Olivier Schrouen publishes “Domingo Flamenco” and the comic strip “Ulysses”

Olivier Schrouen publishes “Domingo Flamenco” and the comic strip “Ulysses”

BarcelonaHas Ulysses, James Joyce, the revolutionary classic of twentieth-century literature, narrated Leopold Bloom's passage through the streets of Dublin during a day—June 16—quite hackneyed for the character. Belgian Olivier Schroen (Bruges, 1977) is setting his new comic book on a Sunday in early October when the protagonist, Thibaut Schroen (a fictionalized version of the author's cousin), won't leave his apartment. For nearly 500 pages, Flamenco Sunday (Fulgencio Pimentel, 2024) The soothing activity and torrent of mental distraction follows the protagonist from 8.15am to 10.35pm on any given Sunday as Thibault confines himself to drinking, listening to music, procrastinating and getting drunk – yes, without ever interacting with anyone. However, the result is a massive, overwhelming work that transcends the conventional to capture the fabric of consciousness and life at its most glorious.

Schrawen, who lives in Berlin, came up with the idea Flamenco Sunday While walking around Alexanderplatz. “I had all these recurring ideas in my head and it occurred to me that it would be interesting to combine these mundane ideas with visual elements that were constantly changing, an interplay similar to what I experienced walking around and observing the outside world, creating all sorts of unexpected associations.” In a similar way, Thibault's thoughts always serve as a guiding thread for the narrative, but the drawings do not exhaustively follow the protagonist but alternate him with the simultaneous actions of other characters (his partner, his cousin, the neighbours, the mouse). ), unearthed memories of the subconscious and imaginations of the mind that are gradually changed by alcohol and herbs. All this forms a very specific picture of a single person and moment, and at the same time, very rich and complex.

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Schrawen's formal ambition does not prevent the comic from being fun and easy to read, and it is even funny when the protagonist tries to write a letter from the bathtub or contemplates whether or not to masturbate. Thibault's pettiness and narcissism make him a fun and annoying character, and he is, as Schrawen points out, nothing like his cousin. “At first I wanted him to be a character with no personality traits, like one of those psychopaths with no inner life in Bret Easton Ellis novels, but the atmosphere was too cold and I chose to present aspects of my life and the people I know,” explains the cartoonist, who did not ask for permission from His cousin to name the character. “He found out about it when he visited me in Berlin and read the first volume I published,” he says with a small smile on his lips.

Between Franquin and Hergé

Comics were present in Shrawen's life from an early age thanks to his father, who was a huge fan and had “stacks and stacks” of them at home. “I grew up imitating Franquin and Hergé, who actually had a completely different style. I had schizophrenic sketchbooks: on one page a bad imitation of Franquin, on the other a bad imitation of Franquin TintinDaniel Clowes recently said in an interview with ARA that Olivier Schrouen was one of his favorite authors, and that the admiration is mutual: he considers the Belgian cartoonist Clowes and Chris Weir to be the big influences in his formative phase. Ten years later, when they were no longer popular, my comics would probably be completely different – he says -. I even stole a Clowes cartoon for my comic book Arsene SchrawenBut he was completely unconscious.”

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Schrawen, who will be present this Saturday at the Graf Independent Comics Festival, which is being celebrated in Barcelona, ​​is considered one of the big names in contemporary comics, especially in the field of avant-garde graphics. However, he admits that he cannot make a living from comics and gets by by “living very austerely” and commissioning animation work. “My books don't sell much,” he laments. “Experimental comics do worse and worse; they're in a downward spiral. Comics about themes do better, and you find them in every bookstore. If people are interested in the subject, they buy it.” “Comics. And some of them are really good, like Joe Sacco. But some of them are really bland, which is the worst kind of comics out there.” The cartoonist is working on his first personal animation project, a six-episode series that he has already shot as a short film to attract investors. “It's a new story, but it's similar to my comics in terms of style and themes,” he says. “But the tricks I use in comics don’t work for me, because animation is a new language and I’m still learning it.”

Freelance comic at Fabra & Coates

This weekend La Fabrica i Coats Creation Factory will host a new edition of Graf, the reference for independent comics and self-publishing in Catalonia and the country. International authors such as Aisha Franz, Teddy Goldenberg, Carla Paloma, Nine Antico, and Olivi Schrawen will perform at the festival, in addition to names from the local scene such as Nadia Hafeez, Bea Lima, Roberta Vazquez, Candela Sierra, Albert Montes, and Andrés. Magan, Pep Brocal, Jenny Espinosa and Manel Fontdevila, among many others. The program of talks includes a round table on Martí with veteransSnake Like Isa Feu and Onliyú, among the exhibitions stands out Valencia gallery Cesar Sebastian in the process of creating his comic book Ronsonwho just won the ACDCómic Award for Best Emerging Author.

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