676 Apparitions of Killoffer

The Believer

CENTRAL QUESTION: What happens when, upon self-reflection, you see someone else?

Killoffer has decided that it’s time for something different. In the vaguely autobiographical Six Hundred and Seventy-Six Apparitions, the author becomes a character in his own story, abandoning his prior life as a Parisian cartoonist and incidental epicurean, shuffling off to Montreal, desperately seeking something. Struck pensive by a sink-and-a-half full of long-ignored dirty dishes, he wonders what could’ve and might’ve and should’ve been, whether ’twas nobler to suffer outrageous fungus, or to take arms with a squad of scrubbing bubbles. Each of the author’s roads not taken finds another, a hydra of intention, eventually assuming physical manifestation. Perhaps there was some unfinished dessert in that mélange of china and stainless steel, a piece of uninspiring madeleine.

Knocked down by revelation, Killoffer gets up again, oblivious to what’s happening as he goes about his business, leaving behind these golems of squandered possibility. Sitting at the end of a bar, with a drink and a smoke and a book, Killoffer settles in for an inconspicuous evening. But at the same time, he’s gearing up to paint the town blood-red, tossing punches at the bouncer, or dragging a woman he just met off to the toilets for a quick one. We’ve all wondered “what if…?” but Killoffer knows—instinctively, at least. In a series of infinite options, he never chooses. He spawns exponentially, each pivot point manifesting neither either nor or but both. The existentialist practical extrapolated from the philosophical, Killoffer is left alone to observe that nothing he does matters. But his actions are not without consequence. These products don’t matter, not when measured against the antimatter of their antitheses, each pair denying itself. In order to release himself from this chain of auto-obsolescence, Killoffer must realize he’s always his own nemesiswhich incidentally suggests that he’s not unique in that regard.

As an illustrator, Killoffer flaunts the conventions of sequential narrative, reconsidering or discarding formal standards to reinforce the idea of otherness that permeates the story. Nearly every page is a single large portrait, practically segmented through the directional flow of the illustration, but without the more literal panel borders that generally mark clear divisions. He emphasizes the flow from one moment to the next, disallowing the possibility of considering these moments discretely; they couldn’t possibly exist without the ones before and after. And there’s little in the way of text to provide (possible) relief. An essay of sorts, written in flowing script and as complementary graphically as thematically, runs through the book’s first few pages, but after that it’s completely wordless. It’s not enough that this is Killoffer’s story, that he’s protagonist and revelator. He also mandates how the story’s consumed.

Six Hundred and Seventy-Six Apparitions can be incredibly confining, with all that there-but-for-the-grace meandering. Oddly, though, Killoffer indicates a freedom in confinement, in letting yourself acknowledge the difference between what you did and what you wanted to do. Headed home from that bar—while, naturally, staying behind as well—Killoffer spies three of his homunculi raping a faceless woman. He’s as horrified as we are, but he’s even more horrified to look down on his own growing erection. Killoffer’s emotional honesty can be off-putting, but it’s ultimately liberating. Option and indecision, ideas of right or wrong, must be balanced, the value of each indiscriminate without the other.

(© 2006 The Believer Vol 4, #4 / Chris Tamarri)


Artforum / Bookforum 2006

Had Quentin Tarantino written Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice, it might have resembled this comic book. Killoffer the author plots himself as subject in an incredibly perverse morality tale, one that imagines human nature at its most id-crazy. Following a brief monologue in which he darkly meditates on the futility of the life cycle ("like some kind of human humus... we're living shit-eaters"), Killoffer starts to fracture into innumerable selves. The frantic, raucous tale that fills out the books has Killoffer waking up next to himself; coming home to an apartment full of chain-smoking doppelgängers; watching his cancerous doubles grope, rape, and fight; and murdering them all in an absurdly ravishing blood-and-vomit-soaked finale. The French artist's economic, black-and-white drawings and nearly wordless pages are stylistiaclly in league with some of the best recent European comics, such as the short monochrome work by fellow L'Association cofounder David B. and the brilliantly deadpan noir stories by Norwegian writer Jason. Formally, however, Killoffer aligns himself with the French avant-garde group Ouvroir de Bande Dessinée Potentielle (Oubapo)which, like its precursor, Oulipo, posits the use of constraints as a way of developing the medium. Here, this translates into an anarchic Möbius strip with panel-less, overlapping zigzags of black suits, white shirts, hairy limbs and groings, and squinting, unshaven faces.

