Sunday, April 24, 2016

Presentation - 1st Crepax book - Fantagraphics in Porto

My experience with Guido Crepax and Fantagraphics - Porto Presentation at boémia Caffé 
Being a small child in the 70's in Portugal wasn't easy because we were under a dictatorship from 1933 to 1974.
Portugal who used to be one of the richest countries in the world because of world discoveries, that started with the birth of Henry, the navigator born in Porto in 1394 and died in 1460 and was the mastermind behind the Portuguese empire (Portuguese sailors were the first ocidental to arrive to countries such as Japan, Australia, Brazil, India and several countries in Africa) and continued with Fernão de Magalhães that was also born in Porto and his name is in all atlas of the world and that was the first man that organized the first circumnavigation in the globe from 1519 to 1522.
  In 1578 we lost our riches because of the death of our king Sebastian, who didn't leave any heirs to the throne and left us under the dominion of Spain, this leads us to the collapse of Portuguese empire   
 I think that these events gave us Portuguese a kind of longing (Saudade) and we even started to have the complex of our king Sebastian that disappeared in a battle in Africa leaving us orphans,fado's music being a direct consequence of it in my opinion.
 Porto was always a different city, it gave name to my country because we lived near the ocean, so we as a country are several ports (literally translated in the name of Portugal).
 During the arrival of our ships with soldiers to Ceuta in 1415, we gave the meat that we had to our soldiers and started eating only the entrails of the pigs (that's now a common and typical food in Porto).
 Porto was also named Invicta that means in Latin "never defeated or conquered" since with the help of english soldiers, that we've a pact with till these days, we defeated Napoleon forces two times, being the latest in 12 May 1980.     
 So returning to the first paragraph that I've wrote in this post and bearing in mind how poor we were in earliest 70's and even 80's, we started to develop interest in arts in order to forget famine among other things.
 That's how I started searching for ways to escape my reality, reading several books about world History, prose, science fiction and of course comic books in languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, English and German.
 I knew at the time that I've loved comic books because they were static and I could construct dreams in my mind with them, like some kids of my age, but this fact made me love art in movement as well such as movies, animation, tv series, theater, etc.
 I'll write a small list a lot of my interests in these areas, but it's a tiny list, since giving away names in the XXI century, it's too easy, so in my opinion, I think that people should try to search more historical, fictional and even realism  content in the world wide web by their own, to try to see what arts, history or realism could help while creating their personnality and identity (questioning always everything while being critics with facts).
 In animation, I instantly remind myself of british artists such as Phil Mulloy and Joanna Quinn, Russians Alexander Petrov, Piotr Dumala, Ivan Maximov, Portuguese animator Regina Pessoa among several others that I love.
 In movies my interests are a bit random, loved several American movies such as John Ford's westerns, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley among many others, classics, etc, Asian movies by directors such as Wong Kar Wai, Tsai Ming Liang, Kim Ki Duk among others.
 In Europe loved Portuguese director João César Monteiro, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, German Expressionism (Fritz Lang, Murnau, Robert Wiene, etc), French new wave movies with director Godard among others, Russian director Tarkovsky and the italian neo realism wave movement with directors such as Antonioni, Fellini, Visconti, Ettore Scolla, Vitorio de Sica among others.
 I'm also a soccer's fan, It's popular, it's entertainment and the energy that emanates is awesome.
 Just love music as well and I think that I couldn't live without it as well, but books were always my achilles heel, I just loved books and writers since a kid such as Kafka, Pessoa, Shakespeare, Charles Schulz, Hugo Pratt, Guido Crepax, José Muñoz, K. Dick, Cormac Mccarthy, Maiakovski, Dostoievsky, Beckett, Antonin Artaud or others less known (in prose or comics).

I've decided as series editor of Fantagraphics Crepax complete collection to do a talk that was held in 23 April 2016 in my hometown Porto at a coffee called Boémia Caffé  so special thanks to Daniel Castro for all the support.
Here are some photos of it.

Portuguese comics newspaper from 1979 "O Lobo Mau" that published part Valentina's first stories "The subterraneans storyline".

