– The Marsupilami is ready to pounce on an auction
In Paris, Batem sells an armful of originals for the first time. Other great masters of comics go under the hammer.
He doesn’t like to give up his plates, his bindings or his sketches. Luc Collin, pseudonym breath for all comic lovers who still want to be won over by it Paris gallery owner Daniel Maghen, project manager of a prestigious auction organized in Paris on Monday June 20th. In the House of Latin America on Boulevard Saint-Germain, 25 historical and contemporary pieces will go under the hammer for the buyer of the Marsupilami with an estimate of 2,000 to 10,000 euros. Other great masters of the ninth art are part of this auction. Among them Franquin, the creator of Marsu, but also Bilal, Morris or Rosinski.
Batem at auction is a first. The sixty-year-old Belgian is a master of popular comics and is decried by some as such. He has many fans among his peers. To be convinced of it, it is enough to browse the Monday sale catalog dedicated to the affected person, in which several designers and screenwriters comment and analyze his paw.
For illustrator Loïc Jouannigot, “the line (of Batem) is fair, clear and happy. The characters are very lively, full of very thoughtful details with always a lot of humor. (…) Its pages and its boxes offer a clear visual legibility, a sign of the greats of comics.” For his part, screenwriter Xavier Fauche notes “its bold frame, its dynamic coloring and its shots backwards shots”.
Olivier Grenson points out that Batem “has subtly distilled his soul and style, his sympathy and love for the character, an admiration for both Franquin and the Marsu without ever becoming a duplicate.” Finally, Olivier Saive provides the last argument: “No specialist can tell the difference between a Marsupilami by Franquin and one by Batem – I have already seen drawings by Luc that have been said to be those of the master!”
In addition to Batem, another author intends to devote a separate column to this Paris auction. Patrice Pellerin, goldsmith of historical and maritime comics, has been writing, drawing and coloring the “L’Épervier” series for more than thirty years. In the catalogue, he explains how his character was created an hour after the death of the screenwriter of “Barbe Rouge”, Jean-Michel Charlier. He also mentions the starting point of his stories and the questions he asks himself: “What do I want to show? In which places? Do I want to further develop my characters? On Monday, Pellerin presents 21 pieces, a selection of beautiful black and white panels and color illustrations specially made for the occasion.
With an original cover from the “Bruce J. Hawker” series, another master of nautical mood joins the list of featured authors. William Vance, also co-creator of the XIII series, was one of the finest designers/illustrators of his generation. Other pieces selected, and this is purely subjective, are work by André Juillard (in particular a sublime illustration poster for an exhibition in 2006), Ted Benoit (plates from The Francis Blake Affair), Olivier Schwartz (cover original from Spirou newspaper ) or Milo Manara. A total of 169 lots, a good number of which are likely to exceed their original estimate.
Auction “Comics & Illustration”, Monday 20 June at 6.30 p.m., Maison de l’Amérique Latine, 217 bld Saint-Germain in Paris. Information: danielmaghen-encheres.com
Philippe Muri is a journalist, jointly responsible for the culture section. In particular, it includes comic strips and cultural excursions. He also worked as a sports journalist or editor for the daily newspapers “Le Matin” and “Le Temps” and for the weekly newspaper “L’Illustré”.