Peeters and Magritte make The Guardian’s Best Graphic Novels of 2017

December 5th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

At The Guardian, Rachel Cooke names among her best graphic novels of the year two translations by yours truly: Magritte: This Is Not a Biography by Vincent Zabus and Thomas Campi, and The Smell of Starving Boys, by Frederik Peeters and Loo Hui Phang. Congratulations to my publisher, SelfMadeHero!

Cooke says:

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Too many graphic biographies are being published at the moment; the majority fail to make the most of the medium… Cleverer by far, however, is Vincent Zabus and Thomas Campi’s Magritte: This Is Not a Biography (SelfMadeHero £9.99), which comes at the surrealist painter’s life at a suitably odd tangent (when a man called Charles Singulier makes the whimsical decision to buy a bowler hat, he finds not only that he has unwittingly entered the realm of its former owner, Magritte, but that he will have to uncover all of the Belgian artist’s secrets if he’s to have any hope of getting out again).

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I also enjoyed The Smell of Starving Boys (SelfMadeHero £24.99) by Frederik Peeters and Loo Hui Phang, a stunning, lusciously produced western set in Texas, 1872 (with the civil war at an end, a geologist, a photographer and his assistant set out into Comanche country, where the wide open spaces induce in them a kind of horizontal vertigo that will have a dramatic impact on social convention).

Frederik Peeters makes Vulture’s December Comics List

December 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Peeters Phang Smell

Abraham Riesman includes The Smell of Starving Boys in his list of 8 Comics to Read in December at New York Magazine’s Vulture. He gets the roles of the writer-artist team reversed, but nobody’s perfect (and everybody’s a critic):

Against the backdrop of Loo Hui Phang’s magnificent vistas, Frederik Peeters’s story turns out to be far more than it initially seems. This queer, supernatural, deliciously sexy tome will be a delight for anyone who enjoys a little trip to the frontier.

The newfangled Western enjoys absolutely lavish production values—cloth binding and colors to make your eyes pop—from SelfMadeHero, which has been faithfully bringing a large part of Peeters’ oeuvre into English. And I’ve been lucky enough to translate it!

Laos-born Normandy native Loo Hui Phang, daughter of a Chinese father and a Vietnamese mother, penned the script for the latest work from Swiss comics star Frederik Peeters, his follow-up to his stellar, trippy SF tetralogy Aama. Peeters, for whom collaborations are rather are in his oeuvre, solicited a script from Phang; this is their first time working together. A noted writer and director, Phang has worked prolifically in comics. I appreciated her superhero take with artist Hugues Micol in Angoulême prizewinner Prestige de l’uniforme.

OUT NOW: Golden City, Vol. 7: The Lost Children

December 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The Lost Children, Volume 7 of Golden City, an all-ages series written by Daniel Pecqueur with art by Nicolas Malfin, is  now available as a digital exclusive from Delcourt at Comixology. This book kicks off the second arc of the series with new characters and new intrigues.

Mifa and the other orphans have finally realized the dream that was impossible for them: to live in Golden City. As for Banks, he reassumes his functions as president again. But their respite is only short-term…
The leaders of the city are now demanding Banks’ resignation, are planning to move against him if he refuses, and worse still, the kidnapping of Professor Seed doesn’t bode well for the inhabitants of the floating city. All factors leading to an unprecedented event in the history of Golden City.

OUT NOW: The Little Book of Knowledge: Heavy Metal

November 28th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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IDW’s Little Book of Knowledge series continues with Heavy Metal by Jacques de Pierpont and Hervé Bourhis. I’ve worked on the Bordeaux-based Bourhis before, jumping on BOOM! Studios’ Space Warped, a goofy Star Wars parody, with Issue 3.

I’ve got to be honest: never have I learned so fascinatingly much about something I never cared to know anything about. I even tried listening to metal while translating the book, a few songs here and there mentioned in the text… but soon abandoned that. Maybe you have to start young? I’d love to hear what American metalheads have to say about this book, which seems like a pretty fair international overview.

OUT NOW: Elenora Mandragora

November 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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Now that your turkey days are done, maybe you’re thinking about Christmas gifts for the little ones in your life? Well, look no further! May I recommend Elenora Mandragora: Daughter of Merlin, the first book in a whimsical, vibrant spin on the Merlin mythology by Séverine Gauthier and Thomas Labourot. I had a lot of fun translating this book, which reminded me a bit of the Disney classic Sword in the Stone.

Zeina Abirached’s I Remember Beirut USBBY Outstanding Pick!

November 19th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Beirut

The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)–”Building Bridges Through Children´s and Young Adult Books”–serves as the U.S. national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), which was founded to promote international understanding and good will through books for children and adolescents.

They’ve named Zeina Abirached’s graphic memoir I Remember Beirut, the US follow up to her Batchelder Honor book A Game for Swallows, as an Outstanding Pick!

Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows, returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories. Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk. With striking black-and-white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.