(© 2006 Artforum / Bookforum / Nicole Rudick)


BBC 2006

Paranoia in black and white.

In 1990 a group of comic artists, including David B and Killoffer, founded the Parisian comic collective, L’Association. Their idea was to take on the traditional comic album, as typified by Tin Tin, and cause a revolution. Since then L’Association has published books such as Persepolis and Epileptic. Now us Asterix-fed Brits can enjoy more grown-up European fare as UK publisher Typocrat has started to translate some critically acclaimed titles.

Six Hundred And Seventy-Six Apparitions Of Killoffer
tells the tale of the artist’s trip to Montreal. Having left his kitchen back home festering, Killoffer stresses about what he’s growing in his sink, whether he’s discovered the recipe for life; something’s rotting in his mind. Meanwhile, his preoccupations become a whirlwind of worry and he realises guiltily that he can’t keep his eyes off the scantily clad Canadian girls.

As his paranoia develops, so do Killoffer’s apparitions. He wakes to find three of himself coming in with women he’s been ogling. Gradually the new Killoffers start to run riot, multiplying, brawling in bars, covering his apartment with crap. And as much as our original hero tries to escape his evil selves, raping and fighting their way through his life, there’s nothing for it but drastic action. And a little poison.

Beautifully penned in black-and-white graphic style, Killoffer’s increasingly deranged nightmare of tangled limbs and dark fantasies takes a sideways look at the comic traditions of autobiography, and a comically egocentric pop at himself wherever possible.

(© 2006 BBC.co.uk / Rowan Kerek)


The Telegraph 2005

Dirty dishes dish the dirt

In an act of mock hubris, not only has the French graphic novelist Killoffer put his own name into the title of his book, but he also trumpets the excessive number of times he appears within only 48 pages. Anyone writing a conventional prose novel about himself in the first person might find it hard to avoid repeating the words “me”, “myself” and “I”. When it comes to crafting an equivalent graphic novel, cartoonists have to illustrate numerous likenesses as well, showing themselves inside one panel, then the next, over and over. As a result, autobiography in comics can sometimes resemble a self-portrait gallery exhibitionist, perhaps narcissistic, or self-deprecating, even self-flagellating, and in Killoffer’s case all these at once.

Killoffer’s large-format graphic novel from 2002 is building on other cartoonists’ 30-year legacy of writing and drawing uncomfortable truths about themselves in comics. This approach first became feasible in America only when a Sixties generation of underground rebels broke free from tame family-friendly newspaper strips and juvenile comic books.

Across the Channel, autobiography is a more recent arrival in France’s vibrant culture of bande dessinée albums, signaled by the recent success of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and David B’s Epileptic. Both of these riveting memoirs were originally released in French by L’Association, a Parisian collective founded by Killoffer and five other auteurs in 1990 to revolutionise the contents and formats of the conventional full-colour, hardback, Asterix-style album. This graphic novel could not be more different. What started life as an “official” commission for reportage about Killoffer’s visit to Montreal turns into a tortured rant about his desire for the local babes and then a silent nightmare about the mountain of washing-up that he left in Paris spawning a welter of girl-chasing Killoffer clones running amok. With the clear-line precision of Hergé, our author caricatures himself in unflattering detail as a swarthy, unkempt, laddish Lothario, a self-described “low-down slacker”.

It’s not long, however, before his ego trip becomes even stranger and the voiceover disappears, leaving only the increasingly disturbing images to unfold the story wordlessly. Killoffer wakes up to find three smug duplicates of himself, each with a woman he fancied, who then proceed to brawl with one another after their partners walk out on them. When he awakes again the next morning, he finds his boorish doubles are still there, one naked in his bed, another crashed out on the sofa.

Bribing these chaotic alter egos to leave is no solution. He only meets more of the sick photostats of himself outside, in a bar getting drunk, beating up a bouncer, or assaulting a woman. His final solution is to make this cult of self commit a Jonestown-type multiple suicide by drinking a spectacularly emetic stew, and in the last resort, by carving them up slasher-style with a knife and fork.

