Cover image for Yellow negroes and other imaginary creatures / Yvan Alagbe ; [translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith].
Title:
Yellow negroes and other imaginary creatures / Yvan Alagbe ; [translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith].
Author:
ISBN:
9781681371764
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review of Books, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
109 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Abstract:
"Yvan Alagbe one of the most innovative and provocative artists in the world of comics. In the stories gathered in Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures--drawn between 1994 and 2011, and never before available in English--he uses stark, endlessly inventive black-and-white brushwork to explore love and race, oppression and escape. It is both an extraordinary experiment in visual storytelling and an essential, deeply personal political statement. With unsettling power, the title story depicts the lives of undocumented migrant workers in Paris. Alain, a Beninese immigrant, struggles to protect his family and his white girlfriend, Claire, while engaged in a strange, tragic dance of obsession and repulsion with Mario, a retired French Algerian policeman. It is already a classic of alternative comics, and, like the other stories in this collection, becomes more urgent every day"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

Yvan Alagbe is one of the most innovative and provocative artists in the world of comics. In the stories gathered in Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures -drawn between 1994 and 2011, and never before available in English-he uses stark, endlessly inventive black-and-white brushwork to explore love and race, oppression and escape. It is both an extraordinary experiment in visual storytelling and an essential, deeply personal political statement.

With unsettling power, the title story depicts the lives of undocumented migrant workers in Paris. Alain, a Beninese immigrant, struggles to protect his family and his white girlfriend, Claire, while engaged in a strange, tragic dance of obsession and repulsion with Mario, a retired French Algerian policeman. It is already a classic of alternative comics, and, like the other stories in this collection, becomes more urgent every day.


Author Notes

Yvan Alagbe was born in Paris and spent three years of his youth in West Africa. He returned to study mathematics and physics at the Universite de Paris-Sud, where he met Olivier Marboeuf. Alagbe and Marboeuf founded a contemporary visual arts review called L'oeil carnivore and the magazine Le Cheval sans tate ("The Headless Horse"), which gained a cult following for its publication of innovative graphic art and comics. Labeling these artistic collaborations as "Dissidence Art Work," Alagbe and Marboeuf soon founded their own publishing house, Amok, drawing from the material serialized in Le Cheval, including the first version of Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures . In 2001, Amok partnered with the publishing group Freon to establish the Franco-Belgian collaboration Fremok, now a major European graphic novels publisher. Alagbe lives in Paris.

Donald Nicholson-Smith is an award-winning translator of French literature. He has translated Jean-Patrick Manchette's Fatale and The Mad and the Bad , Jean-Paul Clebert's Paris Vagabond (all NYRB Classics), and the forthcoming NYR Comics title The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux. He lives in New York City.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

France's colonial history and current racial tensions underpin this dynamically drawn collection. Expanding on the characters in The School of Misery (2013), Alagbé explores themes of disconnection among Africans living in France and the uneasiness the native French feel in their presence. Some pieces provide sharp commentary on the enduring existence of colonial attitudes. "Postcard from Montreuil" is a straightforward depiction of the occupation of an employment agency by Malian laborers. "Sand Niggers" ties the 1961 Paris massacre of Algerians to the current migrant crisis, then ties it off with a mystical flourish. The more sprawling, Flaubert-inspired title story weaves together the experiences of a white French woman whose father hates her seeing "a black" with her boyfriend's trouble finding work and security ("pain and pride are two needles under his skin") and his family's harassment by a lonely old white man who fought in the African colonial wars. Alagbé's unstructured storytelling makes as strong an impression as his artwork's contrast between dramatic black slashes and negative space. His imagery and text together create haunting narratives in which a past of racism and guilt keeps overwhelming the present, and also the reader. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

With poetic, elliptical text and stark, impressionistic black-and-white art, French cartoonist Alagbé reveals the toxic legacy of European colonialism upon individuals and families. Siblings Martine and Alain, undocumented Beninese immigrants in Paris, first exploit then reject the fawning attentions of a former military man now ostracized for killing protestors. A concluding piece comments on recent migrants and their unwelcome reception, including those in the United States impacted by President Trump's recent policies. (Xpress Reviews 2/9/18) © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.