Point Zéro, une bande-dessinée d’Abir Gasmi et Kamal Zakourc
Graphic novel

5 min

Point Zéro, a graphic novel by Abir Gasmi and Kamal Zakour

The fruit of a collaboration between the author Abi Gasmi and the artist Kamal Zakour, Point Zéro is a graphic novel that immerses us in a true existential quest, where the deepest Sahara that turns into a theatre of the mind. This album is supported by the Livres des deux rives programme of the Institut français. 

© Alifbata

The Tunisian comics revival

After studying engineering, Abir Gasmi decided to become a scriptwriter for cinema and comics. She also founded a Tunisian experimental comics collective called Lab619 following the Jasmine Revolution, which notably publishes a comics magazine for adults. In this capacity she also organises residencies, including one on borders, which has led to the publication of the group anthology Migrations (Alifbata, 2021). It is also within the framework of this association that she collaborates with the cartoonist Kamal Zakour, the artist behind the magnificent illustrations in Point Zéro


The desert as metaphor

After an accident kills his Tuareg guide, a man with uncertain motives ventures into the Sahara in search of mysterious black locusts. He sees these insects as the source of a catastrophe that only he can prevent, and decides to eat them to take revenge, unaware that they feed on hallucinogenic plants. Thus begins a journey of initiation that will lead him to meet a desert spirit, and to gradually question his prejudices about himself and the state of the world. 


A philosophical fable

To depict this intimate journey, in which the desert is a character in its own right, Kamal Zakour chooses to use a range of techniques: clear line, charcoal, alternating black and white and colour. As seen in the Bible during the episode of the temptation of Christ, we find here the same motif of the desert as philosophical test. Here it shapes a tale filled with parables that raises many questions, without ever providing clear answers. Point Zéro is a philosophical fable on a human scale, which questions our relationship with the world and the legacy we wish to leave to others. 


Dialogue across the Mediterranean

Originally published in Arabic, Le Point Zéro has now been translated into French. This has been made possible by Alifbata, an association whose aim is to forge links across the Mediterranean, particularly by encouraging mobility for authors. Publication was also made possible by the support of the Livres des deux rives scheme, with the author Abir Gasmi invited to the Les Promesses de l'Aube festival in Aix-en-Provence last December.