Across the Ocean: Izneo Pubwatch October

Across the Ocean: Izneo Pubwatch October

Welcome to the October Izneo Pubwatch! We at WWAC have been diving into the latest in European graphic novels translated into English, and I can’t wait to share with you my latest finds. There are also some exciting offers from Izneo this month that you might enjoy. As always, if you haven’t had time yet,

Welcome to the October Izneo Pubwatch! We at WWAC have been diving into the latest in European graphic novels translated into English, and I can’t wait to share with you my latest finds. There are also some exciting offers from Izneo this month that you might enjoy. As always, if you haven’t had time yet, please do check out Izneo’s site, it’ll be fun!

And now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest news from Izneo. I’ve also got a few mini-reviews of their newest comics for you to read.

In the News

The fifth wave of Cinebook classics is now on sale at Izneo. Books including the Valerian series, Barracuda, Blake & Mortimer, Orbital, and Crusade are now available from CAD $3 onwards. For sci-fi and fantasy fans, this is definitely the collection you want.

The complete first volume of Lucky Luke—all 216 pages of it—is now available on Izneo for CAD $22.49. The much-loved story is being offered to English readers for the first time, so if you’re a fan of the Old West, this is the book for you.

French readers have adored Blacksad for generations, and now young readers can enjoy the thriller in English as well. The first volume is featured on Izneo now, with subsequent volumes to arrive shortly.

Mini-Reviews: Loved It!

The Route 66 List Volume 1 – Illinois

Design Amorandi (letters), Mark Bence (translation), Jean-Jacques Chagnaud (colours), Éric Stalner (writer and artist)
Cinebook (English, 2019)

The Route 66 List Volume 1 Cover-September 20, 2019-Eric Stalner. Europe Comics. September 2019. A blue car with the door open and bullet-holes in the door and front, abandoned on Route 66
Alex Poliac’s wife, Alice, was recently killed in a hit-and-run. As devastating as that is, Alex’s parents had met a similar fate three years ago. This can’t be a coincidence. Not with a serial killer clown on the loose. In the dead of night, Alex and his young son, Rob, steal away in hopes of meeting Sasha, an ‘uncle’ who can keep them safe. But the clown is closing in and there isn’t anyone who they can trust. Who is Alex and what is this Route 66 list that he needs to protect?

This was a really exciting book—a combination of a road trip, car chase and slasher horror, with a dash of international espionage. We’re kept guessing about Alex’s true identity and motives right till the end but it’s something we can easily figure out from a few clues.

I would have liked if some of the more important plot points—such as the importance of the Route 66 list—had been shown to us instead of explained through exposition. But it was still an interesting read nonetheless, with some heart-thumping moments that had me at the edge of my seat.

The Route 66 List Volume 1 Page 32. September 20, 2019-Eric Stalner. Europe Comics. September 2019. Panels depict a blue car being followed by a red truck, interrupted by the driver not seeing and hitting an orange car which then crashes
I love the art, which captures the Cold War-era comics style, accompanied by gorgeous, vivid colours.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and love that it is self-contained while still paving the way for a sequel which I look forward to reading from Izneo.

The Hardy Agency Volume 1: The Vanished Perfume

Pierre Christin (writer), Cromatik Ltd (letters), Edward Gauvin (translation), Annie Goetzinger (artist)
Dargaud (French, 2001), Europe Comics (English 2019)

The Hardy Agency Vol 1 Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
Edith Hardy’s small detective agency gets caught up in international espionage when she takes on her newest case: a young man working at a perfume factory gone missing, along with a super-secret formula for a revolutionary ointment. If Edith doesn’t get to the bottom of this mystery, all of Paris could become destabilized.

This English translation from Izneo brings Edith’s classic comic adventures to a brand new audience, and I’m thrilled. I really enjoyed this mystery that somehow manages to be classical but not outdated.

Edith is a fun protagonist—she’s like a young Miss Marple, a know-it-all with a heart of gold. She’s suffered her own tragedies and thus wants to make her community safer.

I’m not the biggest fan of Edith’s assistant, Victor, a plucky, yet annoying character who knows little and chafes against hard work. He does what he’s asked to, however, and by the end of the book, seems to have learned the value of putting in hard work as Edith does.

