Mickey in France – Part 3: Mickey’s Craziest Adventures by Keramidas & Trondheim
Glénat, French publisher of bande dessinée (comic books) has recently partnered with Disney to license French language comics featuring Mickey Mouse and friends. In a three part series, we will take a look at three of the artists and their work.
Keramidas & Trondheim
Two old hands in the French Comics world, Nicolas Keramidas and Lewis Trondheim finish off our Mickey in France series with Mickey’s Craziest Adventures.
Pages from Mickey’s Craziest Adventures by Keramidas and Trondheim:
The following is from a Glénat interview with Keramidas and Trondheim, translated by our friends at Google Translate (My notes in red):
How did the adventure begin?
Keramidas: I had heard of a possible collection on Disney led by Jacques Glénat (at the time, several designers had to make 6/8 pages). I asked him if I could make a short story, and he offered me to make a full album. He also asked me if I wanted to write it, but I preferred to contact Lewis …
Lewis Trondheim: When Nicolas asked me to do the script, I did not hesitate for a second. And when he told me he wanted ALL the characters and ALL possible decorations, there, I began to worry. And then I found this trick of pages found where one could avoid to script and draw the pages of dialogue and explanation that slowed the action.
Keramidas: I had proposed to Lewis to make a second album where we would only put the missing pages. But he replied that it would probably fall on the album more charming in the history of comics, because there would in the end only scenes of transitions and tons of blabla …
After Dungeon, what motivated your desire to work together?
Lewis Trondheim: I think it’s just because Nicolas does not know how Donald and Mickey talk. And I do not know how to draw them.
Keramidas: Dungeon was a really pleasant experience, already because I was a real fan of the series, but mainly because it is really motivating to work with Lewis. But, being able to make only one album, I was also very frustrated. So as soon as I knew about this project around Mickey, I immediately thought it was time to start a new collaboration together!
How do you proceed?
Lewis Trondheim: After we agreed on the principle, I wrote my scenarios by drawing them into a quick storyboard, which I then sent to Nicolas in blocks of 3 to 4 pages. He then made his sketches and I sent back 150 to 200 pages of comments for him to make changes. And he goes in.
Keramidas: It’s exaggerated but it’s not far from that. The advantage when working with Lewis is its reaction time: no matter whether it’s home, festival, overseas or even sleeping, you can always expect a response under 7 Minutes chrono. As a result, the album is the consequence of a series of exchanges full of emails.
What do Disney characters mean to you?
Lewis Trondheim: At 10 or 12, I had access to the (Floyd) Gottfredson Mickey Strips of the 1930s and (Carl) Barks stories of the 1940s … I preferred it a thousand times to Corto Maltese that I was zapped in Pif Gadget.
Keramidas: For my part, they are related to childhood for sure. But my Mickey is more like animation. I think of short films like The Prince and the Pauper or The Mickey’s Christmas Carol that I had to watch 203 times. Whether in design or how to move, it is exactly as it should be in my opinion. In comics, Cavazzano and Mastantuono are other references. And even if it is not seen at all, I always had an eye on their work when I went on our album.
How do you explain that they are always fascinating readers and authors?
Lewis Trondheim: These are characters who accompanied our childhood, we grew up with, and they made us grow. And then it’s like we were in a sandbox, kids, and another child let us play with his plastic Mickey and Donald.
Keramidas: Perhaps because this character has something ultimate in its design. On a round, you add two black circles and 100% of people will tell you it’s Mickey! I think it has been part of our daily life for so long that it continues to fascinate even today. Especially as Disney also knows how to renew itself.
It should not be obvious to bring the vision of author into the pre-existing world of Mickey. Has this constraint been a brake or, on the contrary, a motivation?
Lewis Trondheim: We were told clearly that the only constraints we knew because we had read many stories, that it was in us. And then I, constraints, I adore. The more puzzles I put under my eyes, the more I want to solve them.
Keramidas: We tried above all to do that with respect. We were given this toy, the idea was immediately to play with it without breaking it. So we were necessarily more in motivation than in constraint.