451. The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau

This is the last graphic novel I read in 2013.  I do have one more post to make a little later on as they keep changing the publication date of the book.  But 2014 titles will start tomorrow!


451. The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau

Rating: (4/5)

Mar. 15 2013, NBM Publishing, 272 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Etienne Davodeau is a comic artist. He doesn’t know much about the world of wine-making.  Richard Leroy is a wine-maker. He‘s rarely even read comics.  But these two are full of good will and curiosity. Why do we choose to spend one’s life writing and creating comics or producing wine? How and for whom do we do them?  To answer these questions, for more than a year, Etienne went to work in Richard’s vineyards and cellar. Richard, in return, leapt into the world of comics. They opened a lot of bottles and read many comics. They traveled around, meeting authors and wine-makers sharing their passion for their jobs.  The first time a book explores the nature of a man’s vocation with a true life representation of it from two very different perspectives. They get to realize they both have that precious and necessary power to bring people together.

With guest appearances by Trondheim (Dungeon, Little Nothings), Emmanuel Guibert (The Photographer) and Marc-Antoine Matthieu (Museum Vaults).."

Received a pdf from the publisher.

This is a fascinating nonfiction memoir-type of book.  The author is a "comic" artist as they are called in France and he proposes his new idea to his friend who is a vintner.  Etienne will work in the vineyard and learn all about wines and the industry, while Etienne will introduce his friend to "comics" and the whole industry including fan conventions.  The artwork is beautiful.  Davodeau is a realist and the drawings are true-to-life with the change of seasons being shown in his friend, Richard Leroy, growing his hair to keep him warm in the fields during winter and the annual shave off as he enters the warm season.  The book focuses more on the author's experiences with his friend, learning about the grapes, soil, harvesting as he works alongside Leroy in the fields.  Every time they get together, Leroy has bottles of wine for them to taste and he teaches Etienne the art of wine tasting; they go off and visit other vineyards and even attend a large wine show in France.  The reverse side of this experiment is less of the book but still enough to prove insightful.  Leroy has hardly ever read a comic and Etienne keeps him supplied with the best of the best.  Now most of these are French books, I've not heard of but there were a few such as "Watchmen" and "Mause" in there as well.  Leroy is taken to the printers, the publishers, a comic-con and off to visit some famous French illustrators.  My favourite part here was their meeting with Emmanuel Guibert, author/illustrator of "The Photographer".  A favourite of mine.  They also met with a few of the actual people who participated in that true-life story.  This is a slow, meandering story that simply tells an interesting, not exciting, tale of two men discovering there is more to life than their own personal obsessions but also getting to share their obsession with someone who genuinely wants to learn.  I myself moved to wine country about 8 years ago and all the insider information will certainly improve my wine experiences!