Slalom by Lewis Trondheim cover detail

The Marvelous Adventures of McConey v0: “Slalom”

Writer: Lewis Trondheim
Artist: Lewis Trondheim
Colorist: Brigitte Findakly
Lettering: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Mercedes Claire Gilliom
Published by: Dargaud/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 44
Original Publication: 1997

Four guys go skiing…  One of them is a rabbit, I tell ya!  A giant rabbit!

Some Quick Historical Perspective

This is some of Lewis Trondheim’s earliest work.  Almost.  Trondheim originally created this story in the early 1990s.  The rabbit character in the book, McConey, is better known as “Lapinot” in France. Trondheim created nine books in the series from 1993 to 2004, which recasts the same group of characters into different situations and different time periods each time.

After a long absence, he published the first new Lapinot book in more than ten years last summer, “Un Monde Un Peu Meilleur”.  (Literally translated to “A Little Better World.”)

A sample from a watercolored Lapinot sketchbook page by Lewis Trondheim

In the meantime, I suggest you go read Trondheim’s Instagram page, where (as of this writing in February 2018) he does a new watercolored image in his sketchbook every day, telling a new wordless Lapinot/McConey story.  Even comparison this redrawn book from the late 1990s to those Instagram images today, the growth in Trondheim’s cartooning is remarkable.

Being volume 0, you probably guessed already that this is the first book in the McConey/Lapinot series.  Trondheim originally drew it in the early 1990s in black and white.  In a note at the end of this book, he mentions that he originally drew that book at the same size as the finished book was printed.  He redrew the book for this final edition to bring the art up to his current standards, including using a ruler for panel borders, and then getting Brigitte Findakly to ”’ it up.

You can see a sample from the original book alongside the redrawn page from this updated edition on this blog.  I disagree with the author there, who prefers the black and white edition. I think the redrawn and colored version is much easier to read.

Lewis Trondheim Slalom title card image with all the characters in a snowglobe

Fantagraphics published two of the other books in this series a long time ago. I’m sure they’re long out of print today.  But Dargaud/Europe Comics just published this translation digitally this year.  Perhaps this is the beginning of the whole series getting translated?  I hope so…

 

Slalom: Cute Book, But Completely Plotless

Lewis Trondheim draws a character skiing

McConey and three of his friends head off to the country to spend a few days on the slopes.  The slopes are closed and then they’re open.  There’s a possible wild wolf on the prowl, but not he isn’t.  One of the group wants to go clubbing, but the others don’t.  One night, the do all go dancing. They meet girls, but not much comes of it.  They rant against rude people, host a board game night, and then go home

McCone needs the right size snow boots to ski

This is the gag in the book that made me laugh out loud.

The four characters are well defined, at least.  There’s the scaredy-cat one who wants to always play it safe and stick to a relaxing plan.  There’s the wild child who wants to go off trail for a better downhill experience.  Another is the lady’s man who is more interested in clubbing and picking up snow bunnies than anything else. And Lapinot is fairly middle of the road. He’s more relaxed and laid back, keeping things simple and sane.

This is not a book you look for a character arc in. You should not expect to find a transformation in this book.  There is none.  This is, at best, to use an over-used phrase, a slice of life book.  It has moments where you think it might be leading to something, but then it doesn’t. It’s just a series of mostly disconnected events with strong personalities guiding the decisions being made.

 

As an exercise in a a young cartoonist learning their craft by making comics, this book is a wild success.  As an entertaining unit on its own, I can’t recommend it.

 

 

Recommended?

Cover to The Marvelous Adventures of McConey: Slalom cover by Lewis Trondheim

 

Sadly, no.  If you’re a Trondheim completist, then yes, but if you’re looking for a story that brings you strong characterization and transformations, this is not it. It’s a good looking book, with strong coloring, in particular, but that’s about it.  Otherwise, it’s four guys who go skiing, and other things happen, too.

There’s also a style or a tone to this type of humor that I’m not sure I can explain.  I’m not sure if it’s a French thing or just a Trondheim thing.  It’s an understated brand of humor, usually relying on a character who’s blasé about the world or feels fated to their lot in life.  Even when there’s no plot, if that style of humor clicks with you, there will be some stuff in this book that clicks with you.

Maybe wait for it to go on sale…

— 2018.019 —

 

Buy It Now

Buy this book on Amazon Click here to buy digital BD comics albums through Izneo.com  Buy this book on Comixology

Izneo.com Preview

 

Slalo

4 Comments

  • JC LEBOURDAIS February 13, 2018 at 10:22 am

    What kind of name is McConey? Who came up with that?

    Reply
    • Augie February 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      I believe it’s another Kim Thompson translation. (He did the Fantagraphics translations of two of the books 15 years ago or so. I have one of them.)

      Yes, the same guy who gave us Gomer the Goof. “McConey” seems SO random, though…

      Reply
      • JC LEBOURDAIS February 16, 2018 at 6:27 pm

        Isn’t it supposed to mean something?

        Reply
  • bacta February 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for directing me to Trondheim’s comic on Instagram, it’s awesome!

    And I kind of felt the same about Slalom. It’s been years since I read it, but I remember being disappointed. This was my introduction to Lapinot/McConey and it made me think Donjon/Dungeon (one of my favorite comics) was the only thing by Trondheim that’s really worth reading. Later on I realized that I should try some other comics by him. But it was only last year that I read one, Blacktown, often referred to as part 1 of the McConey series. And I really liked it 🙂

    I don’t get why Europe Comics started with Slalom, they should’ve started with another story, this just makes people decide to skip the series. It reminds me of when the English Valerian comics were promoted with albums 0, 1 and 2, some of the worst albums to represent the series.

    Reply

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