Mermaid Project cover detail

Please Translate These 12 Franco-Belgian Books!

Consider this my open letter to the people behind EuropeComics, the creators behind these comics, in general, and/or publishers and distributors who want to make a few bucks.

The following is a list of ten series I’m interested in reading in English.  I’ve seen preview pages from the series and read up on what they’re about from various sites, but I want to read them in English.

This is not a complete list of every book I’d like to read.  This is just a snapshot in time of things that interest me.  I’m sure if I spent a few more hours looking at previews and publishers’ catalogs, I could come up with a couple dozen more.

Let’s start with these, though.

Please translate these books into English for distribution on Izneo and/or comiXology.  Pretty please?

 

Game Over

Game Over cover detail

This one is a total cheat.  It’s a mostly silent book with an English title.

You don’t even need a translation of much of this book.  Easy money.  The problem is one of publishing and contracts, I’m guessing.  While Izneo does sell the series (15 volumes and counting), it is not allowed to sell them to North America. I’d buy the French editions, if I could.

The book is a series of one page gags that’ll appeal to video game and role playing people.  There are orcs and princesses and strange beasts.  Each page ends with “Game Over” drawn in a way to fit into the strip, too.  It’s interesting to see all the variations on that.

In the meantime, you can page through the previews of the 15 available volumes and get roughly a full volume’s worth of pages, anyway.  It’s a bit of clicking around, but I’m enjoying it.

Luuna

Luuna cover image detail

Published by Soleil, Luuna is written (!) by Crisse (who drew one of the “Tellos” one shots) and drawn by Nicolas Keramidas.  There are eight books in the series, which features a Native American woman and her animal sidekicks of some kind. I don’t know what the plot is, but I like all the storytelling I’ve seen in the preview and sample pages.

You can see excerpts of it on the author’s website.

And after that’s translated, I hope we can see the pre-Humberto Ramos “Kookaburra” books that Crisse drew next…

Mermaid Project

Mermaid Project cover detail

Set in near future Paris, the world is a different place. You can tell because the cover of the first volume features an Eiffel Tower that’s only half left standing.

It looks to be five volumes long, set in a world where climate change has flooded parts of the world and biological experiments on sea life lead to renegade dolphins or something.

I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but I like the art and want to read it. You can see the preview pages starting at Volume 1.

 

Gaston La Gaffe

Gaston LaGaffe cover detail, now Gomer the Goof

It’s Andre Franquin’s most beloved creation, and it’s never been in English before.

The good news is, this one is coming soon!  Cinebook will be publishing this series shortly, under the name “Gomer the Goof,” which is how Kim Thompson renamed him for an American audience once upon a time.

While we’re at it, I wouldn’t mind seeing a translation of Franquin’s later “Idées Noires ” work, too.  That one would seem to have a much more limited appeal, but it’s an important work in the library of one of Belgium’s finest cartoonists.

 

Lanfuest of Troy

Lanfeust de Troy cover detail

This long-running series written by Christophe (“Ythaq”) Arleston and drawn by Didier Tarquin is a sprawling mess of books that look like fun.

From afar, it reminds me a bit of “Dungeon” from Lewis Trondheim and friends, mixing swords, sorcery, and a dash of humor.

Check out the Wikipedia entry for it to get an idea of the sequels and the alternate takes and all the rest.

 

Shi

This one was just released at the beginning of the year. It’s the story of — well, I don’t know.  A Japanese woman and a British woman against the British empire, I think?  As with so many of the items on this list, it’s a book that looks interesting.  The art is attracting me to it, and now I want to read it.

Look it up on Izneo and browse the sample pages.  (See more pages here.) That should give you an idea.

 

 

Terra Prime

Terra Prime v1 cover detail

This one is a little different for me for a couple of reasons.  First, it looks like straight-up military science fiction.  There’s people in uniforms, glittering cities, big guns, lots of pouches, and space travel.  That’s cool.

Second, it’s heavily manga-influenced.  It doesn’t have that many panels per page. It’s a wide open layout design, by comparison to the more buttoned down stuff I usually prefer, like with “Asterix,” for example. The color design feels very anime to me.  It’s cold and slick and filled with little Photoshop touches.