At last, only one remains, the true original, the triumphant but bilious superego who has annihilated hordes of his out-of-control ids. Quite what inner demons Killoffer is exorcising here is left unspoken, but this graphic tour de force is one man’s messy, macabre and ultimately exultant confrontation with deep self-disgust and towering vanity.

(© 2005 The Telegraph / Paul Gravett)


Publishers Weekly Starred Review 2005

Originally published in French in 2002, this oversized, delirious graphic novel is a monument to terrified solipsism. Killoffer, a single-named cartoonist with a magnificently protean line, has left a sink full of dirty dishes in his Paris flat while he goes off to Montreal. Fantasizing about the local girls, he imagines that the world is full of "human humus." After ten pages, the text ends and Killoffer's imagination drifts to the idea of duplicates of himself, with the same rumpled suit, mussed hair and three-day growth. He wakes up in bed next to himself, fights himself, finds an apartment full of chain-smoking Killoffers, gangs up with himself to rough up men and grope women. As the feverish, wordless fantasy progresses, it grows increasingly ghastly: one Killoffer, horrified at a gang-rape by versions of himself, races home to an orgy of Killoffers who beat and rape him in turn. The story culminates in a frenzy of narcissistic violence, with versions of himself as murderer, murderee and mess; every rivulet of blood threatens to become yet another Killoffer. Not for the faint, but a fantastic, imaginative evocation of body-horror.

(© 2005 Publishers Weekly)


Comic Book Galaxy 2006

The doppelganger has a long history in literature, from Poe and Dostoyevsky to Auster and Murakami--even comics characters like Superman or Spider-Man. At its most basic, a doppelganger is a double, an alter ego, usually representing the subconscious or repressed portions of the personality. Often the doppelganger acts out the moral or immoral side of the personality, like the little angel and devil that perch on the shoulders of cartoon characters. The idea of a "double" implies "two." In his Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer, French cartoonist Killoffer doubles to excess, and those hundreds of doubles in turn act in excess.

The book starts out as a travelogue. Killoffer is visiting Montreal. He's women watching and making observations about travel, women, and humanity, but he is also guilty about the sink full of dirty dishes he left in his apartment in Paris and the possible things growing there.

Killoffer's oversize pages are laid out in such a way that the images all flow together. He only uses panel borders in the opening sequence, a dream, and the closing sequence (which doubles the opening). The rest of the pages are border-less, flowing together in a way that at first disguises the main conceit of the book.

When using large open layouts like this, one way to create a sense of movement and consistency is through repeated images of the character across the same background--sometimes used (in superhero comics at least) to show a character through different parts of some complicated movement. Killoffer uses this tactic, showing, for instance, the apartment Killoffer is staying in as one large image with the character repeated in different parts of the room. What becomes definitively clear only after a few pages is that it is not one Killoffer, but, rather, many Killoffers. The style of layouts allows him to show the same character repeated without clearly indicating that it is multiples of the same character. In a comic with panels it would be more immediately obvious that the two identical figures in a single, bordered panel are really two separate figures. Here it is not so, and it plays cleverly with the story itself.

The dopplegangers (apparitions) start out as almost identical to the "original" Killoffer, but they quickly begin to differentiate themselves (from him not each other). While Killoffer, in his narration which goes on for eight of the first ten pages, describes himself as "lazy", the doppelgangers lay around, half or un-dressed, and leave dishes, food, and trash everywhere. Killoffer talks about feeling guilty for looking too long at the Canadian women he sees on the street; his doubles pick up women shamelessly. The doppelgangers soon become dangerous not only to Killoffer but to others. The book turns brutal as Killoffer first tries to escape these physical embodiments of id, then turns to stop them. They are the violent hidden part of humanity and the artist brought to life.

Killoffer's art has a powerful visual impact. He uses a lot of black and no tone or shading. Unlike many artists working in black and white his drawings are as much drawn in white as black. White lines are as important as black lines, and all are mostly unvarying in width, which, along with the liberal black and white shapes, gives the art a forceful but flat appearance. The drawings are realistic if simplified. I must note that he draws himself with a brow that obscures his eyes, creatng a bestial, caveman-like appearance.

