Monday, 4 April 2011

Kiki de Montparnasse

Lots of people know that Kiki de Montparnasse was Man Ray's muse, but I had no idea that she knew and inspired so many others: Mendjisky, Soutine, Modigliani, Matisse are only a few of them. So the fast-moving, lusciously produced, completely addictive, Angouleme prize-winning comic by Jose Louis Bocquet and Catel Muller was educational as well as an absolute pleasure to read.

I like learning about people and events through comics. The story gets so many more chances to come to life when the teller can give you look and the speed of the story visually and in words, and when the two complement each other as well. Always looking for ways to express the relationship between stories and real life, I was particularly taken with a line spoken by Maurice Mendjisky just before he and Kiki fall in love, that 'we're all just tenants in our own stories'. Is that true? Perhaps it is. Do we leave when we can't pay the rent? Is it more about choice - you choose where you are and who have to justify your existence there in some way? Or is it about situation - the walls, the room, don't belong to you, and everything you take with you when you leave doesn't depend on the situation you first got it in?

I had a terrible craving for millionaire's shortbread while I was reading this. I blame that craving on 1) wanting to have as much fun as Kiki but the nearest fun thing being a cake shop and 2) that like millionaire's shortbread the story was surprisingly easy to digest for something so rich. Nonsense? Perhaps.

I learned even more about Kiki in the beautifully illlustrated 4 part guest blog by the authors on the Self Made Hero website. Self Made Hero are on fire at the moment, it seems - next I'll be tucking into the new Lovecraft anthology which has had nothing but good reviews. And I have a copy at home, to boot. Bring it on! 

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