Gabrielle Bell was interviewed by Dan Nadel over at The Comics Journal. It’s a fascinating conversation covering wide raging topics, from The Voyeurs to Kramer’s Ergot, to her thoughts on autobiographical comics, to… well so much more! Here’s a taste:
NADEL: So then what’s the process in assembling something like Voyeurs? Because it has a definite structure, and it covers a bunch of years. It doesn’t feel like a book of incidental pieces: it actually kind of felt like an arc. I mean, not only because relationships happen, come to an end —
BELL: I think it’s actually — maybe the reader imposes that arc.
NADEL: Really? That wasn’t intentional?
BELL: It was intentional, but I was only working with this big pile of stories.
NADEL: Right. But you must’ve left some out, and —
BELL: Yeah, but — also, there were stories that I left out that were relevant to the “so-called” arc that I left out because they weren’t that good … But I did, I definitely was trying to streamline it. I added a few pages in here and there. Like to begin and end Ron and my relationship, for example, so we didn’t just jump into it. And then also Michel [Gondry] and me. It’s kind of weird to have these two relationships in there, and they’re not really much to do with each other in the story. But mostly, I was just choosing the stories that were the best, or perhaps were reaching for something bigger, so in a way it was more like the natural — I mean, every story that we write, that one individual writes, is kind of the same story — they’re trying to get at the same thing, in a way. So, I think there are natural themes that come about, and that’s, in a way, the arc. As I was doing all the stories, I wasn’t thinking about it in the bigger sense — it was just each story I would try to do the thing as an independent unit. I wish I were more calculating though — if I could somehow make my life into a story.
NADEL: [Laughs.] But you do — I mean, the stuff with Michel in France is very story-ish. You know, you have set-ups, and comic beats, and there are gags in there, and there’s a story. You get there, and you leave, but in between there are these episodes.
BELL: I wish I could tell more of it. I wish I could — when I was working on the movie [Interior Design – a segment within Tokyo! (2008)] with him in Japan, I wish I could have told the story then. I wish I had kept the comics journals then, but we were working so much. We’d get up at 5, 6 in the morning, and then work until 2 in the morning, and there was no time to even jot anything down. But it was so much more interesting than — I feel like, in a way, I’m doing all the comics about the boring parts, because there’s nothing happening, so there’s time to do it.
Read the entire interview here. It’s a good one!