This book is probably the best example I've seen of this type of open layout (that is, using neither conventional panels or gutters). The skill with which Killoffer uses the whole page compositionally and narratively is impressive (and worth the price of admission alone). The pages are clear to follow through the story, but also visually exciting and full (the excess of the doppelgangers is often visually mirrored by an excess of visual elements on the page). He makes great use of repetition of either background or figure (often both) on the same page to show movement and the passing of time.

Killoffer's Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions stands with the best of the doppelganger stories, not only as a visually inventive comic, but as a powerful story about the dark other of ourselves. It is always great to see more bande dessinee making its way to the English readers, and I hope to see more from Typocrat Press (this is only their second publication).

(© 2006 Comic Book Galaxy / Derik A. Badman)


Rue Morgue Magazine 2006

Oh, the humanity! Having just endured the delicious vulgarity of 676 Apparitions of Killoffer, I need two fingers of Scotch, pronto. Experimental French artist Patrice Killoffer’s audacious deconstruction of everything repugnant in our species serves as a brave reminder that nothing is uglier than the mirror of the soul. Crack the cover on this one only if you can handle the truth, and witness a man literally fragmenting, often finding some 30 incarnations of his self on the same page. By the end, (t)he(y) will have beaten up and even descended to Fight Club-style self-beating. But that’s just the warm-up – buckle down (and unzip) for murder, gang rape and self-sodomy! What caused this? The booze, the drugs, the schizophrenia or the cosmic feces in Killoffer’s sink? Who cares?
Shouldn’t we instead be wondering why some higher power hasn’t decided to smite us like the walking virus that we are? Or if the liquor store’s still open? Because I need more liquid courage before I can sit down for a second helping of Killoffer – and I want that second helping now.

(© 2006 Rue Morgue Magazine / Gary Butler)


Resonance Magazine 2006

Inked in violent black and white, Six Hundred and Seventy Six Apparitions of Killoffer is a collection of Dionysian excesses, rendered in sharp lines of self-loathing, and wrapped in a blanket of humor so black Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk would look at it askance. Ostensibly recounting his trip from Paris to Montreal, Killoffer manages a linear journey for exactly ten pages. But in the remaining 38, reality is abandoned as drunken Killoffer homunculi (id-obsessed clones that delight in rape, murder, and smoking) start to fill every inch of the page, eventually forcing the original to kill all 675 duplicates with knife and fork. Rarely is one man both the perpetrator and the victim, offender and offended witness. But rarely has an artist with this much talent given it a try.

(© 2006 Resonance Magazine)


Charles Burns 2005

676 Apparitions of Killoffer is a stark, beautifully rendered masterpiece of self-loathing horror. Why create monsters, zombies and aliens from outer space when true horror lies under your own skin?

(© 2005 Charles Burns)


Ivan Brunetti 2005

Narcissism and self-loathing converge in these neurotic, perverse, darkly humorous pages ... the striking graphics are at once boldly designed and meticulously crafted.

(© 2005 Ivan Brunetti)


The Guardian 2005

It's a wry exercise in self-loathing in which the author does battle with imaginary clones of himself. The climax is a silent knife fight in which the various Killoffers skid about in pools of blood. Grim but amusing at the same time, this is the comics equivalent of cinema transgressif.

(© 2005 The Guardian, Dec 11)


Tom Spurgeon 2005

Beautiful-looking, wonderfully-paced, and appropriately oversized portrait of fantastic dementia.

(© 2005 Tom Spurgeon, comicsreporter.com)


Drawn! 2006

Killoffer’s 676 Apparitions of Killoffer had to be the most mind-blowing graphic novel released last year.

(© 2006 Drawn! The Illustration Blog)


Bookmunch 2005

Bitesize: Monstrous, curious, violent, A3, sexual phantasmagoria …

Before we talk – before we go into some detail – about this curious, occasionally monstrous graphic novel, we should dispense with the narrative, with the words, as Killoffer himself does some ten pages in. Basically, there is a man, a cartoonist, who we may want to presume is Killoffer himself given the title of the book, who has left his native Paris for Montreal. He isn’t fond of people. Although he likes women. Sleeping with women is endlessly fascinating. Sex and getting drunk are all that drag Killoffer up out of the mire of his hatred and his self-loathing.

