Read It: Darkness by Boulet – Improvised Comics in 24 Hours

Darkness by Boulet

No purchase necessary! You can read this entire 24-page comic online now.

Last month, the French artist Boulet attended the massive Angoulême International Comics Festival (site in English). Like the Sundance Film Festival, Angoulême is a huge annual event that almost completely takes over a small town for several days to celebrate an art form.

Every year, Boulet joins with other comic creators at Angoulême where they hole up in the Maison des Auteurs for one night to create 24 Hour Comics. That means they each have 24 hours to create their own 24-page comic book, creating roughly 1 page per hour. Each year, the group has a different requirement that their comics have to meet, in addition to the time constraints. This year, they had to incorporate a 3-word caption at certain points of the story. Within the first third of the story, there had to be a caption with the words “He suddenly appeared”. The second third would have the phrase “And at the end” and the final third “She suddenly stopped”. Other than that, Boulet and the other creators could create whatever they wanted.

Boulet’s Darkness is a funny and clever exploration of life with a roommate that is the epitome of cool, mysterious and romantic. It’s extremely imaginative and charming with fantastic imagery. The story was mostly improvised but you’d hardly know it because the story is focused and tight with a great epilogue that really caps off the characters’ journey with a sweet twist. Since it was originally written in French, there are a few awkward translations, but not enough to get in the way of the story.

This is hardly Boulet’s first time at the rodeo. Boulet is the pen name of Gilles Roussel who has maintained a comics blog of his work since 2004, making him one of the earliest French artists to embrace the internet. His online work led to published work, where he has had over 20 books released in French. He is now the regular artist for Dungeon: Zenith starting with Volume 3: Back In Style, just part of the sprawling fantasy satire Dungeon by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, imported by NBM Publishing. Hopefully this exposure will encourage English-language publishers to import more of his work.

About Corey Blake

Corey Blake does things on the Internet, and sometimes even in real life. As a comic book pundit, advocate and educator, he regularly contributes to the Comic Book Resources blog Robot 6. He also advises for the award-winning documentary and comics advocacy movement Dig Comics, and is a member of the Part-Time Fanboy podcast. He ran the web-magazine The Comics Observer, which provides a variety of perspectives on the comic book art form and industry. As a comedic performer/actor, Corey is a founding member of the improv comedy group The You Convention, a house team at The Improv Space, and the independent improv troupe T.M.A. (The Meaningless Acronyms). Every year he performs a variety of characters as part of the popular Halloween show Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey at the botanical gardens of The Huntington Library. He was a member of The Magic Meathands, which performed fully improvised shows for all kinds of audiences, including homeless shelters and other community outreach centers. He also has a history with writing and performing sketch comedy, notably with the Los Angeles branch of The 3rd Floor and as a founding member of Foe Pa. Corey has been seen in online web-series such as The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour (Best Web Comedy-Episodic,, The Starmind Record (Best Direction and Editing, LA Web Series), Poopdog Entertainment’s Mayer for Mayor (Funny or Die featured video), and Chatroom of Solitude on Stan Lee’s World of Heroes YouTube channel. His on-camera performances have also included short films Tough Love (Official Selection, Festival de Cannes’ Short Film Corner) and Hattie Needs Rehab (Excellence in Performance, Extreme Filmmaker 48 Hour Film Festival), the feature film Chasing Happiness, and the pilot for the children’s show “Imagination Station”. Corey Blake also has experience behind the camera. He has written comedy sketches, and directed and produced videos for the Magic Meathands Originals sketch web-series, as well as sketches for Foe Pa and The 3rd Floor: LA. He co-wrote and co-produced the feature length musical comedy Mission: Improbable. Additionally, he helped produce the award-winning documentary Dig Comics (Best Documentary, Comic-Con Int’l: Independent Film Festival; Official Selection, Festival de Cannes’ Short Film Corner) and a demo trailer for the charitable organization Voices From Chornobyl. He’s also crazy about kitties, which means the internet is a very happy place for him. See for more.

Posted on February 10, 2012, in New Comics for New Readers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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