Written by a former speechwriter and adviser to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, and set during the run-up to something very like the Iraq conflict, Weapons of Mass Diplomacy is a political satire that gets under the skin of modern politics and diplomatic relations. Published in France as Quai d’Orsay, it won the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2013.
Paris, 2002. Arthur Vlaminck, a young civil servant, lands an impressive first job as the speechwriter for Alexandre Taillard de Vorms, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Quai d’Orsay. Vorms is a refined and driven intellectual who frequently quotes classical poetry and philosophy. As the imposing doors of politics and diplomacy swing open, Vlaminck is thrown into a world of large egos, high stress and low cunning. He is tasked with drafting France’s response to a growing international crisis in the Middle East. Spanning the run-up to an invasion, we see in painful – and often hilarious – detail the inevitable clash between Gallic reluctance and American assurance over the case for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Weapons of Mass Diplomacy is a portrait of a time that saw French fries become “freedom fries” and a line from The Simpsons about “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” gain international currency.
Abel Lanzac is the pen-name of Antonin Baudry, who is currently the Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy in New York City. This is his first graphic novel.
Christophe Blain is an award-winning artist and writer best known for the Gus series. He previously won the ‘Best Graphic Novel’ prize at Angoulême for Isaac the Pirate.
Weapons of Mass Diplomacy is translated from the French by Edward Gauvin and published by SelfMadeHero.