In the opening pages he either recollects or experiences a vine-like attack at the hands of a creature which has grown in his sink as a result of a general neglect of household duties. Killoffer’s daily life is one endless round of sleeping, eating, drinking and wandering (round streets and bars) with the odd frame of cartoon work (or at the very least slumping above a blank page) thrown in. What sets these early pages apart (aside from the text which rings with that whole Sartrean ‘people are hell’ loathing) is the presence of duplicate Killoffer’s. At first you take it to be the kind of visual streaming you experience on acid. In other words, although there is one Killoffer in bed, and one Killoffer getting out of bed, and one Killoffer in the bathroom brushing his teeth or whatever, you figure it’s the same Killoffer and you’re glimpsing a journey in progress, as it happens, as it were. As the text gives way to purely visuals, however, the random and disparate Killoffers start to interact with one another. It isn’t long (this is after all only a 48 page book) before the succession of women in Killoffer’s bed give way to a succession of Killoffers. The apartment is awash with drunken and vomiting Killoffers. They fight with each other, quarrel, light cigarettes, fall asleep with limbs entangled, eat cereal amidst carnage and debris. That kind of thing.

But the thing with externalised self-loathing is – things can always get worse. Killoffer (singular) spots Killoffers (plural) gang-raping a woman and, aroused, both runs away and attempts to break up the assault. Back at his apartment, he is then set upon by a pack of Killoffers who each fight to pack Killoffer’s mouth with dicks. From here on in, as Killoffer attempts to fight off his attackers by biting down, the book’s bright white A3 pages darken considerably as large tranches of black ink and splashes of red (on the floor, from a variety of crotches and arses) decorate each grisly page. It’s pretty tough going but compelling like a car crash.

Any Cop?: Like Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park this is harrowing and occasionally hilarious stuff which – okay – you know will not be everybody’s cup of tea but (for the initiated) is an absolutely essential read.

(© 2005 Bookmunch.co.uk)


San Antonio Current 2006

... But it's rare that a protagonist's loathsome state is as phantasmagorically rendered as in Six Hundred and Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer (Typocrat), an autobiographical horror story in which the Parisian author finds his personality festering and splintering off into hundreds of bitter organisms, all beer-bellied and in need of a shave. These Killoffers beat each other bloody, get
sick all over, and don't do the dishes; it's a hallucination that might ring true for an unfortunate number of single males.

(© 2006 San Antonio Current / John DeFore)


Grovel 2006

How many times have you walked past an attractive person in the street and wondered "what if?" Well, if you're Killoffer, the writer and artist of this horrific fantasy, it probably happens quite a lot. The main difference between the Killoffer in the book and the rest of us however, is that each time his eye is caught, another version of himself appears - one to keep walking, the other to stop and try his chances.

Because of his wandering eye, there are soon a lot of Killoffers on the scene. And that Killoffer doesn't have a particularly high opinion of himself becomes all too apparent, as his various alter-egos start to spiral out of control. What starts as a humorous if somewhat bleak examination of Killoffer's psyche, rapidly deteriorates into a dark and savage shock-fest.

The illustration is wonderful. Panels on pages are blended into one another, using backgrounds and architecture to break down the action. The later pages, crammed with Killoffers, still retain an powerful structure amongst the chaos of the illustration.

If you like your art bleak and intelligent, prefer your comedy black as night, enjoy a little stomach churning horror and have an appreciation of how easy it could be for us to slip outside the necessary boundaries of civil society, Six Hundred and Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer is bound to prove a guilty joy. But sensitive dispositions need not apply.

(© 2006 Grovel.org.uk)


Beaux Arts Magazine 2002

Juggler of images, empty cans, full bottles and dirty dishes, Killoffer makes comics without balloons, without panels, without texts and without stories. In his latest book he appears 676 times in a merry anarchy. Just like his life.

It's like a long monologue. Patrice Killoffer, 36 years old, press illustrator, cartoonist, co-founder of L'Association and noted Oubapian [Ouvroir de bande dessinee potentielle] returns from a trip. When he puts the key in the door of his apartment he feels terribly guilty: “My conscience isn’t clear… I left all my dirty dishes back in Paris before I got this hard-on for Montreal. You must admit, in my defense, I went right down to the abyss – on a journey demanding complete immersion, and the sensitivity of a rare bird… all of which was beyond me. I’m just a low-down slacker.

