hello, here you'll find all about CUATRO MANOS, the pages finished and those in progress, the covers and some news... have fun.


Those are my favorite pages of the CUATRO MANOS.
I did them from July to August 2005. Loved the character of TOMAS FERNANDEZ so much (the grandfather of JULIO FERNANDEZ), i turned less then 7 pages of novel from TAIBO in 30 pages of Comics. When they were finished, i knew i had to say goodbye to TOMAS. Liked him so much. The fact that TAIBO took his own grandfather for inspiration isn't really a coincidence either. At the end of the chapter of 30 pages (1/3 of the all book... not bad), i had one last chapter of 4 pages left where TOMAS meet STAN LAUREL and that's it. I had to say good by to him... Enjoy.

When i start working on the adaptation of the novel with TAIBO, i knew very little of the SPANISH CIVIL WAR, bits of infos, knew the good guys had lost and  saw LAND OF FREEDOM of Ken Loach. Period. OUCH... that was a bit short. So my homework i did. Had to understand the period but also get the visuals right. History books, photographic books, exibitions, monographies of ROBERT CAPA and friends, plenty of web sites of SPANSIH CIVIL WAR POSTER, lots of films and even more documentaries.
Picture me watching a ton of documentaries eating Korean noodles and drinking pepsi and you knew what was my life during all those months. Luckly the History Channel did a special... guess what... "spanish civil war month"during all june 2005. Recorded all i could find on, erasing all  my FRIENDS vcr tapes. Spend hours to recollect all the infos and crossreference the bits i needed for my pages. Even find some songs i listen non-stop during the layout phase. That was exactly why i did find TAIBO to work with. For having a tremendous story to work with were all the bits are almost true and when you do your research, you learn thousand of new things. Everything i got at the time i put in those pages. If someday i will rework on the book  and if i have the luxury to redo some pages of CUATRO MANOS, i'll never touch those pages. Never.

Took me one month to do the layout. For the first time i did it all numeric in photoshop, it allowed me more freedom and like i never knew how to render the final pages, i was still searching all the way.

It's the horse sequence, i miss the most, it could have been great but... i failed to render it more clearly than the skectch. And sometime the bits you cut, save the rest... and now i can even show it to you ;)

For the 1933 page, i went for something less "déjà vu". i was tired to the bones to all the nazi circus flames in the dark bullshit. And as TAIBO didn't want us to show WHO shot PANCHO VILLA, i proposed the idea of "showing very little of those nazi bastards and nationalist sons of bitches".

Some pages were layout exaclty right in the first shot (like the left up page the "AVANCE PRINTING NEWSPAPER page", i was very lucky to have the right documentation. A previous trip in SPAIN at GIJON, ASTURIAS during 3 days in APRIL 2004 i did the very first cut of the book, all alone in my hotel room, showing the progress everyday to PACO, and him feeding me with good infos and LOMO (best iberico ham).

Those two pages saw majors changes. In the style i choose i couldn't DO those kind of compositions.
My editor when he saw the layout, he went crazy in love with the roughness of the images and he wanted i cleaned them a bit and print them that way. BIt nooooooo, of course, i didn't listen. I had to go all the way to the process i spent so much time preparing. A revolutionnary poster look. Bood compositions and lines and very strong compositions.

 That pages (at RIGHT) was the page where all fell in place for good. just had to claen it for print but very few changes were done here. That 1942 case became the starting fire of the book.

Worked my ass off to have the right "sad look" for the last pages of TOMAS. Finally i did it on a sketch in the subway. I scanned the sketch and render it to the max, 'till i cryed when i watch him.
I believe it worked, you'll tell me...

All the book is now Black & White because it was conceived that way. It's clearer and more stronger in the effects i try to pull on you.

the sketch done in the subway

the digital skecth to make it work inside the panel.
i did lose the kids playing on the deck of the boat.
It was to distracting, Tomas was broken, he had nothing behind me...

It's still a sensitive subject in SPAIN and TAIBO is an well respected Historian, so i had to do the right thing and gave my A game, in case of some erudits spaniards saw my pages on day...
Which it occurs in July 2006 when i was invited for the 70 th anniversary of the SPANISH CIVIL WAR. I was surrounded by specialists, artists who drew it and writers who loved that period  but also some old men who lived it and survived it.
I was on stage facing all those women and men. I was scared to the bones, i thought every minute someone will stand and point the fact i was a fraud. TAIBO of course, watched the book like an hawk, and would have seen any mistake i could have draw, but i was scared anyway.
So i was in GIJON in the SEMANA NEGRA, with all those greats pros, on stage, at the end of the line. the microphone switch hands and everybody answer questions from the public... 14 questions and annie goetzinger hand me the microphone... one man, very old, who looks like a veteran to me, stand up and ask me : "why as a french you choose to work on this particular period ?"
(pfiouuuu, i was relieved... no accusation). Everybody looking at me, my throat was dry as sand... and i try to give them all the love and respect i could afford.
I tryed to put the right words on the concept of "liking a tragic period". the tremendous surprise who happen when i did my researchs and the fact that all who happen to SPAIN was tragically linked to all happen to the French few years after. We forget easly the part the ex-Republican and the POUM fighter took in the french Resistance. Some even rescued and freed Paris.

Those pages are one of the best three things i did in my career.
For me it was the fireworks at the end of the book. Pure and simplei poured everthing i had in those 30 pages.  It was THE reason i choose to do this job. Drawing that kind of story.