Reading the first Fantagraphics Crepax book

1st Crepax Fantagraphics book along a French edition of Valentina by Guido Crepax stories, Portuguese edition of Pauline Reage's adaptation Story of O by Crepax,  French Charlie mensuel magazines with Valentina stories and French edition of Valentina Crepax - Published by L'echo des Savannes/ Albin Michel.

Checking out The Subterraneans map with the made up language created by Guido Crepax and Luisa Crepax

Reading the first Fantagraphics Crepax book

My wife Paula Fonseca reading the first Fantagraphics Crepax book

Waiting for the talk to happen with a painted tribute to Crepax on a wood board by
Lama - Escriptorio Graphico 

First Fantagraphics Crepax book.

Checking out The Subterraneans map with the made up language created by Guido Crepax and Luisa Crepax

Talk with first Fantagraphics book while comparing a French edition by Albin Michel with some stories that appeared in the first Fantagraphics book and the comparison of both editions

Checking out The Subterraneans map with the made up language created by Guido Crepax and Luisa Crepax

Talk with first Fantagraphics book along tribute booklet and tribute to Valentina by mister ED

Me with the portuguese artist that hand painted a tribute to Crepax on a wood board

Tribute to Valentina by Mister ED and iron statue by Italian artist Giulio Pellegrini along Hal Hartley's Amateur movie soundtrack and Federico Fellini's Amarcord movie

Reading the first Fantagraphics Crepax book

Tributes to Valentina by Guido Crepax by French artist Walter Minus and Spanish artist Fidel Martínez Nadal that made a tribute to valentina in Porto with elements of it when Caterina Crepax visited my hometown

Checking out The Subterraneans map with the made up language created by Guido Crepax and Luisa Crepax

 Books gives us dreams, nightmares and the sense of being part of them while having them in our possession, which I find truly interesting because books are being almost an object in the digital era that we live in.
 So, with all this in mind, I started thinking in the first Crepax book (and the collection as well) as an object/historical legacy of Italian maestro, published by Fantagraphics in hardcover in a huge format and high quality and even asked several known artists from all over the world to do tributes to Valentina and later Belinda that are going to appear as free booklets with the Crepax collection and that could be exhibited as well, being these tributes,visions and property of the artists to exhibit as well where they want or to sell them.
 This book gave us lots of work and lots of times, first was the book and later our own personal lives while the book was in production and sometimes we had some discussions about details and all, so it was a book made with love, blood, sweat and tears.
 I think that it's an excellent book and we tried to surpass all the obstacles that appeared (like happens in real life in all areas) while we were putting it in production,
 Working with Fantagraphics is excellent and we don't have any middle term, we Must always do our best while doing a collection like this.
 I know that we did our best in it and tried to pick some of the mysteries that Crepax gave us in his stories by connecting some influences that he had in his works with world history, his own personal life, movies, books or characters that ressembled a bit his main character Valentina either physical or in terms of personality in other movies.    
 So, it's really easy to judge Guido's artwork, but Guido Crepax was also a master storyteller.  
 With this presentation done by myself in a coffee with random audience in my hometown, is my way of paying a tribute to Italian maestro.
 This was a healthy obsession with Crepax, but if it was another artist or in another area, I would also be obsessed with it, since my work is my obsession and in my opinion, we must always give everything in life in any work since we only have one and the history of the world depicted by artists or writers since the beginning of times is in books and it'll always be. 
 If we could do the books better in graphic and information terms, I know that we should work harder and harder, since we are working having in mind readers that search for good quality books and some people can't imagine the work and effort that we put in them. (neither did I, before start working on them).
 So, when you see a book or a comic book, never judge it by its cover or its price. 

I'll post a video of the talk soon and more photos with other future projects dedicated to Crepax like tribute stories being made to Valentina by truly gifted artists from all over the world.
Many thanks to all present in this presentation, to the artists that made lots of Valentinas by Guido Crepax that are being spread in the world.
Special thanks for the support of my wife Paula Fonseca, my kitty Ilvie, my family, friends, Gary Groth and Caterina Crepas      




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