On the first ten pages the text mixes with the drawings of this strange comic, that really isn't a comic. No story, no strips, no panels, no balloons, but a most audacious sequential layout. A large drawing on each page – in fact, ideally composed for the narrative – frequently featuring a funny rare bird. Exactly. Killoffer. Me. Us. And in every position. 676 times. Not one less. Like the actor John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich, contemporary artist Gilles Barbier and his clones, the musician Aphex Twin in his Come to Daddy video, Killoffer duplicates himself, applies himself, spreads himself all over the page. At first in flesh and word: “In any case, that might be the job nature has reserved for us. To pullulate all over, teeming like earthworms … writing through our nostrils … creating these units of matter … shaking us round like a thousand blenders … perhaps that’s what we’re for … to tend the earth […] Or else we’re just digging our graves with our mouths, clogging them up with our asses … no need for a gravedigger … we’re living shit-eaters.”. Excrement, so dear to Wim Delvoye, a secondary element but nonetheless central to Killoffer's book, makes its appearance by replacing the dish water.

And then, on page 11, as though he has already said too much, Killoffer falls silent, tired of talking. A second book begins, one that is certainly more beautiful and more interesting, because it gives free rein to the drawing. Pages filled with sequential illustrations: Killoffer at home, in his bathroom, his living-room, his kitchen: Killoffer walking, smoking, drinking, fucking: Killoffer playing with himself: Killoffer getting worked up, fighting, raping, piercing, vomiting, shitting, offending. Everywhere there's shit, blood and debauchery. Everywhere are cigarette butts and dirty dishes aid empty beer cans. Killoffer moves between the urological, the scatological and the alcoholic. He's the type of contemporary cheerful oddball that you might come across in the heart of the city, running after young ladies' behinds, picking quarrels with people in bars, ending up in a bathtub with a bloody face. This isn't autobiography, it's even worse.

Essentially it's not far removed from the great, unknown, yet cult cartoonists of the American underground: Henriette Valium, Mike Diana. Or even the Frenchman Bruno Richard. Formally it's close to the work of the Swiss Anna Sommer, who invented this form of graphic narration without panels and words. The classic comic form is not the thing for Killoffer, who prefers to pour his talent on the pages of the great French periodicals. In La Vie, Le Monde, Telerama and Liberation, under the direction of Alain Blaise, he is part of the generation of illustrators that appeared in the 1990's: Sophie Dutertre, Rocco, Jochen Gerner, Thierry Guitard. For Killoffer the drawing is everything. "The script doesn't interest me at all. In fact, I don't like to know what I'm going to draw."

Regarding his scatological obsession, it simply comes from his childhood:

"When I was 8 years old I always refused to go to the toilet. To annoy my parents. It's the same with comics. It's a system of retention and excretion. One has 'to go' in the panels." No doubt that's the reason Killoffer doesn't use them.

(© 2002 Beaux Arts Magazine)


Dazed & Confused 2003

Killoffer arrives home to a mountain of washing-up and in a waking nightmare, envisions this cocktail mutating into a bacteriological weapon. He begins visualising a welter of multiplying, girl-chasing Killoffer clones running amok through his apartment and his life.

Bribing these alter egos to leave is no solution. He only meets more of the sickest photo-stats of himself in bars getting drunk, beating up a bouncer, or gang-raping a woman. With his home no longer his own, he barely escapes from their orgy of self-centred, same-person sex. His final solution is to commit multiple suicide by poisoning this cult of self with a spectacularly emetic stew, and with a knife and fork, until only he remains.

Exquisitely delineated like some perverse Where's Wally book, Killoffer has conducted the messiest and most unflatteringly honest first-person-plural exorcism in autobiographical comics.

(© 2003 Dazed & Confused)


Le Nouvel Observateur 2002

To summarize this story would make it seem monstrous and tormented, whereas it's actually amazing, comic and jubilant. The author, on his return from (pretextual) Montreal, finds himself multiplied into hundreds of doubles, grinning like psychopaths and sticky like the dirty dishes that he left to rot in his Parisian sink. The private proceedings of his multiple persona are shown in a continuous loop, and fortunately they aren't autobiographical. The ending is worthy of hell and the large format suits Killoffer's art, both figurative and original.