Congratulations, Zeina!

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OUT NOW: Arthus Trivium Vol. 2, The Third Magus

November 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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If you’ve ever wanted to see Nostradamus and the King of France fight off hellspawn… you’re welcome! The Renaissance meets the X-Files in this series by Raule, with art by Juan Luis Landa. Three agents trained by renowned sage and scholar Nostradamus travel the land, exposing hoaxes and solving occult crimes.

The Demon Zagan, Lord of All Things, and his undead minions have captured the young Charles IX, King of France, as well as Nostradamus and his family and are holding them hostage—but who let them into Nostradamus’ home? None other than his mentor, Scaliger, long believed dead. Consumed by envy for his former protégé, the scholar now serves Zagan, who seeks an orb created by the earliest magicians to defend the earth from the realm of the dead. It’s up to Nostradamus’ three young disciples, Arthus Trivium, Angelica Obscura, and Angulus Dante, to rescue their master from dire peril!

The Third Magus, volume two in this ongoing series, is now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

OUT NOW: The Smell of Starving Boys by Loo Hui Phang and Frederik Peeters

November 16th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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SelfMadeHero is pleased to announce the publication of THE SMELL OF STARVING BOYS by Loo Hui Phang and Frederik Peeters. Laos-born writer Loo Hui Phang pens an intense Western where old and new worlds collide, illustrated by award-winning Frederick Peeters (Blue Pills trans. Anjali Singh;  Pachyderme and the 4-book Aama series, trans. yours truly).

Texas 1872. The Civil War is over, and the entrepreneurial geologist Stingley sets out with disgraced photographer Forrest and mysterious young assistant Milton to document uncharted territories. Entering the hostile region of the native Comanches, they must face the constant threat of attack, but with social conventions disappearing, more intimate relationships develop between Forrest and Milton.

This is the sixth book of Peeters’ I’ve had the pleasure of translating–not counting the 4 as-yet unreleased volumes of Lupus, still forthcoming from Top Shelf–and his second in English from something other than his own script (the first was Sandcastle with Pierre Oscar-Levy, translated by Nora Mahony). Here, Peeters solicited a script from noted Laos-born comics writer Loo Hui Phang. I’m proud to be a continuing part of bringing this star Swiss creator into English.

OUT NOW: Tramp Vol. 2, Deadlock!

November 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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Up for a dose of classic ligne claire and adventure comics, Euro-style? Well, look no further! Welcome to the world of Tramp: maritime noir with exotic locales, insurance intrigue, shipowner skullduggery, and the titular steamer, a rusty bucket on trade routes of the mid-20th century. Jean-Charles Kraehn’s meticulous research is backed up by Patrick Jusseaume’s art in this loving ‘90s tribute to the long-running serials from the heyday of bande-dessinée.

With his ship newly repaired and his journey underway, first-time captain Yann Calec is plying the tramp routes from South Africa to South America. Still reeling from his lover Esther’s violent death, he is plagued by nightmares and the sneering insubordination of his second-in-command, René Floss. But remembered clues, strange events, and some vital information from a beautiful stowaway—a political refugee—will lead him down a trail revealing the full extent of De Trichère’s sinister plans to scuttle the Belle Hélène. Will Calec manage to escape the shipowner’s global web of co-conspirators?

The ongoing series continues with Deadlock, now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

OUT NOW: The Little Book of Knowledge: Tattoos

November 8th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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IDW has launched a new line of nonfiction French comics, The Little Book of Knowledge, and this first entry, Tattoos, just hit stores, with informative words by Jerôme Pierrat, editor-in-chief of Tatouage magazine, and lovely, free-flowing art by the largely self-taught Alfred, a very deserving Angouleme Grand Prize winner for Come Prima, which we covered (among other titles) in August 2016 at The Comics Alternative’s Eurocomics podcast.

I think this is a salutary addition to the Eurocomics scene in the U.S., broadening our idea of what’s available from France, what comics can do and are doing abroad. Till now, the scene’s been dominated by the indie cartooning legacy of Persepolis, with some branching into more commercial series. But non-memoir, topical nonfiction comics are gaining ground in France as an effective way to deliver information, as is long-form comics reportage, in fascinating, lushly produced magazines like XXI and La revue dessinee. So it’s terrific to see awareness of that brought stateside.

Check out some preview pages at 13th Dimension. At Rogues Portal, Anelise Farris reviews The Little Book of Knowledge: Tattoos, concluding:

This is not by any means a light read. However, although the writing is dense at times, the clean art and abundant use of white space helps to alleviate some of the heaviness [...] Verdict: Check it out. The Little Book of Knowledge: Tattoos is… a history of tattooing as an art form. Consequently, this comic will most likely appeal to art historians, cultural studies scholars, and tattoo enthusiasts who don’t mind dry, though nicely illustrated, nonfiction. I also think that this book would be useful in a classroom setting—like a specialized anthropology or art course.