It's also the time of Dérives
. This album appeared
only long after the stories were published in Métal Hurlant
How did that go?
The prepublication in Métal Hurlant
interrupted after Touriste
Touriste, the third story
after a scenario of my German friend
. Later, when I was at Delcourt
he said to me: "He, we could publish those short
stories you did for Métal." Then I added three more.
All scenarists of Dérives
are you friends.
Why did you ask exactly these people for a scenario?
I wanted to step away from my hobbies for once.
I realized that I was closed in in my own genre and avoided
certain subjects for the simple reason I didn't like to draw
them. That's why I asked them to write whatever they wanted.
Unfortunately more than one person made it a typical
. But one or two -
especially Frédéric Bézian
- really made something I could
never have written myself. That gave me the opportunity to
use different techniques to serve the scenario...and sometimes
the scenarist. Because the story of Antonio Cossu
is a bit like
Cossu, the story of Bézian is like Bézian, his drawing style
even influenced me somewhat. The same holds for Gérard Goffaux
But the scenario of Frédéric Bézian
caused me the most trouble.
After three plates I stopped and started again. It was very hard,
because it contains many characters who also happen to come down
a stairs the whole time. I had to take that into account. It is
the story I enjoyed most. I don't currently plan to make a story
with anyone else, but should that happen, it will be with Bézian.
We agreed to work together again. He writes and I draw. I liked it
that he caused me trouble with Dérives
. When you write
yourself, you limit yourself to what you can make. The stories
in Dérives liberated me from that somewhat. When I currently
write a story, I really only think of the story itself. While
drawing Le retour de Cromwell Stone
I ran into a few hard scenes, for
which I asked myself: "Why did I possibly write that?"
But I think that's good, that's how I want to tell my stories.
Only horses I avoid, that's the only thing I really find hard to
In 1986 a book appears at Magic-Strip
that has put more than one reader on the wrong foot.
You once said that Fantalia has a strong autobiographical
I made Fantalia
in request of Magic-Strip
for a special series. They gave me complete freedom.
Patrick van Bergen (Site Editor): Andreas drew a picture for the portfolio "La tour de Babel des croqueurs de sable" that was published in the album "L'âme Brase". The album is part of a series called "Les croqueurs de sable" that was written and drawn completely by Joly Guth.
Maybe the story is a little too close to what I experienced at
the time: I really tried to get out of a depression. Family
life actually didn't appeal to me at all at first. That
means, having a child and all the fuzz around it. I believe
that's also present in Fantalia. That's also why I like the
movie Eraserhead by David Lynch. He made the film when his
wife or girlfriend was pregnant and thought that from that
moment all was over for him. He just left the filmacademy
and thought that he could never again do what he wanted,
never make the movies he wanted anymore, because he had
to sustain his family, etcetera... That was not my fear.
My fear was that there would suddenly be someone who
would be there all the time. I had lived alone for years
and I liked that very much. I was very open to people.
That is less now, because currently I see people every day.
I see my family everyday and in a sense that is enough for me.
I have that closed side about me. I like to be at home and do
not like to be disturbed. Not many people visit my workshop.
After some years I found out that the workshop really
terrified my wife and daughter. I went there too much,
but I really need a sort of private domain. I like loneliness.
I like to be left alone. With the years, I have become
somewhat of a menhater. Anyway, what was the question?
Do the world and the colors of Fantalia
the world of creation, the world of the characters?
Andreas: No. It is reality entering my world - how
should I say it? - in mý world! I always kept myself in
the background, in the shadow, hence the grayness in the
beginning. Later the colors enter completely and make the
We thought the image of the woman holding a windowlike
mirror at the sametime puzzling and tragic. The mirror is
like a comics frame, and functions as an omen of what is
about to happen.
Andreas: The mirror is a taletechnical solution. When
I had cut the enitre story up into plates, I ended up with
24 pieces while I was only allowed to use 23. The mirror is
the 24th plate. I needed the image of that running person
plus the image of the watching woman. By adding the mirror
I could show them both at the same time.
