For his second foray into the world of children’s comics, prolific writer, director, actor and kathakali specialist Larry Tremblay collaborated with Belgian illustrator Pierre Lecrenier. Together, they managed to translate the metaphorical story of his successful play into images The boy with the missing face.
He has long trained actors, himself was an actor, playwright, dancer and writer, among other things.
After publishing the graphic novel Not even true in 2016, Larry Tremblay returned to children’s comics with the adaptation of his play The boy with the missing face published this time by Éditions de la Bagnole.
“The play was very successful here and in Europe,” explains the man who now describes himself as a full-time writer. She used the fantasy world through zombies and since it’s a world that is very well received in comics, I found it quite natural that this piece should move into the more open universe and less constraining towards the realism of the BD. ”
The 66-year-old writer, who has published around 35 books in addition to numerous translations, explains having had the intuition that his play – an original text dedicated to adolescents written about 6 years ago for the Le Clou theater – was going to be day be turned into comic book. A vision that came to fruition after meeting illustrator Pierre Lecrenier at the comic book festival in Montreal and contacting him a few months later to invite him to be part of the project.
“Since they’re characters, it’s a bit like making a cast,” says the Montreal-based author. We first worked on the characters, their faces, their bodies, their habits. Pierre being Belgian and the action of the graphic novel set in Montreal, we had a Belgian look at Montreal which made it really interesting. It was a great job for him, based on photos, research, memories and discussions we had. “
It’s hard to sum up the story of this boy with the missing face. “I would say it’s a story that expresses the difficulty of being a teenager in a world as complex as ours,” tries Larry Tremblay.
The world and the problems of adolescents, the difficulty of identifying with oneself, guilt and the relationship to the father are all themes addressed in this metaphorical story which often refers to the living dead.
“I found the image of the zombie interesting because a zombie is an undead and I have always thought that adolescents are at the same time so intense, so alive, but at the same time very close to death. . With this kind of contradiction within themselves, I found that the zombie image could speak to them a lot. “
In this comic, which he describes as “unconventional” because it is free of small colored boxes, the author tackles both difficult and contemporary subjects such as terrorism and the issue of violence among young people. It also voluntarily plays on a certain ambivalence allowing the reader to imagine and decide what he thinks is real or not.
This is what he believes at the origin of the success of the play, whose history – open to the world – leaves a space for reflection and decision-making for adolescents.