Jazz Maynard: European comics at their finest

Originally published at: Jazz Maynard: European comics at their finest | Boing Boing


but not maynard ferguson?


The french comic book scene is amazing. I often wonder why it’s so lively compared to the US [1] (my pet theory is that they’re “subsidized” by the various social and cultural policies in France).

A few of them are translated and imported to the US, but in general they can’t seem to make much headway here. In fact, I have to recognize that the US “alternate” comic book scene has quite the excellent variety… just overshadowed by the superhero genre, and imported french comic books have trouble emerging above the fray and sharing that smaller piece of the pie.

In any case, here’s some recommendations from my collection:

  • Siegfried [2]
  • Universal War 1/2 (though series 2 is unfinished)
  • Zombillenium
  • Horologiom
  • Le Troisieme Testament (“The Third Testament”) [2]
  • Okko
  • Blacksad (though this one did get attention here)

And on the more pulpy side (I love these because french sci-fi comics are excellent, in a way that US sci-fi comics aren’t, and french sci-fi books aren’t):

  • Sillage
  • Carmen McCallum
  • Travis

If you read nothing else, read Siegfried, which is a gorgeous retelling of part of Wagner’s Ring Trilogy.

[1] some of the more famous authors like Goscinny (writer of Asterix & Lucky Luke among other things), went to the US to make it big, but actually came back to France where they really made it
[2] really anything drawn by Alex Alice is amazing


If you’re tired of the macho super heroism of American comics, why not try macho Euro crime/action comics? Feels like a bit of a lateral move.

I’d look at the huge variety of American comics that aren’t superhero - Eleanor Davis, Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Gene Yang etc. As for Euro comics, I’d lean more toward the visual experimentation and inventive storytelling of, say, Brecht Evens.

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I have always preferred european comics as a kid and teen, as the were grittier, funnier and drawings varied wildly between artists and genres.
As a teenager i loved italian dylan dog, alan ford and martin mystere, italy really has a lot of comic art to offer, unfortunately most of it is not translated. Most notable hugo pratt - unparalleled talent when it comes to drawings. Besides italians, the french and belgians have loads of notable artists and genres.


Dylan Dog is no joke.

I just recently got into it.

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Yeah, reading that in the 80s was gripping, its unfortunate nobody bothered to translate their comics into english. -) I still have a few editions kicking about the house.
Definitely also try Martin Mystere if you can find it in english, another great sci fi series not as raw as dylan dog. It was always an interesting read as the story carried lots of real world historical facts and generally relied on history

I’d say hit 'em with this –

– though come to think of it, there are superhero characters. But also mechanics, artists, strippers, wrestlers, porn stars, musicians, stigmatics…


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