The Danish/Swedish publisher Mooz continues the publication of hardcover collections with the classical French album comic Spirou and Fantasio. This volume contains the first three albums by Franquin’s successor, the then young and inexperienced Jean-Claude Fournier. Taking over after the recognized master was surely no easy task and both art and storytelling are quite clunky at first, but gradually gets better.
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This is a low-key story of two young siblings who spend a Saturday together, trying to busy themselves, despite the rain falling outside. Nothing much happens and the pace is quiet and laid-back, which is really nice for a change from many action laden comics for adults.
Benjamin Bear is a strange little comic, a bit like a childrens’ version of the absurd Cowboy Henk , if anyone can imagine that… The protagonist is an anthropomorphic bear living in an undefined world seemingly without any humans. The comics spans one page each and always end with a joke, even though the path there often contains some kind of lesson about how the physical world works. At the same time, it is absurd on an almost metaphysical level, as everything seems to be possible in Benjamin Bear’s strange world. The images are simple and clear, and the comics are clearly geared towards the youngest readers. As such, I think Benjamin Bear is excellent in that it combines didactic intentions with a great sense of humor and some pure nonsense.
As per tradition, I have chosen and presented what I think were the best Swedish graphic novels from last year, for the international summing up of the year at Paul Gravett’s webpage. This year, I chose three very different books, which just goes to show how varied the Swedish comics culture has become.