Aug 102014

Good news everybody! The next Spirou adventure and one-shot are coming, perhaps sooner than expected, and there is going to be a graphic novel about the real-life inspiration for Spirou…

Spirou #54 to start 3. September

Sketch for Spirou #54, from JdS #3979 (ill. Yoann & Vehlmann; (c) Dupuis and the artists)

In this week’s Journal de Spirou (#3983), there’s a short notice talking about the upcoming #3986 “Back from Holidays” issue, due out on 3. September. It will, among other things, feature the first part of a new Spirou & Fantasio adventure! While the article gives no further details, a Dupuis representative has identified it on the BD Gest forum as Spirou #54, Le Labyrinthe d’Ibn-Sina (“The Labyrinth of Ibn-Sina”). While this fits the scheduled November release date for the album, it’s somewhat surprising, because it’s only four weeks ago that Yoann said he was working on the first third of it. By the way, maybe take that title with a grain of salt still. Amazon now lists Spirou #54 for a 21. November release, under the title Le Groom de Snipper Alley (“The Snipper Alley Bellhop”). Curious, but we’ll know more soon enough…

Get ready for The Big Head!

Meanwhile, the other Spirou adventure nearing publication is actually finished. According to InediSpirou‘s maxibon, going off of information from Téhem’s facebook page, where he announced its completion on his end, the one-shot La Grosse tête (“The Big Head”) will be 62 pages (not 64 as previously estimated), and should be ready for (album?) publication sometime between this November and next April. As before, the main constraint is to not have it collide with Spirou #54. And there’s a new picture!

Excerpt from 'La grosse tête' (ill. Téhem, Makyo, Toldac; (c) Dupuis and the creators; picture from InediSpirou)

“Order and Harmony!”
Excerpt from ‘La Grosse tête.’

“The real Spirou” graphic novel

Thirdly, in an interview in Casemate #73, Yves Sente (Thorgal, Blake & Mortimer) discusses his upcoming projects. Among others, he’s working on an “unclassifiable” story, to be illustrated by Laurent Verron (Boule & Bill), about the person who inspired Rob-Vel to create Spirou. Sente got the idea for the story when reading Christelle & Bertrand Pissavy-Yvernault’s La Véritable histoire de Spirou, 1937–1946 (“The True History of Spirou: 1937–1946”), in which Rob-Vel describes something that happened to one of the cabin boys back when he was working as a steward on an ocean liner:

During one crossing on the ship Île-de-France, I entertained myself by keeping an eye on these young cabin boys, having to work at such a young age but never losing their upbeat attitude. One day, while playing hide-and-seek, one fell from the bridge down into the hold, and was dying when they brought him up. The poor kid, feeling that it was his fault, asked the purser for forgiveness and promised that he’d never do it again. The purser, moved to tears, took him in his arms, and that’s where he drew his last breath, mercifully freed from further suffering. Everyone was devastated by the accident, as you might imagine, and from that point on I drew closer to those brave boys, at the same time childish and prematurely grown-up. I got to know them and to respect them. I never forgot them, and when the magazine management asked me to create a character who was both amusing and likable, I wanted to pay tribute to the young boy who had died on the ship; to revive him in a way, so that his cheerfulness could bring joy to other boys in Belgium. (p. 54, originally from Moustique #14, 1939)

Cartoon from ocean liner 'Île-de-France' (ill. Bozz/Robert Velter; (c) the artist; image from 'Le Véritable histoire de Spirou, 1937-1946')

Cartoon with cabin boys, from the Île-de-France. By Rob-Vel (“Bozz”), ca. 1930.

Sente says he immediately asked himself, “Who was this kid? How did he die? I imagined his life. A story that would be at the same time a bit tough, sad, moving, and very realistic.” The resulting album will be a 72-page graphic novel, and he says Verron’s first few pages are amazing. Should be interesting!

Finally, it’s probably worth acknowledging that although Spirou Reporter came by many of these details independently, all the stories were previously reported by Le Petit Écho de Champignac.

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