The third volume came out a couple months back. Looks like new volumes come out every 11 months.  Sadly, it’s not available for purchase in my country, even in French.

 

Titeuf

Titeuf by Zep still isn't in English

I’m not sure I would like this one. It’s wildly popular in France, but it feels a bit too over-the-top to me, and I’m not sure how much I love the style.  But I want to try it out.

I’m not sure any publisher over here will ever take this one.  It looks and feels like a kid’s book, but then it deals with the title character’s sex education class, including an anatomical diagram on one of the covers.  Yeah, I doubt any publisher wants to deal with that…

And, again, it’s not available in my country even if I wanted to read it in French.

 

Journal Insomniaque d’une Femme de RonFleur

Cover to a book all about a wife and her snoring husband

The unwieldiest title yields two volumes of gag pages about a woman who can’t get any sleep because her husband snores.

It’s impressive to me that as small a topic as that can be milked for 96 pages. Gives me something to shoot for in life.

Look forward to my two volume series, “The Guy Who Got Stuck Behind the School Bus Every Morning On His Way to Work.”  Wait, “Crankshaft” beat me to that already, didn’t it?  Nevermind.

 

Infinity 8

Infinity 8 cover detail

Lewis Trondheim and friends (including Zep, creator of “Titeuf”) create a science fiction comic book series for six issues. It’s fashioned as a 60s American sci fi comic series. It’s an experimental thing, but I’d give it a shot.  They even bring Hitler in about halfway though.  Hopefully, they get a chance to punch him.

Issue #1 is over here.  And you can buy it today if you want to read it in French.

While I’m thinking of Trondheim, let me add this item to this list:

Little Nothings

Lewis Trondheim Little Nothings cover

I mentioned this in my review of Lewis Trondheim’s “Little Nothings”: NBM didn’t publish them all in America. There are at least three books that could be translated and published today, if someone wanted to take that chance.

I’d give them my money, for sure.

 

Stern

Stern cover

The second volume in this series came out a couple months back now, and the hook got me, along with the art.

Stern is a bounty hunter turned pathologist who gets caught up in a mysterious death.  In the second book, he’s a book-loving zombie.  Something crazy like that.

Each volume is a standalone story.  My curiosity is piqued.

Check out the preview pages for volume one here.

I Could Go On

Every time I flipped over to Izneo or a review site or to Wikipedia to find more information about each of these tiles, I found myself getting easily distracted by All The Other Stuff, too.  This list is hardly complete.  Give me another half hour, and I can come up with another dozen titles, for sure.

We live in a glorious time for Franco-Belgian comics in English. It’s never been better for those translations. It’s OK to be a little greedy, though.

Let’s come back to this list in a few months and see if any of them have made it through the translation process.

I can almost guarantee a second volume of this list will see the light someday.  I’m not above writing sequels, so stay tuned…

 

Updates

08 May 2017: Per a tweet from Europe Comics, “Shi” and “Stern” are scheduled for an English language release in September!

Only 10 left to go now…

3 Comments

  • JC Lebourdais May 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I would agree with some of your choices, but know that Crisse is mostly known for his T&A art, not his ahem writing skills.
    If you found Boule et Bill boring and repetitive, Midam is definitely not the one for you; frankly that’s stuff you browse through while doing your business in the bathroom.
    Not sure if Gaston and Titeuf would translate well into English, this is very culturally-rooted humour. Yet both are deeper than they look, so if someone successfully translated Asterix before, then why not.
    I don’t know the other series much, although I’m tempted to say that if the first volume of each might be promising, then French publishers probably tried to milk it for another 12 tomes or so. Therefore, the chances of reading a complete story with beginning, middle and end are slim.
    Trondheim rarely disappoints, so I’d back that one up.

    Reply
  • Bent May 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Gaston have been translated into a number of other languages with success including my native danish… As for the Troy saga there are a number of spinoffs and most of the series have been scanlated…………..

    Reply
  • A Quick Guide to Franco-Belgian Comics Publishers - Pipeline Comics May 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    […] They have a new book, “Mes Premieres Fois” (“My First Time”) that has a good hook: each page is the first time the lead character is doing something, and the hilarity that results.  I should add that to my next list of books that need to be translated. […]

    Reply

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