Will Margaux Motin’s Plate Tectonics Be The Book Of 2019? Could Be!

by Richard Bruton

As we come to the end of 2018, it’s time to look forward, to share some of the books I’m looking forward to in 2019. And frankly, there’s one book above all others I’m desperate to have in my hands, Plate Tectonics by the amazing Margaux Motin. We had the announcement, back in November, that Boom! Studios would, finally, be bringing some more of her work into English. Frankly, it’s about bloody time.

Boom! Studios is set to release Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir from Motin in June 2019. It’s Motin taking a look at her life as a single, modern mother during the upheavals and unexpected twists of turns of her life at 35. Divorced and raising a child on her own, trying to get her life together again, then romance rears its ugly head to complicate things in the shape of her best friend.
It’s a full seven years now since I first fell in love with Motin’s work, when, in 2012, SelfMadeHero in the UK published the first English translation of her work with But I Really Wanted To Be An Anthropologist. If you get the chance, seek the book out before Plate Tectonics is released. There should be copies available online. You too will fall in love with her work.

Her work is gorgeously, glamourously, stylishly, effortlessly funny and oh so magnificently clever. Think of it as something between Posy Simmonds and Sex & The City. With all the best of Simmonds and little of the worst of S&TC. There’s definitely some of Posy in there, albeit mixed in with a deliciously raunchier edge, and something of the fashion iconography, even classic 50s advertising-ish stuff.
But I Really Wanted To Be An Anthropologist is full of funny as well as looking so good. Not traditional comics, mostly multiple images to tell a gag across a page or two, sometimes simply full page gags. In Anthropologist, Motin paints a picture of herself as she imagines herself, that classic 30-something Parisian woman, effortlessly gliding through life, stylish at all times, sweating perfume, life unaffected by children, work, skin breakouts, or bad hair days. And then she cuts across it all with reality, the chaos, the devastation, the sheer impossibility of simply getting out of bed, getting the daughter sorted, and brushing her hair, beyond her at times.
How on earth is she meant to spend her days drinking, smoking, dancing and being the impossibly chic creature she knows she should be when children, jobs, mothers, illustration deadlines, and the pressure of keeping it all looking so very good get in the way? Frankly, she’s wondering how the hell she’s meant to buy shoes with all this other crap going on. It’s full of magnificent moments, the dancing around in your underwear during the day, the terrible singing, the withering look of a child who might just be more mature than she is, and on the rare occasion she gets out the house she somehow manages to do something very, very silly. Usually involving drinking.
Everything’s so deliberately, wonderfully exaggerated for comic and comedic effect, beautifully drawn, with flowing colourful images that, genuinely, float across the page, unhindered by panels.

So, it’s wonderful to see Plate Tectonics coming, but there’s plenty more to translate, The Theory of Contortion, her wedding book, Oui, Very Bad Twinz with Paco… fingers crossed that Boom! jumps in and start giving this wonderful, imaginative, and downright damn funny artist the high profile she deserves outside of Europe.
Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir by Margaux Motin, is due to be published by Boom Studios! in June 2019. based on her previous work, I’m calling it one of my books of 2019 already. And, if like me, you can’t wait to see more of her work, she regularly puts cartoons up on Instagram, Facebook, plus there’s her old website, sending me off to Google Translate when my school French lets me down!

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