“Oh, So That’s Why You Reviewed All Four Volumes of “Ken Games” Last Week, Augie!”
Readers of Pipeline over the years have no doubt seen that I have one of those rarest of interests amongst North American comic book readers. Take your pick which name you want to use:
- Franco-Belgian Comics
- Les Bandes Dessinées (BD)
Whatever you want to call them, they’re 48 page packages of story, often printed in oversized hardcover format, and timed like more traditional book publications and less like monthly disposable magazines. They cross a variety of genres and age ranges. They are treated as a respectable format overseas. They read well the second time around, too.
And they’re almost completely ignored in the United States. Sure, we loved The Smurfs in the 80s, but that’s likely as close as you’ve ever been to one.
Maybe you’re a bit younger than I am and loved Disney’s Marsupilami, based on the Belgian comic. Disney failed to live up to their contract for Marsupilami and so his Belgian creator sued and got the character back. And really, who ever wins a lawsuit against Disney? Andre friggin’ Franquin did.
Digital Comics Opens An Audience
One of the glorious things about the rise of digital comics is that, suddenly, it’s economical to publish these European comics in English. If you really can’t wait, you can buy the original French comics digitally, too.
Traditional print publishers like Humanoids and Cinebook exist, too, finding ways to produce albums every year, as well. Cinebook’s success is awe-inspiring, actually, and I believe comes from printing the book in English in bulk for multiple countries at once.
North American publishers like Dark Horse, IDW, Fantagraphics, and Dynamite are also translating books.
There’s finally enough material to keep me so busy that I could devote this entire website to them.
That would be silly, though. Overkill, perhaps. Commercial suicide.
But when has that ever stopped me before?
The Plan: 100 Days of Bandes Dessinees
(Not in a Row)
Since this website isn’t commercially viable as it is, I have nothing to lose. Let’s have some fun!
I am going to make European albums the major focus of this year for PipelineComics.com.
I will review at least 100 European albums in 2017.
I’ve been hedging my bets and saying 50 or 75 before now, but goals should be bigger than you initially think. That’ll keep me honest and keep me pressing to produce more. I just need to average two a week. The good news is, my collection is large enough that I have a decent enough head start in acquiring material to make this work.
I want to have a library of reviews so that every time Comixology or Izneo has a sale, I can point you to a review immediately.
When you see an album and wonder if it’s any good, I want you to search here first for an opinion on it.
My ultimate goal is to convince each and every one of you to try something new. There’s a pretty wide gamut of genres being published in this format. There’s humor and action and adventure and thriller, stuff for adults only, stuff meant for kids, and others. Not everything will be what you’re looking for, and goodness knows I have my preferences.
It’s my hope to review a large enough cross-section of this market that there will be something for everyone. I want to review these books not just on their own merits, but in ways that will appeal to a spectrum of North American comics readers.
There’s never been a better time to read as many Franco-Belgian comics as there is today. I want to be part of that. I want to help in some small way to ensure that progress continues on this front. The best way to do it is to spread the word, and help introduce others to the good stuff.
Let’s get started…
Oh, That’s Right, I Already Started:
…and so much more!
Why YOU Should Start Now
For follow-up reading, I highlight recommend my article, “Why NOW is a Great Time to Start Reading Franco-Belgian Comics.”
In it, I answer all of the most common objections for not reading these books, including sizing issues, publisher issues, French language issues, pricing issues, and more. Seriously, there’s a really good answer for all of those objections.
There’s never been a better time to get started…