Paul, the event book

Paul, the event book

DAY

Michel Rabagliati is the comic book author of several firsts: crowned not once, but twice at the prestigious Prix d'Angoulême, winner of the insignia of the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec, named to the rank of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France, first artist of the 9thQuebec art to see one of his albums adapted on the big screen. And now it is the subject of a sumptuous monograph, another first to be added to the impressive list.

Anyone who could have predicted such a trajectory in 1998 when Paul in the Countryside was published was a smart move. At that time, the national environment was struggling to recover from a gloomy decade, marked among other things by the disappearance of the magazine Croc, which gave pride of place to the medium during its 15 years of existence. However, nearly a quarter of a century later, the iconic character is undoubtedly part of Fleurdelysée popular culture. How did its creator pull off such a feat? This is what the exceptional monograph, simply titled Paul, allows us to discover.

Hybrid book

Structured around a hearty and very pleasant interview led by Michel Giguère, comics mediator from the Old Capital who has been presenting a monthly conference for fifteen years, the book is sprinkled with analytical segments that blend quite naturally in conversation. A wise choice, as the series introduced countless readers to comics. 

« I had the advantage of knowing his work and had received it in as part of my Comic Book Rendez-vous in the fall of 2009. And like all readers of Paul, I felt like I knew him a little,” says Giguère.

“During the first lockdown, I found myself having time for the first time. As the desire for a book dedicated to Paul had been with me for 12 years, I decided to throw a pole at Michel. » 

Paul opens with a drawn sequence where the two Michels sit in the backyard to chat, as if the work were an extension of Paul à la maison, Rabagliati's most recent album released in 2019 . 

“I hesitated for a long time to embark on this type of project. I had the impression of having delivered myself a lot in my books, and did not see what else I had to say ”, explains Rabagliati. “Then, who could pilot this type of project? We needed someone to connect with. When it came to Michel Giguère, as the relationship was good, I accepted. » 

Indeed, their exchanges flow naturally, to the point where we have the impression of be there. Giguère was the man for the job, without a shadow of a doubt.

One of the great qualities of Paulis that it can be read in one go. However, such an undertaking is risky, because different segments (interviews, photos, archives, analyses) brought together in a single work can easily become indigestible. 

The complicity of the two Michels and the extraordinary soil of the corpus explored make this book an event in the publishing world. Not only thanks to its great beauty, but because it allows us to see how far Quebec comics have come. Finally, the medium, like cinema, theater and literature, has reached the necessary maturity to in turn generate monographs. This first foray, however, sets the bar very high for the following ones. After all, neither Paul nor Michel Rabagliati and Michel Giguère want to. 

IN THE MARGIN OF PAUL

In anticipation of the passage of Michel Rabagliati in dedication, the French bookstore La Parenthèse commissions the artist Romain Dutreix, who can be read in the pages of Chained Duck and Freezing Fluid, to produce a parody of Paul in the North. Printed in 500 copies, the hilarious satire opens with Michel Rabagliati angry at having to replace Paul at the last minute. The comic book character placement agency then offers them a kind of Terminator which, having no regard for good feelings, comes to destroy the status quo with bazooka blows.

Artist Cyril Doisneau (< em>Thou shalt not kill, Food diary) attends the 31 days of filming of the film adaptation of Paul à Québec. Armed with a notebook and a pen, he lifts the veil behind the scenes of the first Quebec film adapted from a comic strip, capturing tasty anecdotes through a spontaneous and thrown line. The album, which can be read independently of the film, is also one of the first BD reports on the 9th art of Quebec.

These two modestly-printed albums were produced in the part of a bookstore promotion. By purchasing two titles from the Les Paul series, Quebec readers had the opportunity to get their hands on Les extras de Paul, while those in Europe, through bookstores members of the Canal BD network, were able to inquire about Crumbs. The content of these beautiful objects (advertising tapes, unpublished tapes, reproductions of ex-libris) is included in full in Paul. Unless you are a collector, no need to ruin yourself!