Merci cover detail

8 Most Wanted Bamboo Translations

I’m Like a Panda; I Want More Bamboo!

Bamboo is not part of the Europe Comics collective, unfortunately.

From what I can tell, they’re not big into translating their stuff into English on their own. NBM’s Papercutz division has the North American license for a few of their titles, such as “Dance Club” and “The Sisters.” It appears to me that Bamboo chooses to let licensors handle the translation and distribution of their titles instead of doing it on their own.

Perhaps some future successes of other imprints and publishers will get them to change their mind.

If and when that day comes, they’re going to have a lot of material to translate.

I have a few suggestions for ones I’d like to see.  I think most of these are non-obvious. A couple of them might be more “obscure,” but it’s my list.  I get to set the rules here.  Commercial viability is not one of the factors I’m choosing here. That’s the luxury of the analyst.

 

“Tizombie”

Tizombi cover

From the creators of “The Sisters” comes this more morbid entry in Bamboo’s diverse set of gag-a-page series. It’s still young, with only one collection available so far. I’m just interested in seeing how that art style translates to a monster book.  I’ve seen “Zombillenium,” now I want more.

 

“Les Super Sisters”

Super Sisters, by the makers of Les Sisters

While we’re talking about Christophe Cazenove and William, this is a three-parter starring The Sisters, but in a more superheroic setting. You don’t get too many superheroes in French comics (hello, “Superdupont“), so I’d be curious how this one goes.

 

“Un petit livre oublié sur un banc”

(“A small book forgotten on a bench”)

Un Petit Livre Oublie Sur Un Banc cover

This is a book by Jim and Mig that I remember seeing a year or two ago in previews on Izneo and liked the high concept of. It’s the story of a woman who finds a book on a park bench and the adventure that follows.  It ran two books, and now they’re put the two together into one final edition.

 

“Le jour où le bus repartit sans elle”

(“The Day the Bus Left Without Her,” I think…)

Le Jour Ou Le Bus Est Reparti Sans Elle

Don’t you like the way this cover and the last one have such similar designs?

That title is a mouthful, isn’t it?  Why did I choose this one?  It’s from the same creators who do the  “Dance Class” series, Beka and Marko.  It’s fascinating to see how they morph their style for this book into something a little more “realistic.”  You don’t have the single bouncing hair sticking out of everyone’s forehead, or heads that are just too large for their bodies. I love that language in “Dance Class,” but it’ll be fun to see how they adjust it to work on a more serious book.

I’m not even sure what the book is about.  It has something to do with a woman finding her place in this world after getting stuck in another country when she misses her bus.

There are two books out in this series so far, released over the last two summers.  I’m not sure how long a series it’s set to be.

 

“Les Profs”

Les Profs v1 cover

This one is very popular in France and has already spun off into other series and into the movies.  It’s the story of a group of teachers at a school and the wacky problems they have in the teacher’s room and their classrooms. They sound like an interesting set of characters.

 

“Merci”

Merci cover by Zidrou and Monin

I saw this one while randomly perusing Izneo.com one day.  I still have no idea what it’s about.  Even the description of the book, when translated, doesn’t make sense to me. This is also a great example of where Izneo’s eight page previews fall down.  There’s so much front matter to this book — title page, quote page, credits page, intro page — that you only get one page of art.  I found a longer preview on a different website, and liked what I saw.  I’d like to read it now…

 

“My First Times”

Mes Premieres Fois (My First Time) cover by Sti and Juan

No, it never gets to the most obvious joke.  I think I like that part most about this book.  it’s a series of one page gags about the first time someone does something.  Yes, they milked this for 40 some gags, and never once went for the obvious gag.  You expect it next with every turn of the page, but it never shows up.

The cartooning is bouncy and ultra-Franquin, and the gags that I’ve parsed out for myself are good.

 

Le Schpountz

le schpountz cover

Here’s a story about a country boy who goes Hollywood.  I think. I’m not sure.  I just flip through the pages with its faded coloring and see the cartooning of all the old school Hollywood stuff and fall in love with it.  Now I want to read it.

Here’s a sample panel to give you an idea of what’s going on:

le schpountz sample panel of old Hollywood and its cool coloring

 

What Are the Odds, Though?

With Bamboo, it’s tough to get too positive.  Their business model does not work in my favor.  Let’s hope they change course at some point.

Last year, I did a list of 12 BD I wanted to see translated.  Three of them are already in English, and one more is on the schedule for next year.  I’d love to be that successful with this list.

I think “Les Profs” would work well.  “Tizombi” would be great, but I wonder if American publishers don’t want to start translating a series of one.  If they’re going all-in on reprinting European comics, they should be building a framework to sell whole series. One book likely won’t cut it, which is another reason why “Les Profs” would be a good pick up for someone.  There are plenty of those.  I’ve never read it, but it might even be tame enough to fit in over at Papercutz.

If you want to see more of the kinds of titles Bamboo publishes, check out their Bamboo Mag anthology, which publishes a whole lot of one page gags every month. You might want to see one of their other series translated, like the one about the firefighters or the rugby players or the fish or the wine lovers, etc.  So would I.  I just want the eight titles above a little more.

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