It is also one of the few images of mature women in the
book. The story revolves around children, a storyteller and a
woman who is clearly older than he. Yet it is not his wife.
Perhaps his mother?
Andreas: I also wondered for a long time where she came
from. Eventually I also more or less started to see her as
All the more noticeable, because the parent-child
relationships are problematic in several albums. The mother
is noticeably absent in Cromwell Stone
: in the first part
there are two fathers with their sons or daughter and their
mother does not appear. In Cyrrus
their is no
mention of Jewel's mother, neither is Mil's father. In
Hingle causes trouble for his son and the
old Krafft nearly kills his son: in both families there is
Andreas: Indeed, it is strange. Really bizar.
Fantalia seems to be your most personal book. Or are other
books also autobiographical in a sense? Are there more
allusions like that, or is it a mere coincidence?
It fluctuates. In Fragments
there is a episode
of a house falling to pieces. That describes my relationship
to women, at least at that time. It has changed somewhat.
Take the scenario of Hiver 51
. I was born in the winter of
I even used dreams for some time. Like I said the first plate
comes from a dream. But I don't see
anything more than that. Furthermore I didn't personally
experience the extraordinary things I tell about.
A last question on possible autobiographical influences.
You were born in 1951 and thus experienced the afterbirth
of the second world war. Of this drama we find a mere
trace in Coutoo
, that's all. We ask ourselves
what the second world war means to you. What did you hear
about it? Did the memory of wartime play an important
part in your childhood?
Andreas: I only know the story of my mother who
experienced the bombing of Dresden and lost her mother and
sister. She studied then. It is especially the period in
Dresden that was important to my family. My father wasn't
a soldier, he was a doctor, also in Dresden. But he wasn't
there during the bombardment. I believe they forgot to enlist
him, or at least that is the story they tell in my family.
They also forgot my brother. Just forgotten, like my father.
I hear more about what my mother experienced. Also because
my father died too early for me. He died at 74, but later
on I realized: "I should have asked him more
questions." There are many things I don't know
about my father. That is something you realize too late.
At the same time I found enough letters from my mother,
correspondence, photographs. After my mother's death I
found the letter she wrote my father to let him know that
her mother and sister died. It is really very strange to
read that. That side is much clearer. Maybe that's why
there are less mothers in my stories, because I know a
lot about mine. While some episode is missing of my father.
Andreas: After the war I heard more at school than at home.
There was a teacher with whom we talked about it a lot,
about the war, fascism, concentrationcamps... He emphasized
it and that was good. In Eastern Germany we never talked
about it at school. It never came up, while you could
see more traces of the war in Eastern Germany than
in Western Germany, where everything was rebuilt
real quickly and where the past was erased.
Andreas: Only relatively late I started thinking about the war.
That was when I went to Saint-Luc, where I was the German,
the "hun". "Hé, are you starting
the occupation again?" That sort of jokes. I heard
them too on my holidays to France. I remember really well.
On one day I was here in Brittany, with a girlfriend. When
we said we were German, it went: "O yeah, I fought
in the war too." Always that war. It got on my
nerves considerably, because I realized: "It is not
my problem, I didn't participate in the war, I wasn't even
born then. I don't feel responsible for it." I must
say it haunted me for a long time. Germans among eachother
don't talk about the war as something that is to arouse
a great feeling of guilt. It was just war. And that not in
the way the outside world imagines it.
Andreas: That's all I can say about it. Except that without the
second world war the American cinema would have done
business less well, and that the nazi's come in handy in
stories like Coutoo. That is, the second part of Coutoo,
wherein an old Nazi tells his story, the creator of Coutoo.
Coutoo will also have a sequal?
Andreas: I wrote a scenario back then, but never drew it. Lack of time.
If it ever comes so far, I will certainly have to review the story...