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Posts Tagged ‘Belgian Comics’

I’m a huge fan of Franco-Belgian comics which are called Bande Dessinées. I’ve wanted to read this Bande Dessinée called ‘The Old Geezers‘ (‘Les Vieux Fourneaux‘) for a while. I read the first part of this series today.

Three old friends meet. The occasion is sad because the wife of one of them has just passed.  They catch up and reminisce about old times and the grown-up pregnant granddaughter of the grieving husband also joins in the conversation. The departed wife has left behind a letter which contains a secret. The husband is livid with anger after he reads it and takes a gun and rushes away somewhere. The other two friends and the granddaughter follow to prevent him from doing something bad. What follows is an amazing story of friendship, a commentary on today’s world, some cool banter, many hilarious scenes. I laughed through most of the book. The three old geezers have a devil-may-care attitude and are hilarious and adorable. The granddaughter is a kick-ass person, and one scene in which she offers her thoughts on the current situation in the world is amazing and inspiring to read. It was one of my favourite scenes in the book.

I loved this first part of ‘The Old Geezers’ (‘Les Vieux Fourneaux’). It is definitely one of my favourite comics discoveries this year. Can’t wait to read the next part. Am sharing the first few pages  so that you can get a feel for the story and the artwork.

Have you read ‘The Old Geezers’ (‘Les Vieux Fourneaux’)? What do you think about it?

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I wanted to read some comics and so picked this SODA series. There are 13 books in this series. The first came out in 1986 and the most recent one came out in 2015. It is a Belgian comics series and it was originally published in French.

Solomon David (SODA of the title) is a detective with the NYPD (New York Police Department). He lives with his old mother who has a weak heart. So David makes his mother believe that he is actually a priest 😊 So everyday morning, he leaves home in priest’s attire and comes back home in the same way. In between he is a police officer who catches criminals and sometimes has to shoot them down. His mom doesn’t know anything about this though 😊

I read three volumes of SODA’s adventures. They were Tuez en paix (Kill in Peace / You are at Peace) (Volume 8), Et Deliveré-Nous Du Mal (And Deliver Us From Evil) (Volume 9), and Lève-toi et meurs (Stand Up and Die) (Volume 7). I enjoyed reading them all. The artwork was charming in comic style, and the relationship between SODA and his mother makes us smile. The bad guys all make us laugh. Though the stories are all serious, there is an underlying humour throughout, which makes us smile. Every story starts with a spectacular scene, and typically there is a surprise in the end. My favourite opening scene was from Tuez en paix – it is cool and stylish and spectacular. My favourite story was Et Deliveré-Nous Du Mal. In this story SODA goes with his mom to his hometown in Arizona for a short visit and the consequences of that are hilarious. The ending of the story was complex and not black-and-white and that made me like the story even more.

I loved these three volumes of SODA’s adventures. Hoping to read more.

Sharing the first three pages of Tuez en paix, which has that spectacular opening scene. It is in English. Hope you like it.

Have you read the SODA series? Do you like it?

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I have wanted to read ‘Jeremiah‘ ever since I discovered it, because it was written and illustrated by one of my favourite Belgian artists, Hermann. I finally got around to reading the first omnibus volume.

The volume I read had the first three comics in the series. The story is set in America, in a post-apocalyptical world, which has resulted probably because of a nuclear war. It looks like people are back in the nineteenth century. Jeremiah is a young man who lives in a village, who is noble, innocent and naive. He meets Kurdy, who is streetsmart and who is aware of the ways of the world. The stories follow the adventures of these two as they get entangled into one event after another. Hermann said in an interview that he worked on many Westerns before he created ‘Jeremiah’ and we can see that influence here, because the story is filled with lots of Western elements.

There is good news and bad news. The good news first. The main characters are interesting and well-developed. The dialogue is interesting and humorous. The places where the events of the story happen have been depicted so beautifully. And the most important thing, of course. The artwork. Hermann has a very distinctive style, and that is the reason I love his art. That distinctive style, the vintage Hermann artwork is unfurled in all its glory here. It is beautiful and exquisite. The colours are vivid and spectacular. It is a pleasure to look at every panel. I loved it.

Now the bad news. I found all the stories mostly middling. They started off well and were fascinating till around one-third of the way but after that they meandered away into some kind complexity which was hard to understand, because the story started with so much promise. In the first story, the villain was a cartoonish character which was disappointing. In the third story, I felt that the story didn’t fit into the spirit of the series and at some point the story became too complex for its own good. I liked the second story the best – it was like an old-fashioned Western.

I am hoping that the plot will improve as we venture deeper into the series. I have the second volume of this series too, and I hope to read it sometime soon.

I am sharing some pages of the book so that you can get a feel for its artwork.

Have you read the ‘Jeremiah‘ series? What do you think about it? Do you like Belgian comics?

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I read a little bit of ‘The Lost Dutchman’s Mine’ by Jean-Michel Charlier and Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud many years back. I remember liking it very much, but it was very long compared to the other comics I used to read – the typical comic that I read at that time was between 32 and 62 pages long, while this one was around 100 pages long – and so I got distracted halfway through and never got around to finishing it. I finally picked it up again today, and finished reading it in one sitting.

The Lost Dutchman’s Mine‘ is one of the famous stories in the Blueberry series. In this story Blueberry is temporarily stationed in a town in Arizona to help in upholding the law. His friend and assistant, the old man Jimmy, is his deputy. There is a brawl in the bar and two people are trying to kill each other. Blueberry stops the fight, and a rrests one of the people involved. The fight seems to be about a goldmine in the land of Apaches that this man has discovered. No one believes this man, but then one thing leads to another, strange men come to the town looking for this man, and before long, both the good guys and the bad are on their way to this mythical goldmine filled with secret treasure. What happens after that forms the rest of the story.

The Lost Dutchman’s Mine‘ is an old-fashioned Western. There is a small town, there is the desert, there is the mountain, there is a bar brawl, there are horse-riders-chasing scenes, there are Apaches, there is secret treasure – all the enjoyable elements of a classic Western are present. It is intricately plotted, the action moves at a beautiful pace, there are twists and turns and there is a surprising revelation at the end. The artwork by Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud is very interesting and unique and received a lot of acclaim when this book and the Blueberry series first came out, because of its realistic portrayal of the places and characters.

I enjoyed reading ‘The Lost Dutchman’s Mine‘. I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped to – I really loved the first part when I read it the first time years back but it didn’t have the same impact on me now – but I still enjoyed reading it. I am glad I finally read it and I got to finish the book. Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud’s artwork is an acquired taste – my favourite Belgian comic artists are William Vance and Hermann – but hopefully one day I’ll be able to appreciate it better.

I am sharing some of the pages of the book so that you can get a feel for the story and the artwork. If you want to read the book, you can find it here.

Have you read ‘The Lost Dutchman’s Mine‘? What do you think about it?

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