The coming months offer a number of new releases for Spirou fans in many different languages. The French publications are numerous enough to require their own list. Here I’ve tried to compile a list of releases in other languages (excluding Dutch) that is as complete as possible; additions and corrections are more than welcome!
Still catching up on some older news… In March, Forlaget Zoom (a Danish publisher) announced that they would no longer publish the collected edition of Spirou in Danish. This leaves Danish (and other Scandinavian) readers with only two of the three Fournier volumes available, and to top it off, Zoom didn’t release them in order, so the volume missing is the one in the middle:
Egmont published the Franquin volumes of the collected edition (translations of the French Intégrale series) across Scandinavia, but did not continue the series beyond that classic run. When Zoom picked up the rights to continue the collected edition, the Danish edition became the only way for Scandinavians to follow the series in a language most can read. (However, all the individual albums have previously been published in all the Scandinavian languages.)
While Zoom published two volumes of the collected edition, and still publishes Gaston, Gastoon, and Le Petit Spirou, the Danish album publication of Spirou is by another publisher, Cobolt. Unfortunately, Cobolt has denied any intention of picking up the book series, arguing that the Danish market is too limited for this kind of publication.
So Scandinavian fans are, at least for the time being, out of luck. On the brighter side, Cobolt has announced a number of other Spirou-related publications for this and next year. But that’s a subject for another post…
To coincide with the big Spirou anniversary on Sunday, the premier French-language fan site, InediSpirou, relaunched a section of the site that had been down for maintenance a long time.
The InediSpirou Library is a new and improved (?) version of a remarkable archive, with entries for practically any Spirou-related publication ever, and original articles. Probably the most interesting part, however, is a collection of every Spirou story that has not been collected in album or book form (in French), some that were never published at all, and a large number of sketches and illustrations. For the relaunch of the collection, these have been rescanned in higher resolution and better quality.
In celebration of the anniversary of Journal de Spirou, as well as Spirou himself, here’s the opening of one of the all-time funniest Spirou adventures, Franquin’s Bravo les Brothers (1965), which takes place at the office of the magazine:
(Personal scanlation. You’d better clap, or the ape gets angry!)
The adventures of Spirou began seventy-five years ago today!
(Scanlation courtesy of houbanaut on Scans Daily.)
As promised in the previous post, here are some samples from the anniversary issue of the Journal de Spirou:
This week (Sunday, to be precise) is Spirou’s 75th “birthday,” and the magazine is celebrating with a double (100-page) anniversary issue almost entirely devoted to the character. We get short stories by nearly every living Spirou creator: Yoann & Vehlmann, Tarrin, Le Gall, Morvan & Munuera, a short strip by Bravo, Parme (with Véronique Dreher), Trondheim (with Hugo Piette), and Yann & Schwartz. Even Fournier contributes a short strip. The only ones missing seem to be Tome & Janry and Nic & Cauvin.
In addition there are tributes and pastiches by a bunch of other comic artists – too many to mention them all, but it might be worth highlighting Frank (Frank Pé), since he is working on a One Shot album with Zidrou. In general, the stories are quite short, parodic and “meta.” With the possible exception of the Yoann & Vehlmann story, they’re all firmly non-canon. Some gags work better than others, but few of them would seem to be “must-reads” for any Spirou fan. Still, it’s good fun, and I’ll post a gallery of some notable bits later on.
Sprint: På Skyggesiden av Z, the Norwegian edition of La face cachée du Z (Spirou #52, by Yoann and Vehlmann), has been nominated for a 2013 SPROING Award for “Best Translated Publication” (published in 2012). The SPROING Award is the main Norwegian comics award, awarded annually by Norsk Tegneserieforum (NTF, “Norwegian Comics Forum”) since 1987 in the categories “Best Norwegian Publication” and “Best Translated Publication,” and more recently also “Best Debut” and an “Open Category.” Previous winners of the award in this category include Calvin & Hobbes (Watterson 1988), Bone (Smith 1998, 2000) and Persepolis (Satrapi 2005).
The other nominees are:
- Aya fra Yopougon (Aya) by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie (France / Ivory Coast)
- Skyttergravskrigen (It Was the War of the Trenches) by Jacques Tardi (France)
- Anyas Spøkelse (Anya’s Ghost) by Vera Brosgol (Russia / US)
- The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (US)
Voting by members of NTF opens 19 April; no date has been set for the actual award.
About a year ago, Fantagraphics announced that they would publish Franquin’s Last Laugh, a translation of Franquin’s classic Idées Noires. Much darker (both in tone and visually) than the Spirou and Gaston comics he became famous for, the often morbid “black thoughts” show another side of the master’s talents and personality, expressing his bitterness and existential despair – but also his pitch black sense of humor – as he struggled with clinical depression.
The book was originally set to ship this March, but the release date has been pushed back, and Amazon currently lists it for publication in July (though Fantagraphics claim it’ll ship in June). The delay is quite possibly related to the fact that Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson, the editor and translator of the book, has been diagnosed with lung cancer and stepped back from his job at the company.
Thompson has been a huge champion of European comics in English, and among many other achievements he translated the first English edition of a Spirou album, Fantasy Flight Publishing’s Z is for Zorglub. I wish him a speedy recovery and good health.