“Journal 1 & 2”, by Fabrice Neud: portrait of a lover moving away

Let’s rejoice! Delcourt editions have decided to republish this masterpiece of autobiographical comics, in which Fabrice Neaud, among other things, evokes her daily life in a provincial town, her homosexuality and her incomplete loves.

© 2022 Delcourt © 1996-1998 Ego as X

Is there a way out in a one-sided love or is it just a dead end? The young Fabrice, commissioned on an artistic project for a local parish, tries to make a living from his art. In love with Stéphane, the boy he met in a public park and who acts as his model, Fabrice evokes the heartbreaks associated with this relationship, his passion that grows as the beloved moves away. A description with the scalpel of an announced failure in love.

Aesthetics of brutes - Journal 1 & 2 (February 1992 - December 1993) - Fabrice NeudOriginally published in 1996 by the publisher Ego as Xunfortunately now disappeared, the work is republished today in its entirety (4 parts, the last one is scheduled for September) by Delcourt. As Fabrice Neaud states in the afterword, where he elaborates on the reasons for an editorial silence of twenty years while the project was to continue, the famous newspaper is thus put back on track, awaiting the publication of the first part, which begins a new cycle. quadrilogical, with the title The last sergeant and announced for 2023. Remember that Fabrice Neauddraftsman and screenwriter, is far from unknown as he has published several books, especially in collaboration with Denis Bajram, Valerie Mangin (Three Christs) and Christopher Bec (labyrinth).

It is under the shrewd impulse of David Chauvel that the editions Delcourt Offer us a catch-up session, with this first part praised by critics of its time and very legally rewarded in Angoulême, here reinforced by the second part, released in 1998.

Diary 1: Chronicle of an Announced Break

If you like simple stories, I’ll save you some time: you can move on! This diary is a demanding work that reaches a level of introspection that is rarely seen in an autobiography. Fabrice Neaudat that time, 24 years old, evokes his difficult artistic beginnings, in the early 90s, in his provincial town (whose name he will never mention): unpaid commissioned work, recurring shouting fights with his partner Alain, galère de thunes .. the author also talks about an unsatisfactory love life, about his futile excursions in the city’s gay bar, about his hidden nocturnal encounters in the nearby park, about flirting games that sometimes end badly, the “queer busters” who have always known where to go go to satisfy their hateful impulses and hide their sexual frustration …

The book will very quickly focus on his relationship with Stéphane, a young conscript from the contingent met in that park, and whom he will ask to line up as part of his work. Stéphane is graciously suited to the game, Fabrice will very quickly fall in love with this boy whose flame will not be really mutual. But Fabrice knows, despite her growing passion, how to stay clear and understand that a breakup is inevitable. The more insistent he becomes, the more Stéphane moves relentlessly away. His visit is spread out, always unexpected. For Fabrice, the situation becomes unbearable. In an almost suicidal act, he will commit the irreparable by sending her letter after letter and letting the worst of himself explode …

© 2022 Delcourt © 1996-1998 Ego as X

Diary 2: At two in the morning I have chills

Shorter than the previous one, this second part is a story of transition. The author tries to recover from his breakup with Stéphane. He entrusts us with his mood on a wide range of topics, evokes his loneliness and his unbridled desire for well-built men, he, the type with ” lig except for the rare fucking moments.

Fabrice Neaud also resumes the beginning of its collaboration with Loic Nehouadmirable founder ofEgo as Xwhich will lead a few years later to the release of Onion here. Towards the end, the most attentive will be able to see the fleeting image of his next love, Dominique, which will be the main topic in the next part.

On the way to hell

Sure, Fabrice Neaud offers us here an unusual autobiography, in which he gives up with an open heart, without pretense, without the modesty of this facade being too often practiced in this type of works. This is not a diary of a bag, and the author does not necessarily appear in his best light. He does not give himself gifts, no more to himself than to the other characters who put into the story. Moreover, Naud manages to maintain an unexpected suspense in a story whose tragic outcome we can still guess, suspense no doubt because of his raw and whole-cut side, which exposes him to violent setbacks as a result of actions that are no less violent.

Fabrice likes men, the “real”, the “brute”, and is not attracted to the “crazy” or the macho leather. He likes well-built, virile and possibly hairy types, with a “straight” look, and therefore does not fit into the boxes. Especially since he does not express a particular solidarity with his fellow human beings, who sometimes show a sectarianism, including codes that are not benevolent, on the contrary, only reproduce the flaws of a heterosexual society that only tolerates them and that they themselves regret .

Besides, Fabrice Neaud draws gay desire in an excellent way, enlarges the portraits taken from his photographic images, and perfectly captures the emotions behind glances and smiles. His line, realistic at the bottom but more centered on the characters than on the decorations, brings the emotions to life by resorting to an almost impressionistic technique: faces blurred, hatched, scratched or literally erased. His skilled sense of cutting does the rest, Naud establish a permanent dialogue, always full of apropos, between drawing and text.

This work, a thousand leagues from stereotypes about homosexuals, has undoubtedly given the author the opportunity to reach a wider audience than just the LGBT edge, which is not stupidly glorified here. The texts, imbued with a very sharp and not necessarily very optimistic clarity, are excellent and reflect a very sharp reflection on the state of our society and more broadly on human nature.

At the end of this column, it seems to me useless to specify that it would be a shame to miss this impressive work – at least for those like me who missed it when it was first published. On the other hand, it seems to me absolutely essential to insist on the need to discover it, even rediscover it! In conclusion, I can only agree with the publisher’s words that present the book as ” French comics’ greatest autobiographical work “.

Laurent Proudhon

Aesthetics of animals – Journal 1 & 2 (February 1992 – December 1993)
Manuscript & drawing: Fabrice Neaud
Publisher: Delcourt
200 pages – € 22.95 (€ 15.99 in digital version)
Release: April 13, 2022
First edition published by Ego comme X, in two volumes (1996 and 1998 respectively)

Aesthetics of Brutes – Journal 1 & 2 (February 1992 – December 1993) – Excerpt:

Aesthetics of brutes - Journal 1 & 2 (February 1992 - December 1993) - Fabrice Neud
© 2022 Delcourt © 1996-1998 Ego as X

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