Review – The Initiates
Étienne Davodeau (author/artist), Release date(s): October 6th 2011 by Futuropolis, July 1st 2014 by Fibra (reviewed) – available @ http://fibra.hr
format( 272, HC , bw, Croatian), 100 HRK (approx. 14 EUR)
A graphic novel that explores the nature of one’s vocation, this book offers a look at the daily devotion to craft in two dissimilar professions. Étienne Davodeau is a comic artist—he doesn’t know much about the world of winemaking. Richard Leroy is a winemaker—he’s rarely even read comics. But filled with good will and curiosity, the two men exchange professions, and Étienne goes to work in Richard’s vineyards and cellar, while Richard, in return, leaps into the world of comics. Providing a true-life representation of how both professions work, this insightful book investigates two fascinating fields, exploring each man’s motivations and ultimately revealing that their endeavors and aspirations are not much different.
We are introduced to Étienne Davodeau and Richard Leroy as they make a deal. Richard Leroy is a wine-maker and Étienne Davodeau is a comic-book author. They decide to help each other work-wise and teach one another what is the wine making and what is the creation of a comic-book. Both jobs do not have nothing in common at first, but as time goes by, similarities to their work approach appear.
Personally, not a wine fan (as a matter of fact, I don’t drink alcohol), but the wine creation process got me very interested. The amount of cutting, paying attention to the soil, the weather, climate, makes the wine creation process feel like art to be sincere. The work put in order to create a single bottle of wine is really impressing and is clearly documented in this comic book by Davodeau. On the other hand, Leroy is handed reading material during the whole process, meets different authors, visits comic festivals, the printing company and the publishing house (Futuropolis) for which Davodeau works. They give each other feedback, which is quite interesting. Davodeau can’t tell the difference between wines, and Leroy thinks Moebius’s work is awful. Humor is throughout this documentary comic, and the flow and the story are really enjoyable. The similarity is their work approach. Both want the full control of their work and the end product. The amount of work hours and love for their end products make them look outdated, but both choose quality over quantity.
The drawing is black and white, with tones of grey giving the feel of winter and season change as the story progresses. The book gives the reader some great details, especially during the wine-making process, but shifts the focus mostly on the storytelling part.
In the story, The Initiates, we see the struggle of the creator. Both Leroy, the winemaker and Davodeau, the comic book artist have their struggles. Whether to give up the natural process and bio-dynamics in the wine-making process and introduce more chemistry into his wine-making process. On the other side, Davodeau is deciding whether to do more intimate author stories which take large amounts of time. Gladly both pursue their dreams, and excel at their career choices.
Pros: quite educational regarding both wine and comic creation process, humor and storytelling
Cons: a bit simplified drawing (some might consider it a flaw, but the comic-book more story oriented)
Conclusion: A book that will teach you something new in an unusual way. Always choose quality over quantity. On our side a fantastic 9 out of 10.