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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.

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