A short review of the French translation of the Trans books appeared on Mediapart. I asked my now-living-in-France little sister to do a quick translation:
“These two “books” are curious objects, perhaps “booklet” is a more accurate word. Reversible and (double??), four stories that are in dialogue with each other and that complete each other, written by Tom Kaczynski, edited by the independent press Alter Comics. Taking the form of a mini comic, the subject is rooted in reality and draws inspiration from Pat Kane, Momus, Richard Florida, Heraclitus, Breton, and Orwell…to explore philosophical and economic concepts. The “autofiction” form serves as a point of departure for introspection. tom Kaczynski examines the world, and his immigrant identity, his life as an author, graphic artist, and human. He invokes nostalgia and modernity, the inherent change and immutability of things. A reflection on capitalism, wisdom, urbanization, information overload, and creation. A quest that is realized through illustrations. Almost a utopia.
Also, it has come to my attention that North American Francophiles interested in this edition can get it from Amazon.ca: Trans Alaska / Trans Sibérie and Trans Atlantide / Trans Utopie.
I’ve always admired French comics, now I made one… sort of. This is something I should’ve blogged about months ago, but I got distracted by work on Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Way back in May, my Trans-series (Trans-Alaska, Siberia, Atlantis, Utopia) was published in two tiny hardcover volumes. The books are published by Alter Comics. Each one is a flip-book with two comics back to back. I re-lettered each volume and re-worked a bunch of the graphics & typography to match the translation. I’m really happy how it turned out and extremely excited to have a book in French! As far as I know there’s one French review. Any French readers out there why might have read it, please let me know what you think. I’m really curious how it plays out there.
This is also a kind of homecoming for me. I grew up on European comics (Thorgal, Valerian, Asterix, Lucky Luke, Kajko i Kokosz, Funky Koval, etc.) and I’m honored to have my own comics appear on European soil. Seeing my own work being translated, made me also realize how little European work makes it over the Atlantic to the US. It inspired me to try to bring European work state-side via my Uncivilized Books project. Some announcement about this coming real soon!
SPX 2006 turned out pretty great. The new venue wasn’t too bad, though the food around the hotel sucked. But I won’t bore you with an exhaustive account, there are plenty of them out there. No need to add to the noise. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hi.
For those that have been following my notes posts to Trans-Alaska, but haven’t been able to get ahold of a copy of the book: I have finally re-printed all three of the Trans-Books. They have brand new covers hand made on the amazing, soon-to be obsolete Gocco.
They are available on my robot26.com site. Older editions should still be available from other places.
As I started to compile my notes on Trans-Siberia, I realized there was still a couple of things left unsaid about Trans-Alaksa. If you haven’t read the first batch of Trans-Alaska notes, you can catch up here.
Trans-Alaska was a very formless book. It was done without preparation and ‘straight to ink’, without any pencilled art. It’s title was a kind of last minute tribute to a series of dreams about Alaska that I had in the mid 90s. Those dreams inspired an attempt at a 24 hour comic. Instead of producing a 24 page comic in 24 hours, I made a 10 page comic in 6 hours.
That comic saw ‘publication’ in my last (semi) regular mini-comic Reduction #7. The story, titled ‘Slow’, was quickly forgotten. Recently, I re-read the story and I realized that ‘Slow’ was in effect the blueprint for the entire Trans series!
panel from Slow
For those of you interested, I’m posting the entire story here. Also, for those of you that still care about physical objects, a limited number of copies of Reduction #7 are available from me at robot26.com. It’s pretty embarassing stuff so don’t laugh!
It’s pretty clear that a most of the ideas in the Trans books were already in ‘Slow,’ though in a very unformed fashion. It’s definitely stuff I was thinking about back then, but for one reason or another (working to pay the rent) I put that stuff on the back burner. Even some of the visuals are very similar. I guess I’m just a cheap copy of myself!
panel from Trans-Alaska