January 27, 2013

MOS #1

Traduction en français ici.

Master of Survival begins, you guys! I hope you will enjoy it.
FYI, each page has a song that goes with it. This page's song is Indochine's "Pink Water", which has been added to the Master of Survival playlist.
Comics will update on a weekly basis, beginning... this Tuesday! See y'all soon.

Et c'est ainsi que commence Master of Survival! J'espère que vous allez aimer.
Pour info, à chaque page correspond une chanson. Pour celle-ci, c'est "Pink Water" d'Indochine, qui ouvre la playlist de Master of Survival.
Il y aura une nouvelle page chaque semaine, à partir de ... ce mardi! A très bientôt.

P.S. I still have that Fievel. J'ai toujours ce Fievel.

January 25, 2013

Introducing: Master of Survival

(En Français ci-dessous)

Guys, guys: not that it feels like it in any way, but this Sunday -- January 27th, 2013 -- I will have been living in Berlin for three years.

Three years ago, I came here with my suitcase, my backpack, my laptop and my Fievel, with an internship waiting for me, and a Master's thesis around the corner just waiting to be written. I was a young soon-to-be graduate from grad school, I was expected to make a living once I'd finished, and I had moved around way too much in the past couple years for my liking; so when I arrived I was sort of a mass of uprootedness, potential and a little bit of fear. To sum it up, I was in transition. I've come a long way since then, which frequently astounds me. Anyway.

To celebrate this third "Berlinniversary", I'm launching something very special this Sunday: an autobio comic that recounts my first semester in Berlin. This is otherwise known as the project that I've been tweeting about off and on for the past two years. And this project has a name: Master of Survival.

Master of Survival began three years ago as a way for me to keep track of what I was experiencing -- but also as a project that would force me to make comics. I would make notes in my journal of different things that "marked" this new period of life, adapting to yet another new life in yet another new city. I was heavily influenced by two grand autobio comics: Between Gears (by Natalie Nourigat) and Likewise (by Ariel Schrag). The notes I made were basically the scripts for standalone comic pages, which, after graduation in October '10,  I slowly proceeded to draw.

Though the pages were mostly written by early 2011, it's taken me over two years to get Master of Survival halfway done - mostly due to working day jobs and spending a lot of my comic time updating my blog. Now that I've reached a good rythm, I've decided it is time for this comic to make its appearance. I look forward to telling this story, and I hope you will enjoy it!

Trilingual disclaimer: since this is how my binational transplant brain works, each page was written either in French or English, or even in German, depending on my mindset (i.e., I totally did none of this on purpose). Each comic written primarily in French will be translated into English, and vice versa, and the German pages will be translated into both. Also, there are small German parts in some of the comics that will be "subtitled" in the comic itself.

Art disclaimer: As the first twelve pages were drawn between spring of 2010 (!) and last August, the art will look slightly different compared to my recent comics. Also, I will keep drawing and uploading new pages as I go along, so there will be a shift of sorts, I'm guessing.

That's enough on my end. See you Sunday!! Bis bald.

Chers amis, ça fait bizarre de le dire, mais ce dimanche - le 27 janvier 2013 - cela fera trois ans que je vis à Berlin.

Il y a trois ans, je suis venue avec ma valise, mon sac à dos, mon portable et mon Fievel, avec un stage qui m'attendait et tout au bout, un mémoire de Master. J'étais une jeune (future) diplômée bac+5, censée gagner sa vie après ses études, et qui avait beaucoup trop bougé à son goût au fil des deux dernières années, et quand je suis arrivée j'étais un peu une grosse boule de déracinement, de potentiel, et un peu de peur aussi. Pour résumer, j'étais en transition. J'ai fait beaucoup de chemin depuis, ce qui me surprend régulièrement.

Pour fêter ce troisième "Berlinniversaire", ce dimanche, je lance quelque chose de très spécial: une BD autobiographique qui relate mon premier semestre à Berlin. On y reconnaîtra peut-être le projet au sujet duquel je tweete à l'occasion depuis deux ans. Et ce projet a un nom: Master of Survival (spéciale casse-dédi.)

Master of Survival a pris forme il y a trois ans, à la fois pour garder une trace de mon expérience, mais aussi pour me forcer à réaliser un projet BD concret. J'ai pris des notes dans mon carnet sur les différentes choses qui ont marqué cette nouvelle période de ma vie, celle où je devais m'adapter à une nouvelle vie (parmi d'autres) dans une nouvelle ville (encore une). J'étais également très influencée par les BD autobiographiques de Natalie Nourigat (Between Gears) et d'Ariel Schrag (Likewise). Résultat, ces notes dans mon cahier ont pris la forme de petits scénarios pour des BD courtes d'une page, que je me suis mise à dessiner après l'obtention de mon double Master, en octobre 2010.

