commercial epic story
OPENING: Tuesday, 4. Sept. 2007 at 21.00, Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana
Until 16th Sept. 2007.
For the very first time, an exhibition pays tribute to that mythical character of international comics and retraces the exceptional course of his two creators, Walt & Gonzo.
1924, a robot made of iron makes his first appearance in a newspaper ad vaunting the virtues of an elixir of youth. The success of this miracle cure is so great, especially among the working class, that its creators decide to make their character the hero of an illustrated booklet called Monsieur Ferraille, or "Mister Scrap Metal".
Moved to action by extraordinary will, and conscious of their public's infatuation with illustrated periodicals, in 1931, they create the magazine Ferraille Illustré, or "Scrap Metal Illustrated". A risky bet, but the bet pays off! The youth of France adore weekly comics and Mr. Ferraille soon becomes the children’s most beloved character. But France is about to live through one of the darkest periods of its history. The German army is parading on the Champs Elysee. Walt & Gonzo overcome the humiliation and decide to give the invader a chance. The publication of Ferraille Illustré will go on, becoming the only magazine for the youth of occupied France. Of course this courage and sacrifice also arouses a lot of jealousy and eventually forces Walt & Gonzo into exile as France is liberated.
Only one destination is big enough for their talent and thirst for venture: The United States Of America! Stepping off the plane in Los Angeles, the two fellows immediately invest all their savings in the production of their first animated cartoon: "Oh Boy, What Nice Legs". The cartoon is a unprecedented smash hit, and Mr. Ferraille is now the biggest star in animation on this side of the Atlantic. Fame and fortune is had, and Walt & Gonzo establish their own animation studio, The MF, where they will produce such future masterpieces as «The Three Bears« and «Pinocchio«, and will be awarded many Oscars along the way. Hollywood, always on the look out, sees potential in Mr. Ferraille for the screen, and in 1952 the feature film "Super Espacio Tequila" brings in 180 millions dollars in box office receipts. The vehicle is launched; from now on M.Ferraille is an international star.
It’s the golden age. Mr. Ferraille is everywhere, he's in the hearts and minds of the people. Raised to the rank of a divine god in French Polynesia, his influence ranges from one end of the globe to the other. It’s a time of extravagant merchandising: toys, socks, video games, children’s furniture… sales numbering in the billions of dollars.
Fabulously rich, Walt & Gonzo go into business. After buying back The Ferraille Press Group, they launch their own airline company, a fast food chain, and give mass marketing a try with a chain of Ferraille supermarkets. Yet some of their more high-risk investments, such as the Ferraille Land theme park, and other political financial scandals will soon put an end to their vertiginous rise. After the collapse of the Ferraille stock, the entire group is dismantled, their empire reduced to nothing. Walt & Gonzo vanish into thin air. This unexplained disappearance further enhances the myth of the two most controversial entrepreneurs of the 20Th century.
This is the story on which the museum and it’s creation is based, the sole aim being to relate the information in the minutest detail. It’s also an opportunity to pay homage to the genius and the boldness of Waltshluss & Gonzo, the two visionary creators of Monsieur Ferraille. Next to the museum exhibit visitors will find a documentary from the series "Hollywood Superstar" on the life of Mr. Ferraille. The fictional comic character of the robot made of iron becomes "real" and a "must have" on Hollywood sets. This documentary relates his journey through interviews with close relations, archive documents and films excerpts.
Musem was estalished in 2003 by French association Les Requins Marteaux (see Stripburger #44) and was first opened to the public on International comics festival Angouleme 2003. This time the museum is part of the 27th graphic bienail.
besided the exhibition there will be screening of 2 short films relaized in production of the Les Requins Marteaux on 5th Sept. in Kinodvor in Ljubljana and conversation with authors. You're invited prior to the screening to join the comics jam session. More info on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program was cofinanced by French institute Charles Nodier, Ministry of Culture and City of Ljubljana. Porduction: Stripburger / Forum Ljubljana, coproduction: Galerija Kapelica, MGLC.