A selection of Europe Comics on Comixology

The Year of Franco-Belgian Book Reviews

“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
  • Euro-Albums
  • 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

Comixology offers a variety of French publications in English
This is a selection from Comixology’s offerings by Delcourt/Soleil.

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.

The Goal

Cinebook on Comixology
Cinebook has a much larger library of in print books, but for sampling sake, here’s what Comixology covers.

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:

Ken Games volume 1: "Rock" coverKen Games v2 Paper

Ken Games v3 cover header image by Marcial ToledanoKen Games v4 by José Manuel Robledo and Marcial Toledano

Coming soon:

Ekho volume 1 coverSuperdupont Cover Header Image

…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…

What do YOU think? (First time commenters' posts may be held for moderation.)

7 Comments

  1. Looking forward to these reviews! May I suggest you also look up “The Swords of Glass” by Corgiat/Zuccheri and “Siegfried” by Alex Alice if you haven’t already.

    1. Thanks! I have a lot more lined up! The Valerian books should be starting in February, too. “The Swords of Glass” is a book I started reading about a year ago. I think I was halfway through it before some technical issue prevented me from reading the rest. (It was a digital review copy.) I should get back to it, because I enjoyed a lot of what I read there. “Siegfried” doesn’t seem to be available in English yet. And the French edition is region locked and unavailable in North America on Izneo. But I’ll keep an eye out for it, for sure. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. i like your goal so much so that I bought Ken Games – any chance of reading Desert Star by Stephen Desberg and Enrico Marini? I only ask because Comixology has a sale until tomorrow (1/22), all three volumes for $6. The art looks fantastically detailed and it’s a Western which intrigues me. I’ll see if it’s any good!

    1. Thanks, Wil! Hope you like Ken Games! I passed on “Desert Star.” I have a backlog of reading material already, and that one didn’t excite me enough to jump on it. Looking forward to seeing the next round of sales this week. With this being the week of the festival in Angouleme, I’m hoping for some big sales.

      1. You’re very welcome! And I wanna say that I admire your work ethic, halfway past February and already at one-fourth of your goal. I’m curious what comics are coming up next 🙂

        I hope you enjoy the subreddit. It’s an English-language subreddit for all fans of Franco-Belgian comics, fans in Europe and beyond. The downside being that most content about these comics is in French or Dutch, and there’s not that much in English. Fortunately it seems to be getting better!