Going to Print: Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days by Veronica Post

Jul 26, 2019 by

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Earlier this week, we promised another deal announcement–and here it is! This time, Conundrum Press has acquired the World English rights to Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days. This important debut graphic novel, by Halifax artist Veronica Post, was inspired by Post’s travels across Europe in the midst of the Syrian refugee crisis. 

About Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days

This debut graphic novel tells the story of the 2015 European “migrant crisis” in Budapest, Hungary through the perspective of Langosh and Peppi, a vagabond and his faithful dog. The pair brings to mind an older, down-on-their-luck Tintin and Snowy with adventures to match. A semi-autobiographical work based on Post’s own experiences, Langosh and Peppi escape the pressures of conformity by exploring out-of-the-way places, where they stumble on the vestiges of the war torn region’s hidden past. We follow them through streets, alleys, tunnels, train stations, cheap rooms, abandoned buildings and the countryside and witness the effects of various social, political and interpersonal situations through their eyes.

The story illustrates a sort of “Huckleberry Finn” existence, of travelling freely with no responsibilities except finding food and shelter, and meeting fascinating people along the way. However, Langosh and Peppi soon discover the stark difference between choosing a transient lifestyle, and being forced from one’s home and country. We meet people whose tragic personal struggles are enmeshed with the national struggles that continue to divide and destroy so many lives, see families torn apart due to ignorance and fear, and witness the disturbing global rise of nationalism. Influenced by Hideo Azuma, Joe Sacco, and Julie Doucet, Post examines the modern dilemma of what it means to be human and to call a place home.

3 Questions with Veronica Post

1. Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days is based on your own travel experiences. When you first set out, what were you hoping to learn or experience?

When I set out, I was following love. I had no specific experience in mind, or particular things I wanted to learn, I just wanted to spend more time with my sweetie. Of course, I was interested in seeing Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, but I also hoped to be shown these parts of Europe by friends who lived there, and could take me to the out-of-the way spots. I love markets, alleys, wastelands, train stations, and quaint stuff like little cafe’s and sweets shops in suburbs. I am exhausted by galleries and museums, but can go all day on a tourist excursion to get some treats from a shack that only locals eat at. I ended up seeing more than I ever expected, and also meeting more amazing people than I could have hoped for. I also witnessed very troubling events that I could not have foreseen, such as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe, and their subsequent ill treatment.

2. Hergé’s influence comes through in your work in a delightful way – is there a particular Tintin story that still stands out to you as having a significant impact on your development as a cartoonist?

Well, first of all, thank you! I read Tintin as a girl. Like many of my early cultural influences I have a difficult time with many aspects of his work now (his racist cultural depictions are cringe-worthy at best) but I cannot deny that his artwork has had an influence on me. There is no particular story that stands out, but his drawings, especially the covers, are so beautifully clean and evocative. He captures movement and expression beautifully and I enjoy how he has such well-defined characters. I felt there was a lot to learn from that… a well-defined character is essential to storytelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s comedy, drama, or what. The character is what draws you in. When I was traveling, I thought, I am here in all these far-flung places, making my way around in rather unusual ways and poking my nose where it doesn’t belong, and that is very Tintinesque… I wondered what would it be like to see Tintin as an older, down-on-his luck type? On the wrong side of the law and all that? What if his youthful swagger was worn down and he was just sort of running scared and confused?! That is where the idea for Langosh and Peppi came from.

3. Part of Langosh’s character involves fully understanding the stark difference between being transient by choice and being displaced from your home. Was there a particular incident in your journey that helped you make this realization?

Yes, there were several. To put it into context, in the story Langosh has legal troubles in his home country so that there is a serious emotional barrier to returning home, as well as a barrier to remaining legally in Europe. Due to the travels of Langosh through different environments, this situation is put into comparison with the lives of various other people who have fewer privileges. You asked about a particular incident that illustrates the contrast…what comes to mind is visiting Roma shanty towns in Belgrade, where there is a very different definition of “home” as well as the displacement of civilians in their own country. There was also the shameful treatment of Syrian refugees by the central European nations (and the world) in general, especially Hungary. Compare the difficulty of returning home to a potential arrest, to having no ability to return home at all, because your home is destroyed. The contrast of being able to buy a train ticket out, and of being held against your will in a country that is openly hostile to your presence.

 

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