WC – Have you always wanted to become a comic creator?
TG – As far as I remember, yes, and I also wanted to be an inventor, a writer and a screenwriter. Above all, I wanted to write stories.
WC – What inspires you?
TG – Anything. Mostly daydreaming. I read a bit, mostly fiction, some History or essays, and I watch movies. I”m a bit of a dabbler, a “dilettant”.
WC – How would you describe your style?
TG – “grotesque” and “absurd”, “philosophical but silly”.
WC – The comic culture has always been quite popular in France. What can you tell us about the French comic scene?
TG – The most famous French comics are actually Belgian. There is still also a lot of self-publishing, and big deal of comics blog, on the web. There were different “economic crises” for the comics market, but there are still a lot of comics getting published each year. For many years now, comics are aimed a lot at adults, and not only children. It is also being taught at universities, and so on. There are many “styles” of comics, and a lot of publishers, some big and some very small. A lot of young artists have created their own publishing company, while they were still studying. Traditionally, for these “styles”, there were several names (“ecole de Marcinelle”, as opposed to the “ligne claire”) ; or they were distinguished by their “class position” (“mainstream comics” against “underground comics”), but today it”s a bit messy, because a lot of people navigate from one position to another.
WC – Do the French prefer independently published comics to those published by major publishers such as Marvel and DC comics?
TG – Obviously, the mainstream comics sell a lot more than the small and “personal” ones.
Superhero comics are quite popular in France, and Manga also, but the major publishers publish a lot of “french touch” comics. I think humor comics are the more popular, in sales at least.
WC – You create comics as well as teach others, do you prefer doing one thing more than the other?
TG – I don”t teach comics ! I sometimes do workshops with children, which consists in helping them to draw and to write comics, but I don”t teach. Also, I”ve been working recently as a co-publisher, so I was asked to give some advice to younger artists and to encourage their self-confidence, for they are soon to be published in a magazine or in a book. Anyway, even if I found all that interesting, because it makes me reflect about my own work, I still prefer to create my own comics.
WC – How important is the role of education with regards to the comic industry?
TG – Even if you don”t have to study to be a comic artist, I still think it”s essential to know that it can be taught. All the children draw, but most of them stop at a certain age, because they are not encouraged. I believe it”s a shame that there aren”t many “signs” (as art classes should be) that show the children the importance of art. ,
WC – Your current projects involve North American culture and Native Americans. Can you tell us more about these stories and the ideas behind them?
TG – For the first one, I read a big deal about early North-American vaudeville, because I wanted it to be a bit documented. It started as a short story about the end of “Blackface” and “Medicine shows”, but I realised I wanted it to continue, and to explore parallel subjects, about ethnicity, music and mathematics. At the end, it”s mostly nonsense and rather made up. I like to improvise inside a preconceived structure wide enough for me to play with. For the second story, about Native Americans, there is hardly any research at all, I just wandered along. The idea was to hold the whole story with only two characters, meeting again and again. It is written, like most of my stories, like a “serial”, made up as I go along, depending on my mood of the day or of the book I read yesterday.
WC – Do you visit a lot of comic conventions? What attracted you to the Malta Comic Convention?
TG – I have done quite a bit, but my last book got out in 2009, and I haven”t done many conventions since 2010. I mostly went if my publisher invited me. As an artist, I did a few in France, one in Switzerland. As a visitor, I did one or two in England a long time ago, and many in France. I actually live in Angoul?me, where there is, each year, the biggest and most famous Comic Convention. What attracted me to the Malta Comic Convention was the opportunity to meet new people, readers and artists, and to discover new stuff. And I was also eager to visit Malta !