Jean-Christophe Menu: Independent Publishing as Art

For more than twenty years, Jean-Christophe Menu has been a vital force in French comics publishing, both as an author of autobiographical comics and as a publisher. In 1990 he co-founded the seminal independent publishing house L’Association, which has published important, internationally-recognized work by artists including Marjane Satrapi, David B., and many more. In 2011 he founded a new independent publishing house, L’Apocalypse, dedicated to tracing the relationships between comics and other art forms. Throughout, he has militantly defended the integrity of independent publishing.

In this special discussion with Best American Comics series editor Bill Kartalopoulos, Menu will discuss his own work as an artist and a publisher, the legacy of publishing that has inspired him, and the ethics of independent production.

Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.



Alliance Française Mpls/St Paul will be hosting a live viewing of this evening in Minneapolis, followed by a discussion with local artists Anders Nilsen and Tom Kaczynski on their experiences working with French cartoonists in translation and in PFC’s structured, experimental collaborations. Nilsen and Kaczynski will show some examples of the resulting artwork.

Starting with his first fanzines at 17, and even earlier as a kid, Jean-Christophe Menu has always combined creating and publishing in his work.  He is at once a graphist and an author, viewing his own work as an auto-production. Launching L’Association in 1990, Menu defined a literary approach to comics, which was quite new in France.  He managed to include humor and a kind of pataphysical approach. These days, he draws more than he publishes and continues to explore new ideas.  In 2011, he published his dissertation on the subject “la bande desinée et son double” (“Comic art and its double” – quoting Antonin Artaud). Menu is also a critic, a colorist, an a political writer, and the founder of OuBaPo (an equivalent of the french OuLiPo), which incorporates numerous aspects of the comics field.

Bill Kartalopoulos is a Brooklyn-based comics critic, educator, curator and editor. He is the Series Editor for the Best American Comics series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He currently teaches Comics History in the MFA Visual Narrative program at SVA. He is the programming coordinator for the MoCCA Arts Festival and SPX: The Small Press Expo and is a member of the Executive Committee for the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF). He is the publisher/editor of the small, occasional avant-garde comics publishing imprint Rebus Books.