All posts tagged Belgium

Review: Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1972-1975

Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1972-1975Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1972-1975 by Jean-Claude Fournier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the tenth chronological collection of the classic Belgian adventure comic Spirou and Fantasio, and includes three albums from the early 1970s.

The creator of this epoch, Fournier, inherited the comic from André Franquin, whom most view as the master artist of the series. Fournier’s style is not quite as dynamic, but is clearly based in the same school and works surprisingly well for these comics. Not the least does the somewhat more rigid style fit these typical, somewhat didactic 1970s stories, in which Fournier tries to remedy the fact that the previous comics with Spirou and Fantasio took place in a traditional boys adventure world by introducing a strong female supporting character, a number of believable colored characters as well as a more modern view of life in the third world.

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Review: Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1988-1991

Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1988-1991Spirou – Den kompletta samlingen 1988-1991 by Tome
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The classic Belgian album series Spirou and Fantasia was created in the 1930s and since then a number of different comics artists have shouldered the responsibility of creating this humorous adventure comic. After a number of years when the series was less artistically interesting, the creative duo of Tome (Philippe Tome) & Janry (Jean-Richard Geurts) took over the reins in the early 1980s and restored the comic to its former glory, and not at least made it more contemporary. This volume contains four of their best albums, in which the two adventurers and journalists travel around the globe.

The most interesting story is set in in Russia just after the Berlin Wall fell. A story that despite or perhaps because of the humorous tone and the caricatured style, really feels like a historical document about this now long lost era.

As for the art, Tome & Janry have here really hit their stride with their modern take of the classical Marcinelle style. This volume is complemented by a long preface that puts the comics in their historical contexts and also contains an abundance of photos, alternate covers, illustrations and other interesting material.

Entertaining, well-made comics, which despite the humorous adventure genre often contains serious themes.

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Review: Den tavse engel

Den tavse engelDen tavse engel by Tome
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first volume of the Spriou artist and writer Tome’s “other” album series, Soda. In France, there are so far thirteen albums since the debut in the late 1980s and the comic is on its third artist by now. Soda is based on the standard story about the not too clever but honest and energetic New York Police officer who solves cases by running, jumping and chasing around. Positive, non-stereotypical traits in this, the very first volume is the fact that the main character lives with his elderly mother and in order to to reassure her dresses up as a priest each time he goes home, and that one of the more important supporting characters is a strong and intelligent woman. Warnant’s drawings end up on the slightly more realistic side of the scale for Marcinelle-artist, but a Janry (the artist working with Tome on the Spriou series), he is not…

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Review: Lönnmördaren

Lönnmördaren ?Lönnmördaren by Raoul Cauvin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yet another volume in the album series Les Tuniques Bleues (The Blue Tunics), and as per usual, it´s a traditional, well-made comic in the classical French-Belgian album tradition. The plot is pretty thin – someone within their own ranks is trying to assassinate General Ulysses S. Grant, and as he becomes more and more paranoid, the rest of the camp is trying to figure out who might be behind it all. Cauvin delivers yet another OK script, but it’s Lambil’s artwork that lifts this album above the average. Not the best album in the series, but well worth reading.

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Review: Marsupilamis vrede

Marsupilamis vredeMarsupilamis vrede by Fabien Vehlmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The latest Spirou and Fantasio album is a trip down memory lane for us who have followed this series for a long time.

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Review: Blå blues

Blå bluesBlå blues by Raoul Cauvin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Yet another album with Les Tuniques Bleues (or Blåfrakkerne as they are called in Danish). There are 59 albums so far, and even if the creators are aged by now it seems they are not about to quit producing an album a year, like clockwork.

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Review: En blårock saknas

En blårock saknasEn blårock saknas by Raoul Cauvin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A story that begins promising and has great potential, which unfortunately is sorely misspent by scriptwriter Cauvin at the end. The idea of alternative, subjective versions of the chaotic reality during a battle is inspired, although no one who reads this long-running series would ever believe in the possibility that Blutch, one of the comic’s two main characters, actually would have died. Despite this, entertaining and well done, if not ingenious.

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Review: Världens bästa morfar

Världens bästa morfarVärldens bästa morfar by Tome
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Le Petit Spirou is a spinoff of the classic Belgian comic Spirou and Fantasio, about the protagonist as a child, probably set somewhere during the 1950s and actually more successful than the main series. Le Petit Spirou is made by the duo Tome (Philippe Vandevelde) and Janry (Jean-Richard Geurts), who for a period of time also were the creators behind Spirou and Fantasio. The comic mostly consists of one pagers with a joke at the end and is clearly geared towards boys in their tweenies.

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Review: Leopardkvinnan

LeopardkvinnanLeopardkvinnan by Yann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A new album in the specials series with Spirou and Fantasio. One again, the script is by Olivier Schwartz and the drawings by Yann, who together previously created Operation Bat in the same series. These albums, which were originally intended as stand-alone stories in which various comics artists could try out wild ideas, is now more and more being built together into an alternate continuity. This is, as I said Schwartz´ and Yann´s second book, which begins immediately where the last one ended and has an open ending with an indication that there will be a third volume. Additionally, the album Spirou – Portrait of the hero as an innocent young man by Émile Bravo can also be said to be part of the same continuity

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Review: Conquistador 1

Conquistador 1Conquistador 1 by Jean Dufaux
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first part of an album series in the historical adventure genre, set in the early 1500s, during the Spanish conquest of South America. The main character is part of a group of mercenaries who are assigned the task of stealing the fabled treasure of the Aztecs.

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Review: När David tappade rösten

När David tappade röstenNär David tappade rösten by Judith Vanistendael
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful graphic novel about dying of cancer, not a heroic fight and win over the decease, but actually dying from it. We follow David who learns that he has throat cancer, his adult daughter who recently had a baby, his new young wife and their young daughter – and see how the disease unfolds from different perspectives. It’s beautiful, sad and poignant – and very well told. Despite the topic, it never gets sugary sweet, and the images are evocative and very personal in style.

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From the mailbag: German trade publications and French-Belgian albums.

From the mailbag: German trade publications and French-Belgian albums.

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