Sunday, September 12, 2010

#6 - Frederik Peeters

In your comic books (no matter whether you are doing drama or science fiction) you are always writing about human beings, their problems, emotional condition and concerns. Why do people and relationships are most important to you?

Because human beings are the only subjects that make good stories. I cannot imagine writing something interesting about eggplants or palm trees. Everything I like to read or watch tells stories about human concerns. I love our little intimate games, when we play to be courageous despite of our cowardness, when we lie to ourselfes or to others about what we hide inside. The contradictions about what we show and what we really are. 

You created one autobiographical graphic novel (“Blue Pills”), comic book series based on real events (“RG”) and a lot of comic books based on fiction. What is the difference between fiction and nonfiction writing? What is easier for you?

It is very easy to write about your life, especially when you know you're living something very special. You just need to organise and make choices, but the core is always very clear and full of energy, because it lives in your guts. The important question is not the “how”, but the “why”. “RG” was a very different exercice. I had to build a story of genre out of pieces of real life anecdotes told by a real french cop. Everything in there is very far from my way of seeing life and people. So I had to find a balance between the necessary clichés of the genre and the taste of reality we wanted to give. In the first case, I had the feeling of playing jazz music, in the second I felt like cooking something with a precise receipt. All my other fiction books have always a link with my concerns and my life.

Your comic books always have interesting background and great atmosphere (sci-fi in “Lupus”, horror in “Pachyderme”). Does background, type of genre comes first when you are thinking about the story? Or do you think about  your characters first and then you choose specific background for them?

I always start with a taste in my mouth. Stories have tastes. Images have tastes. I always start with a tone and a taste, like a global vision if you like, a kind of direction. So the background comes first. And then the characters appear and will be sucked into the context and create the story.

Sometimes you are changing your drawing style. Do you like to experiment or do you think, that every story should have particular type of drawings?

The two reasons are both correct. I'm always afraid to get bored, so I try different graphic styles, but the story comes first, and the drawings must serve the reading process.

Cinema has movement and music has sound. And what – for you – distinguish and make comic books a different medium?

For me comic books shouldn’t try to compare with cinema or music. It has much more to do with litterature. Because it totally depends on the person who reads it. When nobody reads a comic, it doesn't exist, it's nothing, dead. When you press play on your DVD player and you go to the toilets, the film still exists without you, in an empty room. Reading books or comics is an active exercice, it exists only in the human brain. It's almost a magical process. Nothing magic in music or cinema when you think about it, it's physical process, light, air vibration etc... So for me, it's interesting to use the brain of the reader, by playing with rythm, elipses, undertext, silence and symbols.

Many critics say, that everything in art had already been said and done. If that’s true, what are the new solutions and horizons for comic books?

I don't know. From my point of view, I try not to get bored by making the books I would like to read. And I always try to make books that could only work in that medium. It's dangerous and frustrating to make under-cinema, or under-litterature.

Instant photography, like Polaroid, captures the evanescent moment. And what is evanescent for you?

Life. The only way to give a definition to this word is by opposing it to the word Death.

If you could take only one picture, what would you photograph?

A painting.

You can also find Frederik Peeters here:
- Portraits As Living Deads


  1. Mój ulubiony autor komiksowy. Jeszcze jak okazuje się, że jest porządnym i miłym facetem, no to po prostu megazazdroszczę okazji poznania osobiście.

  2. Też go uwielbiam. Każdy kolejny komiks mnie zachwyca. A miałem zaszczyt rozmawiać z nim osobiście dwa razy i kilka razy mailowo, i to naprawdę niesamowicie sympatyczny gość, z którym nawet wywiad przeradza się w rozmowę o fajnych książkach, filmach i życiu.