One of the many wonderful things that has come out of my visit to the Angouleme has been the opportunity to work with Bernard Caleo. Mild-mannered museum program officer by day; by nights and weekends Bernard is a comic creator, teacher, publisher and raconteur.
Bernard is currently running What It Is, a monthly program at Readings bookshop in Carlton, exploring the nature and diversity of comics today. Last month I climbed aboard the What It Is express, to revisit Angouleme. This was no ordinary presentation, certainly not your standard powerpoint click and chat, or two fine gentlemen stroking their chins for an audience of bored academics.
What It Is combines storytelling, conversation, performance and humour. Readings bookshop hosts the event - it's free to attend - and makes everyone welcome with a glass or wine or two. This one also included comic writer/illustrator Brenton McKenna, whose first book Ubby's Underdogs was recently published.
Events like What It Is bring people together. Despite appearances I am not really a comic geek. I got into this area out of frustration that there is too little local production of comic book publishing for young people. (Hence the need to go to france, obviously.) I am really pleased to have been able to share my little experience with Melbourne's comics community. Details of the next What It Is can be found here.
Bernard's blog has more photos, including his kamishibai on Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Check it out!