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Desc:French-Serbian comics artist and film maker Enki Bilal makes art in his Paris studio.
Category:Arts, Cartoons & Animation
Tags:France, bilal, enki bilal, Nikopol, French comics
Submitted:kingarthur
Date:12/18/15
Views:1192
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Comment count is 11
Aelric - 2015-12-18
Not half as elderly as I expected. I rather love this mans work. It's delightfully weird.

The Nikopol trilogy he has somehow retained an exceptional amount of authorship across multiple mediums. He made the original comic, directed the movie himself and was a creative director (though not top director) of the PC video game.

I can respect someone that is so dedicated to a singular work, even as he interprets it in different ways himself. And I'll always love weird. He has flaws and weaknesses in all three mediums that are apparent because to the comparison. The comic is the first and strongest form of it, and I suggest that as were anyone begins with his work.

Despite his focus on the Nikopol Trilogy, I would actually recommend "The Hunting Party" more as an entry point, if for no other reason then it's more grounded nature before diving into the art-school weirdness that Nikopol represents.
Aelric - 2015-12-18
The movie, if you didn't know, was the recently submitted "Immortel (ad Vitam)." It's not a great movie. At all. But it's deliriously enjoyable if you've read the comic as a formative age, or if you like experimental weirdness and don't mind the worst CGI you've ever seen and needless amounts of it.

garcet71283 - 2015-12-18
Huh? So that's what that was. I remember seeing it on Saturday afternoons on Sci-Fi Channel years ago thinking "What the fuck am I watching?"

Aelric - 2015-12-18
Was that a good "what am I watching?" or a bad "What am I watching?"

I genuinely want to hear more about people that know of Bilal.

When I was about 21, I moved out of my dorms and into a fairly large bornig house-style place with 5 other roommates. One of them was the manager (now owner) of Danger Room Comics, Olympia WA's downtown comic destination (hated by real nerds, loved by the art crowd.) I hadn't been exposed to many comics at all and had zero interest as an adult in gero comics, but he had three huge bookcases full of alternative comics that he lend to me as I wished. Daniel Clowes, Enki Bilal, Craig Thompson, Dave Sim (as a cautionary tale), Charles Burns. It was great, a formative year of literature in comic format for me.

Bilal stuck out as particularly weird in a specifically French Sci-Fi arthouse way, though at the time I'd have not identified it as conceptually French.

It's weird, but the best way I'd describe it is that I thought it was meaningful at the time, even if it really wasn't meaningful in actuality. Burns, Clowes and Thompson had a greater effect on me as artists but Bilal still lingers in the strangest way.

Oscar Wildcat - 2015-12-19
I was aware that the movie existed, but hadn't seen it until it popped up in the hopper this week. I'm surprised you didn't like it. I thought it captured the comic strip look and feel quite well and made a nice stand alone story. I found myself thinking about bits of the movie for days afterwards and chuckling over Bilal's wry humor and social commentary. How often can you say that about a film?

Aelric - 2015-12-19
I did like the movie, but it's objectively not a great movie. The primary reason is the poor cgi and it's overuse in roles that could have easily been handled by live actors. I've seen it three times, too, and when you scrutinize things enough, you see the flaws. I'd still recommend the movie, especially to those that have read the comic, because of the authorship he retained in directing it himself.

kingarthur - 2015-12-20
I would also recommend Bilal's other two films, Bunker Palace Hotel, which is similar in theme to The Hunting Party; and Tykho Moon.

garcet71283 - 2015-12-20
It was neither a good or bad "what am I watching" rather a scientific question. I never got a chance to catch more than brief snippets of it at a time before I had to be somewhere else or the commercial was over for whatever I was actually watching.

All I remember is:

CGI Egyptian god possessing somebody. I also remember a flying pyramid and metal limbs.

CGI clown man CEO (new band name!).

Maybe not CGI blue haired chick.

kingarthur - 2015-12-19
I think The Hunting Party is currently in print and The Nikopol Trilogy is set to be reprinted in its entirety next year in 2016, around April by Titan as one large compendium.

As for the rest of Bilal's books, I can't find anything that isn't out of print in English and going for at least online.

However, if you're inclined to piracy as a way of broadening your horizons, just search for Enki Bilal on the public tracker of your choice and you should come back with enough results to keep you going as far as comics are concerned.

I got into Bilal because my introduction to comics happened as follows:

1. Claremont and Byrne's X-Men Dark Phoenix Saga
2. The local drugstore chain carried pretty much only late 80s/early 90s Daredevil, Hulk, X-Men, Suicide Squad, Sandman, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Shade.
3. The comic book store across the street from the drugstore kind of specialized in weird French comics and independent publishers, so a lot of the runs of Badger, John Sable, American Flagg, and anything Moebius did got added to my repertoire.
4. Bilal.

All before age 14. I was a weird fucking kid. Listened to a lot of Brit post punk and trip hop and two tone too.
kingarthur - 2015-12-19
That's probably a four year span from age 9 to 14 or so covered there.

Pillager - 2015-12-19
"The Hunting Party" from Heavy Metal was my intro.

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