Thierry Joor (editor at Delcourt): “No, there are not too many (…)

– Thierry Joor, you have been an editor at Delcourt for a long time. What exactly is your role and what series and authors have you introduced us to?

I have been working with Guy Delcourt for 26 years. I started in 1998 as external collection director before becoming a salaried editor in March 2003, then literary director from October 2004. Like most of the Delcourt group’s editors, I am eclectic and am interested in all comics, without exclusive. For me, the role of the publisher is to find good projects, initiate others and establish a bond of trust with its authors in order to be able to discuss the work in progress in respect for everyone. It’s about being part of the team and working together and not against each other. I always say that what I enjoy doing most is putting myself in the author’s head and pushing them to make the best book possible.

I am notably the editor of general public series such as The legendaries of Patrick Sobral, Toto’s Jokes of Thierry Coppée, The Scarlet Rose of Patricia Lyfoung, Lila of Séverine de la Croix but also series such Tales of Lost Hearts written by Loïc Clément And Armelle And Mirkofrom the trio Anne Montel, Loïc Clément and Julien Arnal.

I had the chance to “discover” the designer Theo with the historical series The Throne of Clay (written by France Richemond) who took over the design of Murena at Dargaud since, to work since its beginnings with Jenny and his Pink Diary but also with with Gaëlle Geniller (The Garden, Paris and Big Brother’s Flowers), to publish The Lovers of Hérouville of Yann Le Quellec And Romain Ronzeau, Hmong of Vicky Lyfoung, My Little Wolf of Camille Garoche or the ambitious and essential Return to Lembergof Philippe Sands, Jean-Christophe Camus And Christophe Picaud which has just been published.

Finally, since 2004, for example, I have also been the editor of series like Wakeof Jean David Morvan And Philippe Buchetof Okko after that The Serpent and the Spear amazing Hubof Centaurus, Europa, Tomorrow And Utopia co-created according to Leo, Rodolphe, Zoran Janjetov, Louis Alloing And Griffo. I cite these titles which are often great successes – but not only that – to show the diversity of the subjects supported and the target audiences.

– It seems that you were not too happy with a column published on ActuaBD concerning When night falls – Lisou by Marion Achard and Toni Galmés published by you at Delcourt. The chronicle was not, however, unfavorable…

This is not about being favorable or unfavorable to the book. Everyone has the right to think what they want. It’s also not about whether I’m happy or not, who cares. It was rather the substance of the article that seemed shocking to me. From the hat of this one, your journalist says “ A beautiful album, delicately presented […] but which has a taste of déjà vu...” This “deja vu”, I found harsh and unfair. And that’s what we remember because the journalist ultimately doesn’t say much about the content in the body of the article. She especially talks about her shape, which she finds “ successful » and little of the subject, which she nevertheless finds “ touching “. But if we take it literally, or if we read it a little quickly, we might think that she is a little fed up with the subject when she says “ While this is undoubtedly a painful period that must not be forgotten, the message can unfortunately lose intensity, as it has been treated so much. »

In short, being the editor of this book, but also a citizen who sees a good part of the world going in the wrong direction, I am indeed shocked to read that she believes that talking again and again about this tragic period of History “has a taste of déjà vu” and has been “treated so much”. Immediately, I thought that it was at least a lack of sensitivity, at worst a lack of respect for the approximately six million people exterminated, for the survivors and their traumatized descendants but especially for Lisou and Mylaine (respectively 91 and 102 years today) very much alive “heroines” of this story for whom testifying was not an obvious thing, and for the family of Simone Veil whose husband, Antoine, is the brother of Lisou and Mylaine.

It is also a cruel lack of respect for the authors of the book, particularly the screenwriter Marion Achard more than legitimate for writing this story since she is the great-niece of Lisou and Mylaine.

But no, there aren’t too many books on this subject, especially those intended primarily for young audiences, unless we consider that the very many young people who have already voted or who will vote for the extreme right in the months or The coming years represent no danger for our fragile democracy. Unless we consider that events such as the genocide in Rwanda, the war in former Yugoslavia, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia or the Hamas attack on October 7 and the totally inhuman and disproportionate response of the leaders of Israel to this attack are events that have nothing in common with the crimes against humanity and the genocides committed between 1939 and 1945.

In this case, yes, let’s stop witnessing and evoking these sad events, whether in comics or by another means. Our children will be fine on their own.

The time of the Second World War is moving away. Those who have experienced it are fewer and fewer in number. The duty to remember is an absolute necessity and there will never be one testimony too many, whatever the media used.

I think that comics have demonstrated, especially in recent years, that they are no longer just entertainment for children. It has taken its full place in the transmission of History and its pain, past or contemporary. Somewhere, talking about certain comic books like the journalist did about When night falls – Lisouit is also to humiliate the comic strip itself.

We must not neglect that we do not make books for journalists and other professionals, but rather for a readership sometimes without any other reading experience on certain subjects. We can estimate that all the subjects have been covered in comic strip form, but generations change, replace others and, especially for the youngest, everything remains to be discovered. For the 1939-45 War, it would also not be necessary for future generations, alone The big mop (which I love) remains the only “historical” trace of what happened during this period.

– The author of the column lamented the current inflation of comics on this subject. It is assumed that the success of Ginette Kolinka’s comics, Madeleine Resistantof the Children of the Resistanceof Manouchianetc., have not escaped your attention… As an editor, are you aware of this?

All the titles you mention are relatively recent. When I began my collaborations with the authors of When night falls – Lisou And Return to Lemberg who talk about these subjects, it was already at least three years ago and I did not say to myself cynically: “ Hey, there is a potential success niche for 2024. » No, they seemed essential to me at the time I signed them and, with all the current events, the situations we are experiencing, they are more so than ever. What is important is to make good books, so that no subject is dismissed because we, as professionals, have already read it a hundred times. You really need to take a step back or risk becoming jaded. And there’s nothing worse than being jaded because you no longer feel any emotion.

– What do you think of this plethora of offers? An impeccable author like the historian Georges Bensoussan himself evokes in The confiscated history of European Jews (Ed. Presses universitaire de France) a “feeling of saturation” and notes that it proceeds “ of a society which has made genocide an alpha and an omega of creation “. He adds : ” …contrary to the desired goal, this centrality of memory ended up preventing us from thinking about the present. » Gotlib himself in Defusing in 1974 (where he dealt with the media coverage of humanitarian disasters) noted that, unfortunately, society can become accustomed to facts that we should not accept… Recent history seems to prove them right… That do you think? What can we do, what can authors do, to avoid this pitfall?

We must have those who have the courage and who have been victims of all these atrocities and all these injustices testify while there is still time. But it must be done with authors who will know how to listen to them, restore them and give them a real identity.

I would like to end by telling an anecdote. When the film Spielberg, Schindler’s List was released in theaters in 1993, I went to see it like many people. It was quite long and in the middle of a rendition of the massacre in the Krakow ghetto, there was an intermission to allow the public to go buy popcorn and other drinks. And they went there in numbers and without batting an eyelid, as if the film being shown was just a blockbuster film. I already told myself at that moment that human beings were strange, that they could curl up in their bubble (here the popcorn and the fizzy drink) while avoiding facing the reality of the world. When night falls – Lisou And Return to Lemberg are there to bear witness to what some people are capable of doing, in both good and bad ways, and to give meaning to humanity.

Comments collected by Didier Pasamonik

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