What We Need to Know


What We Need to Know
Willy Linthout

Translation from the Flemish by Laura Watkinson
Graphic Novel / Literary
ISBN 1-894994-80-9
7.25×9.75 inches, 184 pages, b/w
hardcover, $20
May 2014


A tragicomic family drama from a master cartoonist.

In 2007, after the suicide of his son, Linthout wrote and drew the graphic novel Years of the Elephant, which was nominated for a number of international awards and won the Bronzen Adhemar, the most important Flemish comics award. What We Need to Know is the sequel to Years of the Elephant but uses a wideangle lens to encompass the entire family, specifically three brothers who each need to cope with their own ghosts. The style of both these autobiographical books is done in pencils without inks, in other words a rough and unfinished look, which perfectly matches the psychological state of the characters. Fortunately, they can consult “The Book” in emegencies. In that magic reference work, the famous artist WL’s mother has collected innumerable facts, recipes, and advice, in essence, what we need to know about life.

Willy Linthout was born in Eksaarde, Belgium in 1953. He was a comics collector when he met Flemish comedian Urbanus. They decided to create a comic strip together called Urbanus. The first book appeared in 1983, and it soon became one of the most popular Flemish comic strips. So far, 135 books have appeared in the series. For this Linthout has been called, “The Charles Schulz of Belgium.” However, after the suicide of his son Linthout wrote and illustrated the autobiographical graphic novel Years of the Elephant, which is still used as a textbook for overcoming grief. For this book he was nominated for an Eisner Award in North America and many awards in Belgium and The Netherlands.

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