The Danish-Swedish publisher Mooz continues the publication of hardcover collections with the classic French children’s comic Spirou. This volume contains three albums from the 1980s by Tome and Janry. This creative team was clearly the heirs to the undisputed master among Spirou artists, André Franquin, both in terms of the art, which has the same expressive, fast paced feel to it, and in the storylines, which are often linked to Franquin’s characters and comics.
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.
Ariol is quickly becoming my favourite children’s comic. Guibert constantly delivers scripts that really feel like they depicts the reality of children, as opposed to all those stories about children, written by adults from a safe distance. In this volume, for instance, I loved the little story of how the hesitant Ariol tries hard to impress the resolute and confident girl he loves, or the one about the obsession of collecting cards that can transcend generational gaps.
The second collection of the French children’s comics Benjamin Bear/L´ours Barnabé, which is just as strange and at the same time pedagogical as the previous volume. In my review of the first collection Benny Björn på rätt spår I compared this series with the absurd Cowboy Henk, and that impression remains. Fun, unexpectedly drastic and at the same time always with an eye on teaching young readers things about how our world works. So far from dreary educational comics as you can possibly get. Refreshing.
I recently wrote a review of the two first volumes of Riad Sattouf´s masterpiece L’Arabe du future for the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. It can now be found in its digital form here.
The first album in what is likely to be a series of “extraordinary adventure” with Lucky Luke, probably inspired by the successful book series with independent, more experimental comics with Spirou and Fantasio. The latter are often enjoyable, albeit of varying quality, depending on who the publisher chooses to invite to play with these classic characters. It was therefore with some hope, but also a certain amount of trepidation that I started reading this first volume.
The fifth collection of the classic French science fiction comic Valerian, with comics from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The stories in this volume follows the two space-time agents during a period where the future Earth from which they came has ceased to exist, and they are struggling to survive without many of the technological advantages they have been used to.
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.
This is a book that I looked forward to reading, not least after it won the Audience award in Angoulême a few years ago. And maybe I had set my hopes too high, for I was not as smitten as I expected to be. Sure, it’s a strong story and I was really touched by several scenes, but at the same time the history feels a bit too predictable as if it was written after a preset schedule where the author checks the right boxes along the way. And the relationships are also a little too stereotypical for my taste. The end felt slightly rushed, and the long jump in time that takes place does not feel completely justified. Even the pictures feels a bit tentative, but this at least fits the story of this insecure teenager.