Lewis Trondheim, born (also known as Laurent Chabosy) is a critically acclaimed French cartoonist and comic book writer and author of several series such as Little Nothings and Dungeon which he works on with other creators. Lewis Trondheim does not like to give interviews preferring his work to speak for itself. In 2003, Trondheim was awarded the City of Angoulême Award at the Angoulême comic book festival.
This interview was scheduled to run during NBM Month at The Comic Book Bin in June 2010. Comic Book Bin writers Philip Schweier, Patrick Bérubé and Doctor Beth Davies-Stofka all contributed to providing questions which Publisher Hervé St-Louis then reworded, added his own spin to and translated in French. The interview answers were then translated back into English so we could share them with our readers.We would like to thank Terry Nantier for setting up the interview.
CBB: Did you ever think you would influence the world of comic books when you started your career?
Lewis Trondheim: I don’t believe having influenced a thing. I’ve done many books but I have few readers compared to great names in comic books. For a new series in a classic format, I usually have around 15 to 20,000 readers. Perhaps other authors are less frustrated now that they understand that one can draw and write simply but effectively, provided one has something to tell.
CBB: Creatively speaking, what do you find different in comic books compared to other media?
Lewis Trondheim: We have small budgets, so we produce quickly. All we need is a pencil and a piece of paper and that’s all. With a scanner and a computer, anyone on the planet can read our work.
CBB: What do you like about the North American comic book industry?
Lewis Trondheim: There are many authors with whom I feel graphic and narrative affinity with or both. There are also many players independent of the traditional market.
CBB: What are the weaknesses of the North American comic book industry versus the Franco-European one?
Lewis Trondheim: You have not learn to preserve material for youths. Because of that, you have failed to keep an audience that would renew itself one generation after another.
CBB: When you sketch a comic book page, do you perceive it visually, textually or is it more an exploration of a predefined idea?
Lewis Trondheim: Well, I improvise. I sketch panel after panel quickly. Visual ideas and plot twists are easier to find through this technique, instead of relying on typing on a keyboard.
CBB: Does creating comics for a younger audience limits creativity?
Lewis Trondheim: Quite the opposite. Younger audiences are more open to other visual and narrative forms. I did my most innovative work on youth series, I believe.
CBB: What is the contribution of third parties in Little Nothings? What I mean is, what about the people that come and go in the stories of this series?
Lewis Trondheim: It’s my outlook and my hindsight that matter. Next, I’m not speaking of others but of myself so I can ridicule myself. I don’t want to make fun of others.
CBB: Can one say that the characters that appear in Little Nothings are from a specific social class?
Lewis Trondheim: One can say that all that happens is true, but I don’t put everything. Since I’m talking about myself, its mostly about the outlook of a person that does not have to labour like a madman to earn a living.
CBB: What role do colours play in your work?
Lewis Trondheim: I don’t know. I have done many books in black and white too. But since I married my colourist after all, I think that colours play a role in my life, yes...
CBB: Who are your cult comic book book creators?
Lewis Trondheim: Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson, Moebius...
CBB: What have you learn from doing Bludzee?
Lewis Trondheim: That I would have liked to be a North American so that I could do a daily comics trip in newspapers. That doesn’t exist in France.
CBB: What are your plans and project in the near future and further ahead?
Lewis Trondheim: I’m gonna continue to have fun and stay vigilant to avoid repeating myself and then be forced to stop. Crumb said so himself, it’s a young man’s career.
CBB: I thank you for this interview. Our readers will appreciate it.