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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Recap: Aisha Franz Launches Earthling!


On Thursday, November 6th, Drawn & Quarterly, the Goethe Institut, and Librairie Drawn & Quarterly had an amazing time welcoming Aisha Franz to Montreal on her North American tour!


A bit about the book: Earthling captures a brief moment in the lives of three women – two sisters and their lonely mother. Aisha Franz’s grey pencil renders perfectly the greyness of the trio’s suburban existence. It's incredibly novelistic, and Tom Devlin (Creative Director at Drawn & Quarterly) is right to call her one of the most amazing new cartoonists working today.


Store manager Jason introduced Tom, and took the opportunity to thank the Goethe Institut, which so generously helped bring Aisha on her North American tour.


Tom Devlin, captured here at his most zen, introduced Aisha, whom he met at Angouleme. Angouleme, for those unfamiliar, is an international graphic novel festival which has, in addition to mainstream features, a special tent where they put all the "cool zine kids" and special publishers. A few years later, he met her again in Helsinki, where he approached her about a longer work she was working on. That book was Alien (in German), which became Earthling in English. 


And with that fabulous introduction, Aisha made her way onto the stage. She said she was so excited to be here in “the city of [her] dreams, Montreal.” She mentioned a period of her life where she thought she had to move here, then forgot about it, and somehow ended up here anyway, though only for a day.


Aisha's presentation was incredibly unique, in that she showed us sequences of the book set to music we later found out she had composed herself in Garage Band (!). It made the whole thing seem like an in-depth book trailer.


As with the book itself, the presentation was beautifully atmospheric.


After taking us through Earthling, Aisha offered up small presentations on her other comics as well as a look into her process. The above image was an excerpt from a short story/mini comic (very recent) based on a comic made for the Pitchfork Review.


Afterwards there was a Q&A with Aisha, who provided wonderful insights into her methods, Particularly interesting to me was the fact that Earthling was actually a grad project, completed during one year. She also showed a sneak peak of her new book,which is a fictional account of real-life events and experiences.

Thanks again to Aisha Franz, to everyone who came out to the event, to the Goethe Institut for their support, and to everyone from D&Q for publishing such fantastic graphic novelists.

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