Where does this taste for the fantastic come from?
Andreas: I don't know. Perhaps it's thanks to the fact that my daily
life is very banal? Thanks to my work, I escape this banality. But, even
though I read them much less nowadays, I've always loved fantastic stories.
While I write a scenario, extraordinary elements always end up slipping
in the course of the account. Moreover, my style of drawing is not fit
for the stories of everyday.
I think more the product of an age than that of a school. In
the beginning of the Seventies, when I studied the comic strip with Atelier
R. of the Institut Saint-Luc of Brussels, it was the fruitful age of Pilote
and of Métal Hurlant
. We weren't forced to submit ourselves to
the demands of the traditional strip cartoon. We benefitted from the freedom that was
offered to us to express us as we wanted... I acknowledge however that for example
at the level of the setting in scene, the teaching of Eddy Paape
useful to me. I still make use of it today. My principal influence nevertheless
comes from American comics.
Why do you feel the need to publish at other publishers than Le Lombard
at the same time?
The chance to work for editors whose objectives are different,
provides the author the possibility to exploit all facets of his temperament
and his imagination. What I publish at Le Lombard
does not strictly have anything
to do with what I publish at Delcourt
To which question would you like to answer that no one has posed
Andreas: Strangely, no one has ever asked me why I make comic strips.
Well, I use the occasion to respond: because I love it! It's, very frankly,
the form of expression in which I find myself the most at ease.
Who says Andreas, thinks immediately of Rork. Don't you have the
impression that this personnage sticks with you?
No. It's normal that the name of an author is attached to that
of the character he has created. Rork is after all the hero that has revealed
me as a scenario writer and draftsman of strip cartoons. During a very
long time, it was also my only series published. Now there is Capricorne
and I hope that within a few years, without forgetting Rork, the readers
will associate my name with this new creation as well.
This new creation refers nevertheless to Rork...
Andreas: Not exactly. It's true that I've tested Capricorne while
I realized the Rork saga. At a certain moment, because I knew that this
series would not go beyond seven albums, I wondered what I was going to
do afterwards. That's how the character of Capricorne came in and how he
gave his name to an episode of that saga. Since the latter had to
evolve a little in the same universe, I have made him do a sort of
screen test, with the intention to give him, thereafter, another orientation.
Having said that, the two series are totally independent. One doen't have
to (re)read one to understand the other. Chronologically, the history
of Capricorne starts before that of Rork. Their meeting is just one of
the accidents of their existence. Besides, I will refer to it when I arrive
at that period in Capricorne's adventurous life.
Could you specify the identity of this very enigmatic character?
Andreas: His strange history takes place in the thirties. His identity?
He doesn't know that himself. It will form the subject of a forthcoming
album. I can't reveal this to you yet. Let's say it's about an adventurer
who settles as an astrologer because it seemed to him to be a lucrative
profession. It enables him to see the future at ease and to live through
several especially fantastic adventures.
Adventures planned in the long run?
Contrary to Rork, where everything evolved step by step, and as result
of the adventures I had caused in the preceding episode, I know already
in general how the adventures of Capricorne
will continue. from the beginning
I designed a frame which will develop on several albums. I especially wanted
to realise a series which addresses the general public by simplifying my
proces of narration. There will be something that I call a red wire, Capricorne,
but each episode will give place to a history that stands alone and whose
comprehension doesn't require constant reviewing of what preceded. What
I had done in Rork by complicating in a more or less conscious way the
situations, I will do here much slower and thus much easier to assimulate.
Without asking too much effort of him, I thus hope to lead the reader to
get passionate about more complex subjects. As I always did in all my albums.
Is that also that which has brought you to adopt a more traditional
setting in images?
, that which imports me above all, is the clearness
of the account. For this I have simplified the drawing and my formattings
also are less sophisticated. That said, I didn't give up some graphical
audacities. If the history lends itself to it, while taking care to preserve
a great legibility, I don't say I will stay with the same setting out of
(cartoon)boxes. For the moment my narration is relatively traditional,
therefore the illustration is relatively traditional.
Are you not afraid that the reader is disappointed not to find there
the graphical audacities which contributed to your reputation?
Andreas: It's true that graphical virtuosities are expected of me. But
certain albums of Rork were already illustrated in a traditional way. Once
again, al depends on the scenario! If the account requires a fragmented
formatting (of the pages), I will do that. If on the other hand, I should
insist on a very linear narration, I will do that too. There are no rules...
For Capricorne, I haven't fixed the number of albums. It's
a series that will continue as long as the readers want it. ...
Precisely, if you could tell us something about the series you have
just started at Delcourt
Andreas: Let's say it's a science fiction serial that will be spread
out over several albums. That will possibly be frustrating for the reader
who has to wait for the next episode to find out about the rest of the
story, but the system of publishing volumes of 46 pages obliges me to stop
each time the continuity of the account. This series, that will start in
October, shows five characters who will find themselves projected in a
parallel world... That's all I can reveal for the moment. The word 'Arq'
that gives his title to the collection, refers to that other place whose
characters are prisoners. I wanted a short, somewhat confusing name, that
doesn't occur in any language.
Confusing, isn't that after all the adjective that characterizes you best?
My aim is not to confuse. It is rather to encourage the reader
to make a small effort. I would like people to realize that in a comic
strip one can cover ambitious subjects. I would like a public series like
at Le Lombard
leads one to discover more elaborated work like Arq
. The strip cartoon offers a much wider range of possibilities
of expression than to which one confines it today. I would like things
to evolve a bit. When I began, a lot was published and often it was of
no importance, but in the heap there were some very interesting achievements.
All was possible and I believe that creators like Bilal, Tardi or François Schuiten
couldn't have made themselves known without the opportunity of this abundance
of production. That what they do isn't always easy to read and yet, they
are succesful. That's why I think that one doesn't necessarily have to
propose things with the short-nap cloth of the fitted carpet to satisfy
the general public. Furthermore, if I had to simplify extremely, I would
find no pleasure in it at all and I would prefer to abandon it all.
In the mean while, you have started two long series...
, I haven't fixed the number of albums. It's
a series that will continue as long as the readers want it. For Arq
will definitely be an end, but I don't know yet at the end of how many
albums it will arrive. For the moment six chapters are planned already.
I intend to producing one album of each series per year. Both stimulate
me and I sense the force to make a succes of this double engagement.