Who hasn’t? You rummage in a bookstore, and a work catches your eye that appeals to you and whose creator is unknown to you. Igort – short for Igor Tuver – an Italian comic artist born in Sardinia, was responsible for Japanese Notebooks: A Journey to the Empire of Signs. In it, the artist documented his years in Tokyo, where he has been drawing very popular mangas for various publishers since the 1990s.
And Igort’s style is versatile, as you can see in his Japanese notebooks. Half comic, half narrative, he guides us through his personal experience with his longer and shorter stays in Japan, and introduces us to Japanese history, stories and special features. He changes his drawing styles to match the respective narrative level.
For some time now, the French publishing house Glénat has been publishing a new series of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comic albums that stand out in their quality. After wonderfully drawn volumes like Horrifikland or Mickey and the Lost Ocean, Duckenstein (English: Disney’s Frankenstein) is now coming out.
As can be seen from the title and cover picture, it is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of fictional author Mary Shelduck follows Shelley’s plot very closely, with slight adaptations that make it less gloomy and lighter for a younger readership. Of course, all the well-known characters appear, such as Uncle Scrooge, Gladstone Gander, Daisy Duck, and the Donald Ducks nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Donald Duck himself Victor von Duckenstein. The plot itself is set partly in Ingolstadt and partly all over the world.
A young girl with a rare gift makes one cut after the other to a priest to bleed him as painfully as possible. This is the introduction to a story by the bustling French scenarist Christophe Arleston and skilfully staged by Adrien Floch.
What begins with amazing brutality at the hands of the young Sangre has a history that goes back years. Her parents, who were wine merchants, were massacred by the Dark Skimmers, along with their caravan, in the fantastic world. The Skimmers use flying dragon creatures to attack their victims, slaughter them with magic and traditional weapons, and steal their belongings.
To impregnate the concubine of the father, to be banned from the court, a lot of beautiful women and larded with poetry. That sounded a thousand years ago as an excellent ingredient for a captivating material, and a thousand years later it still is.
I am talking about The Tale of Genji, the first novel ever about a fictitious prince, which was invented at the Japanese imperial court around the year 1000 by the lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 978-1014).
London in the 19th century must have been a cesspool of sin, where murderers and manslayers and other dark criminals must have met. At least that’s what the crime literature of the time tries telling us.
But luckily, the city of London accommodates the impersonation of the bad boys’ nightmare, and this is well known to us. Sherlock Holmes with his sharp logic and his somewhat simple-minded sidekick Watson – a doctor, no less – put a stop to the scoundrels in many stories.
No wonder that more than 130 years after the first appearance of this duo, penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the stories are still fascinating audiences worldwide and produce new interpretations. The comic album In Sherlock Holmes’ Mind (original title: Dans la tête de Sherlock Holmes) introduces the reader to the character in a different way. We can literally see the thought processes of Holmes in his head and how he analyzes and solves the Case of the scandalous ticket on the basis of the evidence.
The Orient and Dark Russia come together in this delightful comic album about the aging carpet dealer Fedor, who travels through the vastness of a country that modern times have not stopped at. The modern age has moved into homes in the form of parquet and wooden floors – a development that is slowly making carpets that protect against the cold of stone or clay floors obsolete.
But Fedor is even more worried: he feels his age and is worried that he has no successor for his profession. Then young Danil runs in front of his sleigh while fleeing from the henchmen of the boyarNazar Alymoff. Because he has killed the ruler’s favorite greyhound, the death penalty is awaiting him. Fedor reacts instinctively, prepares a flying carpet and escapes with Danil – leaving his other carpets behind.
One would hardly like to believe it, but it was to take 150 years until religious texts or pamphlets were finally replaced by secular printed matter in the size of the edition. Since the invention of letterpress printing by Johannes Gutenberg, the Bible and Martin Luther’s pamphlets have been among the best sellers. Luther was so popular that at that time a third of all printed matter was written by him.
At the beginning of the 17th century, a new type of writing began to establish itself, namely the novel. The first fictional bestseller in printed book history was Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. The sad hero of the story, with his struggle against the windmills and his faithful servant Sancho Panza, is still well known to us four centuries later.
Occasionally, a work falls into your hands that you only want to touch with reverence and fingertips, and that tells a story that touches with great sensitivity. In the children’s book department of the Librairie Kléber bookstore in Strasbourg, Alsace, I came across the children’s book Midi Pile, which tells the adventures of the little rabbit Jacominus Gainsborough.
Rébecca Dautremer is the unique narrator and artist behind Jacominus’ experiences and has already introduced us to her in her first children’s book, The Rich Hours of Jacominus Gainsborough. With Midi Pile, she takes readers by the hand in a wonderful continuation of his adventures. The book is in coloured silhouette throughout and leads us through the story from the perspective of the little bunny.