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Everyone was looking forward to this meeting in the Sakharov Center. In France, today is one of the most coherent systems for publishing comics. Rarely is there an opportunity to learn about it first hand. But the conversation exceeded all expectations. Laurent Galmo has a great deal of editorial experience behind him. He edited magazines, issued a ticket to the life of many albums … Technical education allows Galmo to freely operate with numbers and statistics. Needless to say, the amount of information gathered left everyone with a slight shock. Now, finally, a printed version has also appeared, for which a tremendous human thanks to Andrei and Natasha Snegirev, who saved all the performance on the recorder. Anyway: they helped out like that!

The highly specialized focus of the conversation with domestic comicsmakers made communication through the translator slightly difficult. For example, when translating, such important terms as “collection” and “series” were confused. Sometimes it was not clear whether it was an American or a French comic. And when the conversation spread to coloring, with printing jargon inherent in the topic, the inconsistencies grew exponentially. In the proposed listing of the Galmo workshop, terminological errors were eliminated as far as possible.

Laurent Galmo (right) and Emanuel Duran (publisher of the Russian version of “Asterix”). Photo by Natasha Snegireva.

Introductory remarks by Pavel “Khikhus” Sukhikh, director of the “KomMissiya 2003” festival, head of the “People of the Dead Fish” art studio: Whoever rustles with candy wrappers and laughs I will drive out of the hall. Cell phones off.

Laurent Galmo: Hello. I would like to tell you about the French experience in publishing comics. About the experience that we have accumulated over twenty years of work. During this time, we used different methods for publishing comic books, and, first of all, these were comic book magazines. And the second is the creation of publishing houses.

As for magazines, several different artists who work on the same topic come together here. One artist works on albums, and each leads his own theme. Currently, the average album is issued in circulation from 10,000 to 100,000. Twenty years ago, the circulation was less.

The turning point in the French comic book production took place in the late 60s – early 70s, immediately after May 1968, our so-called “little revolution”. Draftsmen united in teams to express their views on what was happening in their own magazines, which responded to the realities of the times. Those magazines came out in black and white and contained humorous stories, political pamphlets and satire, which reacted violently to contemporary events.

At first, these magazines were distributed on the street and in front of universities. And quietly, over 5-6 years, their circulation progressed from 10,000 to 100,000. Each magazine specialized in its own topic. Some on realistic stories, others on science fiction and fantasy, and others on satire.

Magazines have always been led by authors. Four authors published Metal Hurlant, four were also Fluide Glacial, and Echo Shroud two draftsmen. The authors were not paid, but they gained creative freedom and published on their pages what they wanted. Magazines were composed of small stories – 4-12 pages per month. After 2-3 years, each of the authors gathered enough groundwork to publish their own album. That is how some publishing houses were created. He started Futuropolis with the magazine. As short stories accumulated, magazine editions published their first albums.

And this is one of the methods of starting your own publishing business, which is still in use today. Over time, an independent team of authors with their own journal collects enough material to open a publishing house. This first way to publish comics can be profitable no earlier than in 2-3 years. Then the founding authors can already afford to invite other authors to work on new albums.

For publication you need:
1) Authors
2) Printer
3) Distributor

Authors will have to pay for the seal. Magazine publishers can distribute comics themselves. They go around shops, kiosks and offer their publications. Many, many publishing houses started with such small publishing structures, whose staff now numbers up to 50 people, and the annual production is 100-120 albums. That is, this is the first way to start with the publication of comics. It all starts with black and white issues, and over time, you get the opportunity to publish color albums in large numbers.

Another way to start with a small structure is to start re-publishing those comics that were published 20-30 years ago and are no longer available for sale. The publisher takes the old comics, combines them into albums, and opens his own business with the publication of comic book collections of past years. It is inexpensive and easy to do.

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