Dec 022013
 

Having discussed the publications that came out in the last three weeks, let’s look at news of upcoming releases. Along with a few delays and long waits, there is also some good news.

Sources of the S

Spirou aux sources du S... (ill. l'àpart, Franquin)On the brighter side, the book Spirou, aux sources du S (“Spirou: The Sources of the S”) by Philippe Tomblaine has been given a new and hopefully final release date, February 2014. The earlier delays have created the opportunity (and made it necessary) to bring the contents up to date with new interviews and a discussion of the latest albums, and the book is now set to weigh in at 230 pages with illustrations. (Source: BD Gest)

 

Spirou #54

Yoann & Vehlmann interviewed at Utopiales (photo from Unification France)In a lengthy interview at the festival Utopiales, Yoann and Vehlmann spoke about many aspects of their work, their relationship with Spirou, and how they came to work on the series. At the very end, Yoann says that the next album (still untitled) is set for release in June or September 2014, depending on whether he can make up how incredibly far behind he is on it.

 

The Complete Spirou by Jijé

'Spirou et l'aventure' cover (ill. Jijé; (c) Dupuis and the artist)Le Petit Écho de Champignac reports that we will not get an intégrale collection of all Jijé’s Spirou comics in 2014 after all. With limited resources, Dupuis had to choose between collections of two Jijé series: Spirou and Valhardi, and went with the other one. It’s a shame for Spirou fans, but personally I think Jijé did better work on the more serious comic, so the publisher may have made the right choice. The release date for the Spirou by Jijé collection is currently unknown.

 

The Complete Spirou by Tome & Janry (vols. 15 and 16)

spirou by tome et janryOn the other hand, according to the same source, the Dupuis 2014 publication schedule does include the next volume of the regular intégrale. The collected edition of Spirou is now up to fourteen volumes, and volume 15, the third from Tome & Janry’s run (which should include Running Scared, Valley of the Exiles and Spirou in Moscow, at least), will be published in June 2014. Volume 16, which concludes the Tome & Janry period, is currently set to be released one year later, June 2015. A full year between release dates is a bit slower than the average rate of publication of the series (which has been at around two volumes per year), though the gap between vols. 12 and 13 was longer.

 

Spirou not on Cinebook’s schedule

Cinebook Coming soon (ill. Cinebook, Tome & Janry, Franquin; (c) Cinebook)Cinebook has made its publication schedule for the first quarter of 2014 available, and it does not feature any Spirou titles. That’s in line with their typical frequency of publication of the series (I’d expect the next album in Q2 or Q3); however, the short period between the release of Valley of the Exiles and The Marsupilami Thieves made it seem possible that they were stepping up their rate of publication. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

 

Fantagraphics reaches Kickstarter goal

Franquin's Last Laugh (ill. Fantagraphics, Franquin)A bit of good news to end with. Facing financial difficulties following the death of Kim Thompson and the cancellation or postponement of the releases he was supposed to translate and edit (most of the publisher’s European comics), Fantagraphics launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. The campaign comfortably met its goal, and a couple of days ago it passed the $200,000 stretch goal:

If we hit 200,000 we plan to: hire translators to help produce books that were previously scheduled and create an infrastructure to continue Kim Thompson‘s legacy of publishing the best bande dessinee. […]

The new aim is still $200,000 so we can continue on with Kim Thompson’s excellent taste in bande dessinee and the tradition of translating foreign comics in English for future generations with books like Franquin‘s Last Laugh, Jacques Tardi‘s Run Like Crazy Run Like Hell, Herge‘s Peppy and Virginny in Lapinoland and Vapor by Max.

As you see, this apparently means Franquin’s Last Laugh is back on their publication schedule, and that Fantagraphics will remain committed to publishing European comics in English. There are still a couple of days left of the campaign, so if you’d like to support what they do, now is your chance!

  10 Responses to “Publications update (week 46-48, part 2)”

  1.  

    Afaik, all of Jijé’s Spirou works have already been collected interspersedly in the “Tout Jijé” series. A complete collection would be nice, and quite probably cheaper, but the material is already found elsewhere.

    His work is, particularly script-wise, far from Franquin’s later formative albums, as well.

    •  

      Yes, all of Jijé’s Spirou comics are in Tout Jijé. Of course, there might be other illustrations, sketches, etc. that could be included as extras. Plus, the books are out of print.

      There’s also the matter of how to present them: most of the earliest comics in Tout Jijé, including at least some of the Spirou episodes, were heavily restored (to the point of being more or less redrawn) by Vittorio Leonardo, and feature some rather 90s Photoshop coloring. I personally prefer a more vintage look. The facsimile edition of Spirou et l’aventure is more authentic, but there as well some of (or all?) the adventures are redrawn and recolored, probably by Jijé himself when the pages were reformatted to fit the album dimensions/print process. Or perhaps they had just lost the originals and print sheets? (There’s a look at some of the different versions of Jijé’s comics here.)

      The only reprint I’m aware of that shows the pages as they originally appeared in Journal de Spirou and l’Almanach Spirou 1944 is the Scandinavian book Spirou: 1938–1946, the custom-made addendum to the intégrale collected edition that covers Rob-Vel and Jijé. But of course, that’s only in translation, and it’s not complete.

      And yeah, I don’t share the enthusiasm for Jijé’s period that some artists (e.g. Chaland, Séverin) have expressed. While he was definitely capable of doing great work, I get the impression that he never really took Spirou seriously. He often did a pretty sloppy job on it, with characters ugly and wildly off-model, barely recognizable from one panel to the next (of course, he was often under immense time pressure, as when he was drawing most of the comics in the magazine during the war). Clearly the scripts were mostly improvised episode by episode. The creativity and degree of experimentation is interesting, but overall it’s more of a curiosity than something I would consider a legitimate classic. Franquin was better right off the bat, and soon much better.

  2.  

    I basically agree with SR’s assessment above, but I need to add that Jije´s last story “Spirou et les Hommes-Grenouilles” is at least very beautifully drawn, and it’s an indication of how Jijé would gravitate toward realism with Jerry Spring two years later.

    Unfortunately the period of publishing, right between Franquin’s formative albums “Il y a un sorcier à Champignac” and “Spirou et les héritiers”, easily leads to unfavorable comparisions, It’s a curiosity, and the scriptwriting is paper-thin, but standing on its own, it clearly has obvious qualities art-wise.

    •  

      Yes, “Spirou and the Frogmen” has, for example, some very nice diving scenes (an original from the story was part of the CBBD exhibition; first photo in the last row), but at the same time it’s the story where Jijé committed this:

      From 'Les hommes-grenouilles' (ill. Jijé; (c) Dupuis and the artist)

      Between Spirou’s disappearing/reappearing hat, Fantasio’s constantly changing facial structure, and whatever is going on in that last panel, it doesn’t make a strong case for Jijé’s art. (Though to be fair, this page looked rather different in the magazine version, and it is possible at least that Jijé isn’t responsible for that final panel.)

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