You Are There

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They stole his ancestral lands of Mornemont, leaving him only the walls that subdivided them... Now poor half-mad Arthur There spends his days and nights atop these walls, eking out a meager living by charging gate tolls to those who have defrauded him, while plotting to regain property... but little does he know that world-changing events in faraway Paris are about to spill over into his world.

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Overview

They stole his ancestral lands of Mornemont, leaving him only the walls that subdivided them... Now poor half-mad Arthur There spends his days and nights atop these walls, eking out a meager living by charging gate tolls to those who have defrauded him, while plotting to regain property... but little does he know that world-changing events in faraway Paris are about to spill over into his world.

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Editorial Reviews

Nick Gazin - Vice
“Tardi has nice skinny lines and large fields of black. His architecture and cars and landscapes are amazing. ...Arthur There running up and down the walls and living in this skinny little house are neat ideas. This book talks a lot about what it’s like when you spend your life alone and how nuts a slutty crazy girl can make you.”
Gordon Flagg - Booklist
“The work’s crackpot sensibility comes from Forest, best-known for creating the similarly droll sf heroine Barbarella,
but it’s Tardi’s art, with its keen compositions, carefully placed areas of black and white, and sensuous line work, that ties the untidy story together. When this cynical, surreal satire appeared in France in the late
1970s, it was seen as a landmark in the development of the bande dessinée; three decades later, it stands to play a similarly valuable role by introducing American readers to one of Europe’s greatest cartoonists.”
Tom Spurgeon - The Comics Reporter
“Fantagraphics' panties-to-the-floor handsome English-language version...may blow its own share of minds some three decades after the work's initial publication. … It's a lost episode of Ripping Yarns in comics form by two in-their-prime masters, the French turned up to dix.”
The Onion A.V. Club
“Translated into English for the first time since it was written, more than 25 years ago, Jacques Tardi & Jean-Claude Forest’s You Are There proves well worth the wait. Forest’s satirical, minimalist writing lampoons French society and human greed with equal skill, and Tardi has never done better art: It’s all deep, dark pools of blackness that perfectly match the pitch-dark humor of the writing. Equal parts Beckett and Kafka, the story explores the conflict between greedy speculators and the last heir of an aristocratic family whose land has been reduced to a series of precarious walls and towers. Tardi’s intricate, gorgeous art gets better and better until the book’s spectacular ending. It’s an absolute must-read for anyone interested in how European comics got to where they are today. Had this been translated earlier, it likely would be counted as one of the masterpieces of the rich period of the mid-’80s… [Grade:] A.”
Greg Burgas - Comic Book Resources
“The absurdity of Forest's script is brought to amazing life... It's a tremendous work of art, heightening the weirdness of the narrative very well. ... I would recommend You Are There because it's a thoughtful look at the pressure of conformity and what drives a man mad.”
Robert Boyd - The Great God Pan Is Dead
“Of all the comics published in 2009, none has deserved more acclaim... than You Are There. ... Tardi's art, which combines the liveliness and simplicity of the best cartooning with a well-observed realism, is perfect for this kind of surreal tale. ... His work deserves to be read and will endlessly reward readers who seek it out.”
Rick Klaw - The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
“Tardi's intricate, cartoony, and beautiful art perfectly expresses Forest's ideas and words. The humorous You Are There masterfully satirizes French society and politics unlike any comic before or since.”
Sean T. Collins
“[You Are There] is an absurdist satire,... and a pretty terrific one. ... [I]t's seriously a master class on creating a sense not just of place but of a claustrophobic, chaotic, unsustainable state of mind. ... Killer stuff, and more fun than you remember it from French class.”
David B.
“You Are There is a masterpiece—a work unique in the history of comics, one of those books one reads and re-reads.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606992944
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

There are worse things to be linked with than the image of a naked Jane Fonda spinning in zero gravity, but it should be stressed that Jean-Claude Forest’s career in comics stretches far beyond Barbarella, the 1962 sci-fi romp that ushered in the era of adult comics first in France, then worldwide. He died in 1998 at the age of 58.

With over 30 graphic novels under his belt (a half-dozen of which have been translated into English), Jacques Tardi is considered the leading European cartoonist of the generation that came of age in the 1970s. His books published in America by Fantagraphics include West Coast Blues, You are There, It Was the War of the Trenches, and The Arctic Marauder. He lives in Paris with his wife, the singer Dominique Grange, and their cats.

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