(© 2002 Le Nouvel Observateur)


Charlie Hebdo 2002

Killoffer [...] draws like nobody else. He licks the paper, slowly, then with abandon, covers it with black, generously, to its delight. The panels mix, the lines intertwine into a gigantic graphic orgy, bloody rich like the expressionist street scenes of Grosz, Dix and Beckmann. The masterpiece is here, 676 Apparitions de Killoffer (L'Association, them again) leaps at your throat. Unlike most introspective cartoonists, Killoffer speaks not to the intimate, but to the meat in us. Here his evil Him multiplies, proliferates ad nauseam, kills, rapes, vilely perverse, expresses unlimited fantasies that terrify Killoffer as much as his reader. Caught in the maelstrom, one reads, reads and rereads. And we wake up sweating, afraid to look in the mirror, filled with 676 of our own apparitions. Atrociously human, though. Proving this: the book's zenith explodes into a staggering self-gangbang of Bruegelian allure. Nevertheless, Killoffer, that Bruegel of mould, offers us a moral to his story: don't go on vacation before you've done the dishes. Think about it.

(© 2002 Charlie Hebdo/ Luz)


Libération 2002

Nominated for best album, Killoffer takes it out on himself, and we give something back.

Since he has made only three books in ten years, one might say that Patrice Killoffer, co-founder of L'Association, is a rare cartoonist. However, he somewhat compensates for his past absence by appearing 676 times in 676 Apparitions of Killoffer – I have counted them. This is, therefore, the story of Killoffer, who goes to Montreal for an assignment. The first ten pages, forming some sort of introduction, seem to be the graphic report of that project: having left his dishes decaying in Paris, Killoffer tells how he spends his time assiduously chasing girls in the streets. Alas! His success is in inverse proportion to his ardor: no score.

All this comes with true materialist thought, when our hero wonders if perhaps we're “digging our graves with our mouths, clogging them up with our asses”, while the gravedigging earthworm becomes the dominant figure of his discourse. After this very good start, the second part turns out to be rectangularly (37 x 25 cm) powerful. Killoffer cuts the words, removes the gangway and embarks on a 38-page trip of narcissist hallucinations where horror rivals hilarity.

Suddenly there are only Killoffers, all over the place, finally drowning in a bath of blood, vomit, sperm and shit. Indeed, when drinking, the hero splits in two, multiplies tenfold, chases himself, flees himself, comforts himself, hits himself and even has an orgy with himself, until he bites his 'tail'. He also cooks noodles, but apparently without success. During this Dantesque booze fest, one of the Killoffers remains more conscious than the others, a helpless or slightly ironic witness of the atrocities committed by his doubles (among others, the killing of a bouncer and the rape of a woman in a vacant lot). The least one could say is that our author doesn't embellish his private life: he brandishes its inanity and his inability to leave the Self and go to the Other.

By focusing his short autobiography on the narcissism of a male heterosexual torn between self-loving and self-loathing (the orgy scenes of the Killoffers are terrifying), Killoffer no doubt teaches us something about male identity, its intrinsic violence (in the sense that it's also violence against oneself). A welcome view, knowing that the comics world is one in which producers and consumers rarely come across as sexual beings.

In his 676 Apparitions, Killoffer thus confirms that the XY individual is so attached to his reproductive organ that he sometimes wants to tear it off. And that this paradoxical creature, left on his own, is hardly capable of imagining anything better than the identical. If it was up to men, there would only be men on earth. One should at least have the balls to admit that.

(© 2002 Libération)

Télérama 2002

Those who regret that Killoffer makes himself scarce will be happy. Not only has this cartoonist made his first book in six years, but he also appears in it 676 times (if we are to believe the title, we haven't counted) in 48 pages. But, attention to sensitive souls: Killoffer rimes with 'enfer' [hell] here. And hell is himself, or rather his doubles, as despicable as they are numerous, who exponentially invade the pages the better to make his life miserable. This book, starting off quietly with the less interesting problem of picking up girls, then turns into something more disturbing; the author's verbose ruminations on the behavior of Canadian women towards him give way to a much more convincing silence; and the comic gains substance. Killoffer's ability to imagine orgiastic and sickening scenes may exert a certain fascination, but, except for the theme itself, it's the organisation of the page, the use of space, the quality of the drawing and the force he unleashes that leaves the reader in admiration.

(© 2002 Télérama)

All reviews 02/03 are of L'Association edition published originally in French

French Translations By Arthur Van Kruining