Jiro Taniguchi, creator of The Walking Man, A Distant Neighborhood and more than 40 other manga, will be a special guest in January at the 42nd Angoulême International Comics Festival, which will include a major exhibit of his work — the first of its scale in Europe.
Titled "Taniguchi, l’homme qui rêve" ("Taniguchi, the dreaming man"), the exhibition will cover four decades of Taniguchi's work, which includes the memoir A Zoo in Winter, the conquest-of-Everest tale Summit of the Gods, the time-travel story A Distant Neighborhood, and the mystery The Quest for the Missing Girl.
Not only does Taniguchi's work span most of the major graphic novel genres, the official press release points out, but he has crossed over to become an author with universal appeal. Indeed, Laurent Duvault, director of international media development for the publishing group Media Participations, told me at this year's festival that "Taniguchi was the first Japanese artist to have his own area, not in the manga section but in the French section [of bookstores]. It was a graphic novel approach, not a manga approach." He attributed this in part to the fact that Taniguchi's work is flipped, so it reads left to right, making it more accessible to readers of European languages. Taniguchi is no stranger to Angoulême: A Distant Neighborhood was awarded the Alph'Art prize for best scenario at the 2003 festival, and he was one of the nominees for the Grand Prix this year.
Taniguchi, who has four new books coming out this year in France, will be present at Angoulême to open the exhibit and participate in the program; after the festival is over, the show will go on tour around France and the rest of Europe.