Quasiment chaque page de Master of Survival a été écrite entre début 2010 et début 2011, mais il m'a fallu un peu plus de deux ans pour en dessiner la moitié - travail et développement du blog obligent. Maintenant que je tiens un bon rythme, j'ai décidé qu'il est temps pour cette BD de faire son apparition en ligne. J'ai hâte de raconter cette histoire, et j'espère que vous allez aimer!

Note sur la traduction: en raison du fonctionnement de mon cerveau d'expatriée binationale, j'ai écrit ces pages en français ou en anglais, ou même en allemand, en fonction de mon humeur (en gros, c'est complètement aléatoire). Chaque page écrite en français sera traduite en anglais, et vice versa, et les pages écrites en allemand seront traduites dans les deux langues. Il y a aussi des fragments de texte écrits en allemand qui feront l'objet de "sous-titres".

Note sur le style: les douze premières pages ayant été dessinées entre le printemps 2010 et août dernier, leur aspect sera plus ou moins différent de celui de mes BD récentes. Je dessinerai et posterai la suite au fur et à mesure, donc le style changera de nouveau, j'imagine.

Voilà de mon côté. A dimanche!! Bis bald.

January 18, 2013

Je tiens à m'excuser auprès de mon lectorat français, mais "IT Guy" n'est juste pas traduisible, ou c'est moi qui ai les neurones en compote.

I'm tweeting for Germany this week! Come and join the fun.

January 15, 2013

Deduce THIS

I've been proverbially under the weather (I believe I said something about "2013" and "kicking butt"?), so here is a Sherlock comic I drew last spring. I dedicate it to the new fans who have recently discovered it and justifiably gone looney tunes. (Pot, kettle, black, yep.)
Je récupère d'une sale grippe bien méchante (je crois me souvenir avoir dit que 2013 allait déchirer), alors spéciale casse-dédi pour les nouveaux fans de Sherlock avec un strip dessiné au printemps dernier.

January 8, 2013


"Je ne te traite pas de s***pe, je dis juste que les femmes qui critiquent [une certaine idée chrétienne de la modestie vestimentaire] font preuve d'immoralité."
"J'aurais juste voulu que mon groupe préféré se contente de faire de la musique sans en gagner beaucoup d'argent."
"Cette loi sur le mariage pour tous est toxique. La preuve, c'est que le débat est en train de pousser de jeunes homos au suicide."
"Je vois que t'es anglais et que tu tiens un blog en vivant à Kreuzberg, t'as pas honte? - POUR L'AMOUR DU CIEL MAIS FERMEZ-LA TOUS"

January 4, 2013

Random Friday Sketchpost: While It's Raining

For today's post, here is a warm-up drawing I did in a café yesterday.
January, you've never let me down: rain on hand until the end of next week. Ha!
Have a good weekend, everyone!
Pour aujourd'hui, un dessin d'échauffement réalisé hier dans un café.
Janvier, tu ne me décevras jamais: de la pluie prévue jusqu'à la fin de la semaine prochaine. Yes!
Bon weekend à tous!

January 1, 2013

2012 Round-Up

It's a new year! And, as every year, that warrants a written recap of the past year's entertainment, so pull up a chair, brew some coffee and ... let's begin.

TV and Film

My sister Laura has developed a knack for getting me interested in things. And it all began with the BBC's remaking of Sherlock, the second season of which began airing January 1st. Was it the unbelievable writing? The brilliant acting? The incredible photography? No, my dear bromantic pre-Hobbit sidekicks, it was all of it, and it served to remind me of my undying love and affection for storytelling. (I also love handsome actors with brains, but that's another story). Season 3 is such a very long way off.

Doctor Who
I had no idea that I could get this obsessed with a TV show steeped in sci-fi: I am not prone to spontaneously watching remakes of campy space travel, ever. Though my reaction to the first episodes, concordantly, was lukewarm, the series turned out to be thrilling, moving and funny enough to pay back a 60€ investment in the box set several times over. And then John Simm appeared in the Season 3 finale, and I basically lost it. (At the time of writing, I still have all of the Eleven seasons to go.) I wrote a comic about this personal odyssey here.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Apart from the fact that discussing the need for three movies is probably one of the biggest First World Problems in history, I found that Peter Jackson's first prequel was worth every 3D penny of that 13€ movie ticket. I've done a comic review for it here.

Additional mentions: The Avengers for additional geekery; The Dark Knight Rises for putting the "kick-ass" back in "villain".


