Some big news about upcoming one-shots, several books about Franquin in preparation, Vito will return in English, and more…
Longest one-shot ever
Issue #4003 of the Journal brought news of several upcoming Spirou albums. First, a statement from Émile Bravo: “I’m working on the sequel to Journal d’un ingénu. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it unless I found a good idea for the story… But I think I may have done so! Like a bear, I’ve gone to lair somewhere in the Pyrenees, to realize a Spirou adventure that is very ambitious in length (almost 250 pages) and takes place during WWII under the occupation. It will tell how and why Spirou became the children’s hero…”
Yeah, that’s right: 250 pages! That’s about four times as long as the Journal d’un ingénu (and about the length of one collected-edition volume), so we’re looking at quite the epic tale here. We’ll have to wait to see how it will be presented; earlier there was talk of splitting it into two albums, but that’s when it was only supposed to be around 160 pages total. Not to mention that it would take about a year just to serialize it in the magazine, at the normal rate. Lots of open questions, in other words, but how exciting!
Schwartz schlepps to Africa
There’s also this update from Olivier Schwartz on Le Maître des hosties noires (“Master of the Black Hosts”): “I’m inking the 16th page of the sequel to La Femme léopard (“The Leopard Woman”). I like to ink my pages as I go along, because if I do 46 of them all in one go, I feel like I don’t know how to draw any more! This album, which takes place in Congo, requires a lot of research. For example, I’ve been tearing my hair out over a big panel with a uranium mine, a Frank Llloyd Wright-style villa, some 1950s heavy machinery and the robot-gorillas!”
Tarrin take two
The magazine also announces another one-shot by Tarrin, with a “very amusing” script by Fred Neidhardt that will take us to Russia. Clearly the editors have completely given up on the “one-shot” concept. Spirou Reporter was more excited about his “Heroic Youth of Fantasio” series than about his first one-shot, Le Tombeau des Champignac (“The Tomb of the Champignacs”), but will be interested to see where this goes.
Other than that, the albums by Zidrou and Hardy and (Soumaya) and Zidrou and Frank (“The Light from Borneo”; formerly L’Okapi blanc) are still in progress, with some twenty pages of the latter completed. Others are also under development, but haven’t got as far yet.
There will be gaffe
Numa Sadoul, the author of Et Franquin créa la gaffe (“And Franquin Created the Blunder”), has announced on Facebook (as repeated on the BDGest forum) that all is now set for a new edition of this classic 1986 volume. Based on 34 hours of interviews with André Franquin, the original book thoroughly covers his career up to that point, discussing each of his albums in detail. The new edition will bring it up to date with the last years of his life, and will add a great deal more visual material (with the help of Franquin’s daughter, Isabelle Franquin), so that “every panel and drawing” mentioned in the text will be presented. The new edition also has a new title, Et Gaston sema la gaffe – Entretiens avec André Franquin (“And Gaston Sowed the Seeds of the Blunder: Interviews with André Franquin”). It is expected for publication in Q3 2015.
Intégrale 16 in May
The 16th volume of the intégrale collected edition has a cover and release date. Amazon lists it for publication on 7. May (a June release had previously been indicated). It will contain the rest of Tome & Janry’s run, with the cover taken from Machine qui rêve (“Machine That Dreams”).
Franquin as designer
Franquin et le design (“Franquin and the Design”), a book by art historian Augustin David that has been pushed back repeatedly (it was originally supposed to come out June 2013), is back on Dupuis’ publication schedule, now set for release in March. The publisher’s blurb says:
The works of Franquin have been the object of numerous studies and critical analyses. What is less well known is his taste for design, which nevertheless spans his graphical universe. From Spirou and Fantasio’s house to the offices of Dupuis Publishing in Gaston, Franquin pays particular attention to the backgrounds, which he furnishes with couches and lamps inspired by the iconic designers of the era, from Eames to Paulin through Panton, Aarnio and many others. Passionate about design, he in fact owned a number of modern objects and furniture pieces which inspired him very directly for the backgrounds of his albums.
Taking this point of view as its starting point in order to explore Franquin’s work, this book offers an unprecedented stylistic tour of the master’s universe. Augustin David invites us to rediscover with him the background details in series shaped by their time, such as Spirou & Fantasio or Gaston. The techniques and inventiveness of the designers are matched by Franquin’s masterful drawings, which were able to recreate, in comic form, the tone and aesthetics of the era. Along with pages from Franquin’s albums, this beautiful books presents rare and uncollected illustrations, exploratory sketches and pencils, as well as photographs from the Franquin family archives.
I’ve previously expressed some skepticism about the premise of the book, since much of the iconic modernist design in Franquin’s albums was drawn by assistants. For example, Spirou and Fantasio’s house was apparently created by Will in Les Pirates du silence (Spirou #10, “The Pirates of Silence”). According to Jidéhem in the patrimonie edition of La Peur au bout de fil (“Fear at the End of the Wire”), Franquin personally preferred the small-town, old-fashioned architecture seen in Champignac: “He thought that those villages (in Brabant, where he collected reference photos) had a soul, with their charming little corner cafés. Apart from his architectural forays with Willy, Franquin liked villages with atmosphere. He didn’t particularly care for what I was doing at the start of Z comme Zorglub, with that modern street inspired by the old Avenue des Nations in Brussels. He found it cold.”
But perhaps Augustin David has the documentation to prove his thesis, which might prove interesting.
Vito is coming
I’ve finally received my copy of Cinebook’s The Rhinoceros’ Horn (Spirou #6, La Corne de rhinocéros). On the “Coming Soon” page in the back, we see that the next album on the cards is Tome & Janry’s Vito la déveine (Spirou 43), as Tough Luck Vito. (Personally I always thought the French title was rather boring, and I’ve previously suggested “Spirou Sleeps with the Fishes” as a suitable alternative. Guess not.) No word on publication date; it’s not yet listed on the Cinebook website.