Welcome to the first ever Izneo Pubwatch! Izneo is a digital comic book reading service and features books by European comics publishers, often translated into English, as well as graphic novels from the United States. The website is available in Dutch, English, and French. If you haven’t visited Izeno’s website yet, you’re in for a treat.
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying English translations of European comics thanks to Izneo. You can check out my latest Izneo reviews for Alt-Life, Hell of an Innocent, and The Adventures of Theodore Poussin. Now I’m here to share that joy with you! I’ll be reporting on the latest Izneo news every month and sharing some mini-reviews of their latest titles.
Izneo are debuting a “Travel to Africa” event until December 16, 2018. Seven comics based in the African continent will be on sale for just €3.29 each. The books include The Children, Zidrou-Beuchot’s African Trilogy, the first two volumes of Katanga, and The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin.
If you love French comics, Izneo has all 21 volumes of Largo Winch available for just €2.99 each. The sale begins December 10, 2018. The entire Asterix series is also available in French on Izneo right now so have fun diving into that.
Islandia Volume 1 – Boreal Landing
Marc Védrines (Writer and Artist)
Dargaud (French, 2006), Europe Comics (English, 2018)
Young Jacques has lived with his aunt and uncle since his parents’ death, but some time before his 16th birthday, he stows away on the ship his uncle works on in the hopes of getting to Iceland. When Jacques is discovered, the ship’s men become superstitious about the child stowaway, especially as misfortune seems to follow the boy. When Jacques manages to escape the sailors, he finds refuge with a family, but they too fall prey to increasingly bad luck. Is Jacques cursed or is there something more sinister happening in the world?
This was a surprisingly intense story that combines mysticism with horror. It starts off incongruously, and the reader isn’t exactly prepared for what’s to come. I was skeptical about the changing points of view—we get several perspectives during the narrative—but it works to build suspense.
The art is whimsical, almost old-school in its simplicity, especially as this story has fairly modern sensibilities. I loved how writer-artist Védrines captured both the sweeping landscapes of Iceland, and the claustrophobia of a ship’s hold.
The book ends on quite a cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to read the next issue!
Taxi Tales Volume 1 – The Fragrant Lady
Gündüz Ergün (Writer and Artist), Ozan Cagatay (Letters)
Marmara Çizgi (Turkish, 2018), Europe Comics (English, 2018)
Yalçın is a taxi driver who, after a long night, picks up a particularly chatty passenger. The elderly gentleman, Ragip, talks about the 1950s, when he worked as a newspaper translator. Following an exhausting work day, Ragip is awoken by a frantic knocking on his door. He is greeted by a stunning woman, Flore, who has come from Paris. While in Istanbul, Ragip and Flore become closer, but just as Ragip begins to think something more meaningful will come of their relationship, Flore’s secrets come out into the open.
According to the introduction in Taxi Tales, Gündüz Ergün has based the stories in this series on his own experiences as a taxi driver. The premise is sound, and it will certainly make for an interesting anthology. Unfortunately, this opening salvo is sensationalist, formulaic, and disturbingly male gaze-y.
Flore is the typical femme fatale with absolutely no backstory and no motivation for her actions, except to titillate protagonist Ragip and the reader. The story treats her as eye candy, as it does all the female characters in it, which is alienating for non-male readers.
It’s unfortunate, because the art is stunning. Every page is a delight to behold and so full of detail that I want to frame it. If only the story hadn’t been so disappointing.
Rage Volume 1
Baru (Writer, Artist and Colours), Ledran (Colours), Cromatik Ltd (Letters)
Dupuis (French, 2010), Europe Comics (English, 2018)
Anton slowly climbs up the ranks in the world of boxing, but you can’t break records without making a few enemies first. Anton is going to learn, the hard way, that he can’t trust those closest to him, and that the roots he so desperately wanted to escape are exactly where he belongs.
Sports stories are often aspirational, and Rage is no different. Anton is an everyman, and the story ekes out the many obstacles in his path to recognition.
The plot is strongest when it is focusing on Anton’s boxing career, but falls away when a murder mystery is introduced. It feels shoehorned in to give the characters’ lives more gravitas, but ends up being ham-fisted instead, particularly the court scenes that are so over-the-top, they take one out of the story.
I didn’t care much for the art with its distorted faces, and the lettering is too comic sans-esque for my liking. Aside from this, the story is a fascinating look into boxing, and it will be interesting to see where Anton’s journey takes him in upcoming volumes.