Finch - Say Hello To Sunshine (2005)
Finch made one of my favorite albums as a high schooler, the slickly produced post-hardcore (or something) What It Is To Burn. I didn't care much for their second (and final) album until I came across it on Simfy in early 2012; I then proceeded to use "A Piece of Mind" as a cleansing agent during a particularly stressful time. Still works a charm, probably alienates my housemates.

Linkin Park - Living Things (and A Thousand Suns)
Though they were another mainstay of my teenage years - and I am convinced that deep down inside I am still 17 - I became frustrated with Linkin Park after Minutes to Midnight, where they seemed to have crawled down the melodic pop hole for ever. (Nothing wrong with melodic pop, except that other people can do it too.) I didn't pay attention to 2010's A Thousand Suns as a result, and when they put out Living Things in May I only cottoned on after the "Burn It Down" single appeared on German television during the European soccer championship (what?). It took tweets from a couple people and some repeated listens on Simfy to rekindle my interest.
When I explained to friend blogger James  that my favorite parts on Living Things were the themes in "Castle of Glass" and "Roads Untraveled", he suggested I give A Thousand Suns a listen, which was one of the best things I've done all year. On the whole it's just a very good concept album with a healthy dose of aggro and some shining moments of songwriting; but it also convinced me of the importance of fighting for your own creative ideas, no matter what the external circumstances might be.

Muse - The 2d Law
The same summer my sister introduced me to Doctor Who, we watched Muse perform their new song "Survival" onstage during the Olympics Closing Ceremony. It was put forth that Matthew Bellamy is actually a rock-and-roll version of the Tenth Doctor, which as a theory comes even more to life when you listen to the shenanigans present on The 2d LawI am of the unshifting opinion that Muse sort of just sit down and put out awesome albums and make it look completely effortless. Not only does The 2d Law prove this with its bursts of melodic and arrangement awesomeness, it makes it okay that the closing "instrumentals" and bassist Chris Wolstenholme's songs are pretty much tacked onto the end of the album. I cannot fathom how many times I've played this record or danced to the Panic Station riff in my bedroom - perfect "get out of bed, face the world and kick heinie" music.

Tegan and Sara - "Closer" & "I'm Not Your Hero"
Friends and family are no strangers to the fact that Tegan and Sara are one of my favorite artists. I've been a fan since I came across a blurb in the August 2007 issue of SPIN Magazine; ever since their album The Con, they have consistently been reference points for me in the areas of creativity and artistic partnership (despite my mixed feelings about their 2009 album Sainthood).
When they came out with their new synth-driven single "Closer" this fall, my initial reaction was: "Ohhh, they've gone and applied those dancefloor extracurriculars, good for them!" My second reaction was, "Um... Are they ever going to make The Con again?" But the reason I had been hooked on The Con (and So Jealous) in the first place was the inspiration Tegan and Sara provided: raw lyrics, well-developed arrangements and catchy tunes that seemed to reach into my own tiny 20-year-old heart and put words to the exact things I was feeling at the time (mostly emo-ing on a complicated relationship). And though "Closer" was a grower, it was the YouTube release of "I'm Not Your Hero" that sealed the deal. Four years on, they had done it again: put words and melodies on the growth that I associate with the past several years of my life. Still no idea how they manage it.


Natalie Nourigat, Between Gears
Natalie is one of the cartoonists I found myself following during my final years of university; while I was off in Nantes and Berlin finishing my Master's degree, she took it upon herself to chronicle her senior year of college in a diary comic form, an exercise which she was very good at. When the paperback collection came out in February I was amongst the first in line to order. It's been an incessant source of inspiration to me throughout the year and I can only recommend it most highly.

Additional mentions: Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (I downed the latter two books in three days and cried during the movie); Stieg Larsson's Millennium (see above, and also here.)


Lauren and Max Andrew Dubinsky
I'm usually loath to use Christian jargon on the internet, but I see Lauren and Max Dubinsky as a testimony of God's grace. Perhaps the most obvious proof of this is that they met on Twitter, but the ways they each apply their gifts as creatives and writers are equally powerful reflections of the God I intend to serve, myself. Lauren is a self-described "tech and arts girl" who founded the Good Women Project, aiming to encourage young girls and women; Max is a writer with a collection of short stories,  a unique narrative experience and an associated novella under his belt. They deserve your attention (and Max' stories deserve a read).

And that's all for 2012. In 2013 I plan to see more Benedict Cumberbatch, play Tegan and Sara's new record until the CD falls apart, get my hands on a brand-new stack of comic books and watch every single TV show this guy has ever played in. Catch you on the flipside!