Thursday, 22 October 2009

When You HAVE to Go by the Art Alone

A collection of covers from various (mostly) French-language comic albums (bande dessinée) that remain--as far as I know--untranslated. In almost every case I'm intrigued by the cover art, and want to know more. Comics artists have this in their favour: they almost always get to design the covers for their own books (although sometimes the publishers then do horrible things with logos or typography).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It's only looking at them now, as I write this post, that I realise how almost every one of them makes use of a very limited palette, either various shades of one colour, or else two bold and opposing colours. I have no idea what most of these are about, but if some publisher wants to render any of them into English, I'd be more than happy to give them my money.

11 comments:

Thomas said...

These are great. I would have a hard time picking a .favorite

JRSM said...

Same here! I just wish I could read them.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

These covers are all really fantastic. I love French and Italian Comics-- they know how to create real mastery in illustration and the art is really spectacular. It's like a little bit of genius on every newsstand.

Jean Giraud is my favorite French comic book artist--in France, Comic book art is considered REAL art.

JRSM said...

The stigma that exists for English-language comics just isn't there, is it? And the public has an awareness of comics that extends beyond superhero shenanigans.

George said...

'Blue Pills' at least is available in English, as are a pair of Marc-Antoine Mathieu books, though not the ones you've highlighted.

avisannschild said...

Hey, thanks for these! I've just gotten into reading comics/graphic novels and since I live in Quebec, all the ones I thought looked interesting are available at my library. I guess it makes it a bit hard to review them, though, if they're not available in English...

JRSM said...

George: Thank you! I will buy it today.

Avisannschild: I am deeply envious!

Bob Fingerman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Fingerman said...

Urgh. I needed to edit my comment.

Okay, take two:

As a longtime collector of BD, I can say that even if you don't read French (which I don't, really), many of the books are still a joy (and often the few English translations that get released are inferior in design and production value to the originals, especially in the area of lettering; many of the artist still hand letter their work and usually in translation their work is replaced by computer fonts).

The current series, Inside Moebius, by my all-time art hero, Jean "Moebius" Giraud (currently five volumes), boasts beautiful art and book design (and hand-lettering).

JRSM said...

I _am_ tempted to buy some of these, and treating them as art books. I was looking through a copy of 'Mise en bouche', and the cartooning was expressive enough to tell you what was going on, even without knowing what any of the text said--though obviously I was missing a lot.

It's a good point about the original lettering suiting the work. A recent read, 'Miss Don't Touch Me', was like that--while I appreciated the chance to read it in English, you could see the problems where the translated text didn't fir the word balloons any longer, and cartoony TrueType fonts never seem as appealing as the hand-drawn lettering you describe.

I just went to have a look at some pics of the 'Inside Moebius' books, and they're BEAUTIFUL!

Deb said...

I don't read comic books and my French ends with one verse of Frere Jacques, but these covers are so gorgeous, I'd love to have copies enlarged and framed.