used it as the epigraph (is that the write word?) at the beginning of Hicksville (and, before that, a Pickle as well).

But apparently (now that I’ve done some googling), Charles Schulz once said: “cartooning will destroy you. It will break your heart.” So there’s something of a theme emerging here… ;-)




Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Movin’ Fast

It’s all about ‘speed’.

I’m given a random topic every week via the web site ‘”. (Late Friday / Early Saturday Morning my time.)

I try to turn them into comics that are in some way reflective of my life and surroundings here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In one week I’ve got to research it, draw it, translate it, put it on the internet, and add my link to their list. Gods, I must be insane.

Why? I’ve done comics in plenty of different styles and formats. My general approach is to draw fast. This is countered by my desire to share some of where and how I live with the rest of the world.

As the 2006 new year rolled around, I thought about how I could goad myself to draw some more comics, and noticed that a number of my friends (nod to AW, Kirrily) and other cartoonists were tackling Illustration Friday.

My thought: why not use this to spark off a comic? After a year I’d have fifty-two pages. Enough for a small collection. And since it’s drawn in Cambodia, it should be in Khmer, to enable some playing with language.

Ideally I devote Saturday-Sunday to drawing the comic, full stop. But usually it stretches into the week, often to the wee hours of early Friday, before Penelope wakes up and posts a new topic.

Usually it goes something like this:
I get the topic. I puzzle out a theme. Sometimes I write the dialogue before the comic, sometimes during, sometimes after. I’m after concision because written Khmer is usually 30% longer. And the less talky I am, the less there is to translate.

I often take pictures for reference. It’s much better to sketch directly, but I’m on a deadline, what matters is speed. Often I ask a friend to take pictures while I’m working on another part of the comic. I take the reference and lightbox it.

At some point in the week I go over the translation with my Khmer teacher. Usually I have the general translation sorted but I need to check my written Khmer and proof for nuances. I’ve worked with several different teachers, my current one is Suon Neang, (who appears in this week’s comic).

Then the text. Why typed Khmer? Again, speed and ease of reading. Typed Khmer is a lot easier to read than my handwriting, I’ve got a day job to mind after all. Recently this has been done by Moeu Diyadaravuth. I’d like to use Khmer Unicode directly on the page but this would make it inaccessible to Mac users; if it’s an image file everyone can see it.

Once the printed text is out I scan it and the illustrations. Then we then Photoshop it (with the help of Try Samphos) into Khmer, replacing the English. I’d like to try doing some color strips but that may have to wait for a time.

When I wasn’t on a one-week turnaround, (2003) I did my comics in Khmer first, then would do the English version. But the one week turnaround means that I’ve got to use every time-saving measure that I can find. Power outage? Use the window as a lightbox. Out of glue? Spit works OK, so does white out. Out of white out? Clean it up on computer. Getting close to the deadline? Submit one of the comic panels as an ‘illustration’ to bookmark my spot on the web page, until I can add the full comic.

Once a full strip is done I usually upload it, whether it’s been translated or not. By the time it’s done, Friday is usually closing in. The trick is to not attempt too much – already I’ve found ideas I’d like to explore in more detail. But for now, it’s pretty much one page a week. And that page wouldn’t be possible without the support of Vuth, Samphos and Suon Neang, as well as the encouragement of my office mates Jane and Geoff.

The site itself is three interlinked blogs: one for English, one for Khmer, one for other languages. For the ‘translation’ page I type out the dialogue, which can then be plugged into Babelfish or Google for translation.

Then come Notes (like this) and other goodies I’ve run across doing the comic: comments from friends, background on the research, sketches, photos, short video clips, MP3 songs, you name it. That’s always fun.

The final step is updating the archive:

And I’m out.
Or rather, I’m on again.

Sanity? So far holding up. Let’s see where I am when I hit the half year mark.
May have to refine the process a bit.