Or “Bande dessinée” if you prefer.
That is, French (or more accurately Franco-Belgian) comics.
It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of comics for almost as long as I’ve been able to read. Although I started with British comics (most of which are long gone), I’ve been reading American comics since I was seven or eight.
Needless to say, that pretty much means super hero comics – a genre that I’m incredibly fond of, regardless of all of its absurdities. (The choice is widening though, and not just with Sandman spin-offs.)
Having read them for a fair chunk of my life, I’d like to think I’m more than passingly familiar with most comics.
However, on my first trip to Paris five years ago, I came across comic stores that were *filled* with comics that I’d never heard of.
They covered all kinds of genres – sci-fi, crime, westerns, conspiracy theory and comedy. Almost everything except super heroes – and all beautifully drawn.
And even better, there does seem to be a genuine belief that they’re not just for kids (grown up or otherwise).
So a new world of comics awaited me.
Unfortunately, my grasp of French is, at best, poor.
So what to do? Well, some are translated into English – the best known examples are Tintin and Asterix. There’s also a company that has started producing English translations of some more obscure BD and I’ve liked some of their stuff.
But this year, I’ve bitten the bullet and bought a French language BD.
(That’s a Traction Avant on the cover. Possibly my favourite car ever.)
I’m very pleased with it, even if it does mean having to read it with a French-English dictionary in one hand…