Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sempe Est Magnifique!

I didn't realize it, but I've been diving into the work of French cartoonish Jean-Jacque Sempe, almost by accident. It began with the delightful classic French children's book "Nicholas," about a schoolboy who gets in all the usual sort of trouble. Dry and very witty, I'm convinced the book is even more delightful in its original French but happy to know I can appreciate the droll illustrations by Sempe. Two sequels have come out, both just as charming. That led me to Sempe's graphic novel "Martin Pebble." And now the NYT tells me that this is all part of a Sempe renaissance and I can look forward to collections of his cartoons and other works in the coming weeks. Mon dieu! I'm going to be broke. I love his comment about being wildly influenced by The New Yorker...for a moment.
The decisive influence upon him was some copies of The New Yorker he happened to see around this time. “All of them, I don’t want to leave anyone out,” he said. “Charles Addams. Saul Steinberg. James Thurber. They made such an impression on me that I saw only three or four copies and then decided never to look at the magazine again. They were too great.”

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