Les Requins Marteaux 


After visiting Ljubljana, our editorial board decided to do a special introduction to the life and works of the group Requins Marteaux. In search of a suitable thread, we decided to ask the authors to do what the French do best: say NO! In the following pages you will find some of the most distinguished authors of the Requins Marteaux and their force of negation. Let me introduce to you some of the projects by this comic group.
Les Requins Marteaux is a group of artists that promote and create modern comics. Their starts date in the year 1990 and they belong to the independent labels that succeeded to return comics into bookstores and media. But their publishing is not as well known as their individual exhibits and other projects they use to take the best out of the comics’ potentials and introduce the medium to the audience who usually doesn’t read comics.
With more than 150 titles, Les Requins Marteaux actively helped to transform comics into an independent artistic form of expression. Their adventures in publishing range from small BW booklets to collections of color albums of large format. Contents and genres vary from satire to serious political issues, from caricatures to artistic books. The guideline is not a standardized production, but publishing and creating books that are faithful to their author’s original idea.
The Ferraille Illustré magazine was established in 1996 and it is published quarterly in 25.000 issues. At the moment it is the single most important magazine for the modern alternative comics in France, as well as the only magazine of its kind published in such a large circulation that can be bought at newsstands. It features young authors as well as experienced artists who enjoy creative ventures and artistic exploration. Issue 27 of the magazine Ferraille was released recently. Today, Ferraille is an extensive magazine that has overgrown its black and white fanzine beginnings long time ago.
Publishing is but a part of group’s numerous projects. How to turn the reader into a visitor or an observer? How to turn the visitor and the observer into a reader? It was these questions that have brought them to the conclusion, comics need to be torn out of its only medium – printed paper – and expose it in other ways, take it from the cozy armchair and take it for a walk through the city streets, the galleries and the countryside. With their creative energies, Requins Marteaux succeeded to create spectacles for children, cabarets, animated features and even short films – accompanied by numerous exhibitions that attract spectators in large festivals in France and Europe.
From their beginnings on, Requins Marteaux are situated in Albi, a town near Toulouse. They have been investing into their local environment since the beginning. They have taken part in many different projects involving local institutions of culture (libraries, the Crois Blanche theatre, the cultural centre of Albi, with Espace Appollo from Mazamet, with the Colomier municipality, etc.). 1998 saw the opening of the Aquarium gallery which features comic exhibitions and other happenings in the field of visual arts. In the year 2005, the group opened a new, more spacious gallery with the same name (Aquarium) with the intent to eventually transform it into a regional comic center. Since its introduction, the gallery has organized over fifty exhibitions that were realized on its own exhibition grounds or elsewhere as a part of their partner projects.
Disappointed by comic exhibitions, Les Requins Marteaux decides to organize their own festival in Albi in 1998. Their intent is to put comic creation into the focus of the festival, instead of selling comics with various dedications. The Retine festival became a kind of artistic showcase where spectators observe different views by authors on this form of artistic expression. Retine is a demanding festival that constantly seeks creative works and is imbued with a strong and unique cultural identity. It introduces modern artists and puts them side by side to other art forms, such as theatre, cinematography, photography and literature.
Beside the 8th festival Retine, scheduled for October 2006, the publishing of new albums and the organization of celebration of 10th anniversary of the magazine Ferraille, Les Requins Marteaux plan to organize a comic promenade in the Tarn department: Les Caravanes Feraille or The Feraille Caravans. This project is focused on pushing the way to the cultural diffusion with the emphasis on nomadic creativity. This way, they seek to approach the public that doesn’t necessarily have the access to this kind of cultural production.
The events were planned as a stroll through the Tarn department, with the help of a network of libraries. That’s why this project combines different actions: an exhibition of the three caravans with scenery and a theme of travel and nomadism, a grocery truck Supermarché
Ferraille , which will be visiting Ljubljana in the next year, a traveling library in a truck, animations and children’s studios, a Goûter Ferraille spectacle, Cabaret Ferraille, concerts and projections of short films.