The big news of this update is the announcement of the publication dates for the next two one-shots. Also, no news is good(ish) news from Fournier, Yoann & Vehlmann forever and ever, Finland and Spain get new releases of old material, and a couple of recent publications hold up… Updated: And news on one more one-shot! Updated 2: … and a new edition of Spirou sous le manteau!
One, two, three-shot!
Le Petit Écho de Champignac reports, based on unnamed sources, that the next album after Yoann & Vehlmann’s upcoming one (scheduled for March) will be Fantasio quitte la maison (“Fantasio Moves Out”) by Benoît Feroumont in June 2016. It will be followed by La Lumière de Bornéo (“The Light from Borneo”) by Frank Pé & Zidrou in September 2016. So that’s three highly-awaited Spirou albums in quick succession: In fact, three full albums in less than a year is completely unprecedented in the history of the series, as far as I can tell. 2016 should be a big year for Spirou fans!
Update: Hardy boy
Not to be left out, Marc Hardy gives an update on his one-shot (Soumaya, also with Zidrou) in next week’s issue of the Journal (#4049). Most of the information repeats what we already learned in the ActuaBD interview earlier this year, but we do get a couple of new details:
Interviewer: So your Spirou will be realistic, then?
Hardy: Let’s say that readers will discover Spirou as they’ve never seen him before, with enemies and concerns inspired by today’s world. I won’t tell you anything more: the album is not yet half-finished. But … [Zidrou] wrote me the kind of story I was hoping for, with more adventure than humor.
Hardy is currently at work on the album, but no release date is indicated. The article also includes a couple of pictures, including the one on the left with style tests from the earlier, abandoned attempts, and a picture in what is apparently the final album style:
Update: Surprise under the counter
Fans just found out that Dupuis is releasing a new edition of Spirou sous le manteau (“Spirou Under the Counter”) this Friday. This book of illustrations by Al Severin, originally published in 2013, serves as an imaginary WWII “underground edition” of the Journal during the German occupation. The new edition is said to include some fifteen new images, and the page count is given variously as 72 or 80 pages compared to 46 in the original. (Some of the new pages may have been included in the Sous le manteau portfolio, a much more expensive affair.)
Fournier on hold
Also according to Le Petit Écho de Champignac, Fournier has indicated that the previously discussed plans to redraw some pages from L’Ankou (Spirou & Fantasio #27, “The Ankou” or “Harbinger of Death”) for a special edition of the album remain on the planning stage. Which is to say that the idea has not been abandoned, at least!
Yoann & Vehlmann, extended
The Spirou duo did an audio interview with 9ème Art.fr at the Utopiales 2015 science fiction festival in their home town, Nantes. While I have a hard time following the spoken discussion, it’s clear from comments posted in various places that they discussed their philosophy for the series (“We don’t want to make a ‘serious’ Spirou. We want to stay mainstream. We’re ambitious, but don’t want to do it in a way so that the ambition shows [in the work].”) Apparently, they also announced that they have extended their contract with Dupuis for another five years. Yoann has mentioned having extended the contract several times in the past, so it’s not clear how much this adds to what they were already committed to. But clearly they are in for the long term.
Tome & Janry en español
Dibbuks have just put out vol. 13 of the Spirou & Fantasio intégrale collected edition (the first Tome & Janry volume, 1981–1983) in Spanish. While the reception overall seems to be very positive, Spanish fans have questioned the decision to print some of the shorter stories in facsimile (scans of the original magazine publications), particularly since these stories are available in pristine form in La jeunesse de Spirou (Spirou & Fantasio #38, “Spirou’s Childhood”). Of course, Dibbuks are merely following the French edition, where this seems to have been a deliberate editorial choice by Dupuis; a number of French fans have made similar complaints.
Fournier’s first finally in Finland
On 18. November, The Finnish branch of Egmont will publish Fournier’s first Spirou album, Le Faiseur d’or (Spirou & Fantasio #20, “The Gold Maker”), from 1970. The Finnish title is Kullantekijät. The timing is good (or as good as a 45-year delay can be), since this album features the last appearance of the Marsupilami in the series before its return in the upcoming La Colère du Marsupilami (Spirou & Fantasio #55, “Wrath of the Marsupilami”) by Yoann & Vehlmann.
Spirou Reporter Recommends
Finally, Spirou Reporter has had a chance to check out two of the latest publications from Dupuis: the Jijé intégrale and the 50/60 (Niffle) edition of QRN sur Bretzelburg (Spirou & Fantasio #18, “QRN Over Bretzelburg”), the latter of which we’ve apparently neglected to mention before, expecting it to be more or less redundant. In fact, both books are very attractive.
The Jijé book features all of Jijé’s Spirou comics as they were originally published in the Journal, in clean, restored facsimile format. Faded colors and yellowing paper have been adjusted for, so that it looks (for the most part) like a fresh print from those original plates, not a mere “photo” of an old magazine. Unlike the facsimiles in Tout Jijé and the German Spirou Spezial albums, only the comic panels themselves are included, not the magazine logo or other elements of each page. This sometimes leaves part of the page strangely empty. The book also features a wealth of other illustrations, and a substantial introduction by Christelle and Bertrand Pissavy-Yvernault (CBPY).
With this book, the entirety of the comic’s history is now available in print in fine, convenient volumes. Presumably, if the rumored new CBPY Franquin intégrale happens, it will be in the same format as the Rob-Vel and Jijé books, with the comics presented in their original magazine versions. (There are a number of differences between the magazine and album versions of some adventures, besides the page breaks, so this would offer something of interest to collectors.)
QRN sur Bretzelburg is one adventure that differs in its magazine and album versions, and the new book in the 50/60 series (under the Niffle imprint) offers a handsome presentation of the original magazine version, complete with pages that were cut from the album. Split into half-pages (two strips per page), the comic is presented in an oversize format that matches or comes close to the dimensions of Franquin’s actual art (the size seems to match the reproductions in the Version Originale books). The pages are in black and white, with only the ink lines – unlike in the VO editions, not as a facsimile of Franquin’s raw art pages, but in print form, taken from new or restored print sheets that provide more detail and cleaner lines than in previous editions.
To sum up: the art looks fantastic. The book is also annotated by Hugues Dayez, with a short blurb on each page. Most of these are probably of limited interest to fans, covering well-trod ground, and the format doesn’t allow for e.g. illustrative photos or longer articles on any one topic, so it feels pretty rote. The book is also missing any other supplements, like the title bands that ran on top of each installment, or the recap from when the story was resumed after a 15-month interlude. In other words, this is not a bells-and-whistles edition, but at a relatively modest price it’s a great way to appreciate Franquin’s art.