SLG collects critically acclaimed series in August
Coming in August from SLG is the collection of Paris, written by Andi Watson, the critically-acclaimed artist/writer of such comics and graphic novels as Skeleton Key, Slow News Day and Love Fights. Watson’s skill for sensitively-rendered characters and stories is matched with the beautiful artwork of Simon Gane, best known for his illustrations for Graphic Classics.
Together, Watson and Gane reproduce the Bohemian Paris of the early 1950s, where Juliet, a penniless American art student paints portraits of wealthy debutantes to make ends meet. One of her subjects is Deborah, a young woman trapped in the old social order of her wealthy family. Juliet herself has felt confined in the rigid academic structure of her art education and finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Deborah. And though Juliet wasn’t expecting romance, this is Paris after all, where both inspiration and love abound. Juliet and Deborah’s love for art bring them together, even as their friends and family try to drive them apart.
Artist Simon Gane was the impetus for the creation of Paris, according to Andi Watson, who has long admired Gane’s art. “Simon had a shopping list of stuff he wanted to draw -- a bo-ho artist girl, sozzled art tutor, two girls falling in love, Paris, a jealous male student,” Andi says. “I took that, added the Deborah character and created a drama and love story out of it.”
Both Watson and Gane found inspiration for Paris in the early films of Audrey Hepburn, such as Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Funny Face. The two artists strived to give the romance between Deborah and Juliet the innocence and exuberance of the love stories in those films, and the Paris Gane depicts in the comic mirrors the tone of the story. “The Paris of the story is a romanticized version of the city in some ways,” says Gane, who used many photos, graphic design and cartooning references from the 1950s to perfectly hone his vision of the city.
It is in these details that Gane’s eye for fun and his genius for creating setting shine. In the rich backgrounds of Paris’s full-page establishing shots are unmistakably Parisian architecture and people. “I think Simon started to hate me for putting in the full pages after a while,” Watson admits, “but I was so excited getting the pages back. The amount of detail and love lavished on them blew me away.”
Gane also got to show his skills in depicting the great works of art found in Paris, which are integral to Paris’s story. Juliet’s art education demands that she draw from classical masterpieces, and Deborah and Juliet bond over their love for Ingres, giving Gane the opportunity to reproduce works such as the Winged Victory and Ingres’s famous portrait of the Comtesse d’Haussonville. Art is a constant presence in Paris, bringing characters together and forming the texture of their world.
The 144-page Paris, with a new introduction by Watson and Gane, will be published in August 2007 and will retail for $10.95. It's available for pre-order now from comic book stores everywhere, and will soon be available at SLG Publishing's website, www.slgcomic.com, where a preview is available for viewing.