Now available in paperback: You Are There, a surreal crime thriller, was a milestone in European comics, since it’s one of the first long-form works designed specifically as a self-contained graphic novel.
One of the earliest full-length, standalone graphic novels to be published in Europe, You Are There is an unexpected collaboration between the darkly cynical Jacques Tardi and the playful fantasist Jean-Claude Forest (of Barbarella fame). You Are There is set on a small island off the coast of France, where unscrupulous landowners have succeeded in overtaking the land from the last heir of a previously wealthy family. His domain now reduced to the walls that border the patches of land he used to own, the half-mad fellow prowls the walls all day, eking out a living by collecting tolls at each gate. His seemingly hopeless struggle to recover his birthright becomes complicated as the government sees a way of using his plight for the sake of political expediency, and the romantic intervention of the daughter of one of the landowners (who has her own sordid history with the politician) engenders further difficulties. Set in Tardi’s preferred early 20th century milieu, You Are There is drawn in his crisp 1980s neo-“clear line” style, gorgeously detailed, with impossibly deep slabs of black. This new paperback edition features a long introduction by Dr. Bart Beaty, situating You Are There in the context both of the history of French comics and Tardi’s and Forest’s oeuvre.
|Product dimensions:||8.10(w) x 10.60(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
There are worse things to be linked with than the image of a naked Jane Fonda spinning in zero gravity, but it should be stressed that Jean-Claude Forest’s career in comics stretches far beyond Barbarella, the 1962 sci-fi romp that ushered in the era of adult comics first in France, then worldwide. He died in 1998 at the age of 58.
Tardi is a pioneering European cartoonist. His Adele Blanc-Sec series was adapted into a feature by Luc Besson, and he was behind the recent animated filmApril and theExtraordinary World. His comics are award-winning (including the U.S.'s Eisners).He lives in Paris with his wife, the singer Dominique Grange, and their cats.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
brilliant and delicate graphic novel. the first issue was published in 1978 and it seems a mature example of the genre by today's standards. it was originally written as a theater piece, rewritten as a comic. it has absurd elements that do remind you of a play. the drawings are simple but really effective and well done. the visual narrative is impeccable in black and white. it seems like one of those rediscovered classics. it's funny, erotic and entertaining. recommended.
After a first read, You Are There is still something of a mystery to me, although clearly an entertaining and challenging one. This is a fantastical tale of a realm within the nation of France, apparently set in the early twentieth century, and involving all sorts of meditations on materialism, sanity, and political intrigue. While the plot does manage to remain relatively focused, the characterizations are something completely different, as each of the primary protagonists moves in a dreamlike state through the events that swirl around them. Jacques Tardi's black-and-white pen work is wonderful and a joy to look at. I think it will take at least one more reading for me to get my head around Jean-Claude Forest's complicated tale, but You Are There appears to be worth the effort - it's a intriguing work of art at the minimum.