The all-summer Instagram feuilleton comes from France
Comics on Instagram are nothing new. There’s plenty of webcomics that also try that visual social media par excellence to broaden their audience, from Cyanide and Happiness to Fran Krause’s fairly excellent Deep Dark Fears to Poorly Drawn Lines. But all of these are basically the online equivalent of the strips on your paper’s funny pages: one gag a day, with little or no continuity. But what about story strips, comics with fairly long dramatic and narrative arcs? Where’s Modesty Blaise on Instagram, or Flash Gordon or Mary Worth?
A first example of such a strip (as far as I know) could be the online narrative experiment Eté (available online at @ete_arte), by Thomas Cadène et Joseph Safieddine, with art by Erwann Surcouf, and produced by French cultural network Arte. Starting on June 29, it will run all through the summer months. telling the story of Abel et Olivia, one daily panel at a time. What happens to them when they give each other one summer of full liberty to act on their every wish without regard of each other’s feelings? And to keep your curiosity peaked, the creators are promising a major twist at the end.
This is not Cadène’s first attempt at experimenting with narration, after the fairly manipulative Sextape or his weekly serial, Les Autres Gens. In this story however, the focus will be on how social networks impact the daily lives of people, what they know of one another indirectly, as opposed to what they tell each other. And the medium that he and his collaborators have chosen may prove to be an endeavour in itself, as they will try to include love scenes on a platform well-known for its prudishness.
There will probably be a book at the end, even though it’s not sure whether it will tell the same story, or even who will publish it. And even then, it might be a good addition to your daily feed, if only to witness a pretty interesting experiment.
Eté by Cadène, Safieddine, and Surcouf, from June 29 on @ete_arte.