Apr 222013

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!)

Apr 172013

Journal de Spirou 3914 cover (ill. Dupuis, Yoann)

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.

Apr 162013

Sprint: På Skyggesiden av Z (Spirou #52 cover; ill. Egmont, Yoann)

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:

Voting by members of NTF opens 19 April; no date has been set for the actual award.

(From the SPROING Award official site via Serienett, in Norwegian.)

Apr 162013

Franquin's Last Laugh (ill. Fantagraphics, Franquin)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. Continue reading »

Apr 152013

There’s been a lot of things going on in Spirou world lately, so a lot of these first few posts will be catching up. I’ll start off with a belated announcement:

Spirou 75 Years! (ill. Dupuis)

Journal de Spirou 3911 cover (ill. Dupuis, Boucq)Obviously, the big thing is that this year is the 75th anniversary of Spirou as a character, comic and magazine. Dupuis (the publisher) is making a big deal out of it, and have declared 2013 the “Year of the Bellhop” (l’année groom). This involves a bunch of special publications, which I’ll cover in a later post, as well as special events throughout Belgium and France, TV shows and documentaries, and a new digital edition of the magazine, called Spirou Z.

One of the cooler concepts for the celebrations is the Spirou Tour, with a program of events that (inspired by the album Z is for Zorglub) forms a big S across Belgium, France and Switzerland. It’s like a big book signing tour for the whole magazine, with lots of different artists visiting. Each event is accompanied by a special issue of the magazine devoted to that town. The latest one was in Lille on 30 March. I’ll try to cover one of these events later this year.

Spirou Tour Map (ill. Dupuis)