After the Chronicles of Jerusalem, The Bad Father’s Guide, and several other successful projects, Quebec illustrator Guy Delisle recounts his coming of age in a fascinating new comic book, Youth Chronicles. Suburban life in Charlesbourg, CEGEP, night work in a paper factory, the distant relationship with his father: he recounts the end of his adolescence and a turning point in life, emphasizing the pivotal moments of this period.
Reached by phone in Montpellier, France, where he lives with his family, Guy Delisle says he enjoyed revisiting his 17 years, his shifts at the Stadacona / White Birch pulp and paper mill, his transition to animation studies in Toronto.
“This factory is so present in Quebec, already by the smell! My father worked there all his life. When I was there, over a thousand people worked there, ”he recalls.
He found it interesting to talk about working in a pulp and paper mill – an old tradition in Quebec and Canada. “This is really the main subject of my comic.”
He had thought about it for a long time, but found himself a little young to talk about his childhood memories. After turning 50, he allowed himself to do so.
“It’s a bit like ‘old mononcle’ telling his stories … but that doesn’t bother me anymore. It was the setting that I liked: it was fun to talk about the factory, the interior, and also an era in my life, between the professional world and the student side. I also wanted to talk about the goal, what would ultimately be an artistic career. “
An industrial decor
In his comics, Guy Delisle often talks about a country. This time it is not a country, but a factory. “I found almost a country there because there are characters, a setting, it was fun to stage it.”
The industrial decor fascinated him, especially since he is located in Quebec City, “a little gem of a city and right next door, bang, there’s a kind of big factory that smokes!”
The look of the factory, built in 1927, caught his attention. “When I was young, I passed by and found it beautiful, this all-brick factory. Whoever made it was inspired by New York buildings and it’s true that it has an art nouveau look. There aren’t many in Quebec. When it is no longer a factory, it should be turned into a kind of museum. ”
In the comic strip, Guy Delisle tells about his shifts near the huge paper rollers, describes his colleagues who sometimes have funny behaviors, talks about his student life. “In the dialogues that I had with the workers, I put the most prominent, so it’s a little rock’n’roll, and it’s true that it was quite raw sometimes … Me, I” was a shy guy and coming up in a working class environment the same was like coming into a rugby match locker room. It was interesting to describe it, with the eyes I had at that time. ”
Its 17 years
Working in a working environment, in a hot place, and doing night shifts, even if he earned a good salary, made him think.
“You say to yourself, yeah, I’d like to do something else. It’s interesting to do a bit of factory work when you’re 17 to find out what your studies can be used for. For me, it was a little risky, in visual arts … but afterwards, I turned towards something that would bring me work: the cartoon. “
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116