The Hardy Agency Vol 1 Page 7. Europe Comics. September 2019.
I adore the art in this book. It’s so beautiful, so quintessentially French, that I felt like I was transported back to Paris.

A thoroughly enjoyable read which makes me excited to spend more time in Edith’s detective agency.

Zeropedia

Cromatik Ltd (letters), Fabcaro (writer), Julien/CDM (artist and colours), Joseph Laredo (translation)
Dargaud (French, 2018), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Zeropedia Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
What a fun and educational graphic novel this is. Essentially a reference book, Zeropedia covers a vast array of subjects concerning science, history, politics, and more, in succinct one-page comics.

There’s plenty of humour to keep readers engaged, while still being massively educational for younger readers.

Zeropedia Page 105. Europe Comics. September 2019.
The art is reflective of the humorous tone of the novel, but is low-brow enough to get a chuckle out of even the most casual of readers.

A great book to dip in and out of for a fun read that surmises complex subjects for all ages.

Mini-Reviews: Meh ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Man in Furs

Cromatik Ltd (letters), Mercedes Claire Gilliom (translation), Catherine Sauvat (writer), Anne Simon (artist)
Dargaud (French, 2019), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Man in Furs Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
The true story of the origin of the word ‘masochism’: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The author of Venus in Furs, Leopold was fascinated by being dominated in sexual relationships. He found the perfect partner in ‘Wanda,’ but the relationship soured, leading to poverty, death, and the besmirching of Leopold’s name. His literary works are forgotten—instead, Leopold is forever known as the first masochist.

The origin of words is a fascinating subject but this book is more a biography of Sacher-Masoch than anything else. It borders on salacious, especially at first, but ends up being a rather tragic tale.

I feel like this book wasn’t quite sure about the tone it wanted to adopt, which made reading it quite a strange experience. There’s a whimsical undertone throughout, exemplified by the art, but it fails to capture a lot of the pathos.

Man in Furs Page 47. Europe Comics. September 2019.
We also never get Wanda’s point of view—for all intents and purposes, it looks like she’s enjoying herself, maybe a bit too much, until the end, when we learn that she didn’t. I am confused.

I think a better structure would have benefited this story. As it stands, this is an interesting read but it can be hard to understand the motivations of the characters.

Worlds Unseen Volume 1

Georges Abolin (writer), Jean-Jacques Chagnaud (colours), Cromatik Ltd (letters), Joseph Laredo (translation), Olivier Pont (writer and artist)
Dargaud (French, 2004), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Worlds Unseen Vol 1 Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
A British family moves to a coastal town in Italy to revolutionize the fishing process. But the townspeople don’t like the idea. Meanwhile, the son, William, becomes friends with Lisa, a strange girl with supernatural senses, along with two more boys, Nino and Paolo. They all share a birthday. But do they share the same fate?

This story was too much of a slow burn for me. It spends so much time building up the friendship between the four children and the town’s dislike of foreigners that the real action only takes place right at the end.

I am so tired of reading comics where the sole female character’s only role is being ‘the girl.’ Also, how are we meant to feel about comic panels ‘zooming in’ on the body of a naked child? So many kinds of gross.

Worlds Unseen Vol 1 Page 31. Europe Comics. September 2019.
I really didn’t know where this story was headed when I started reading the book and I’m still at a loss at the end. While I’m interested to see what happens next, the setup was just too long for my liking.

Mini-Reviews: Ugh, no!

Hell School Volume 1: Rituals

Angélique Césano (colours), Cromatik Ltd (letters), Dugomier (writer), Ers (artist), James Hogan (translation)
Lombard (French, 2013), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Hell School Vol 1 Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
Hina and Bastien are rebels with no intention of fitting in to their new school, the Institute of Excellence. Especially not if they have to change themselves so as to participate in the nigh-mandatory hazing rituals. But these rituals aren’t just an orientation process: they are an initiation ceremony. Those who complete the rituals become part of the school and everyone else becomes an outsider, or worse, dead. Are Hina and Bastien’s individuality worth their lives?

I generally find stories about bullying interesting, as long as they have some real-life commentary associated with them. This book doesn’t really try to do that—it’s at times over-the-top and, at others, too by-the-book. What are readers, and real victims of bullying from peers and teachers, meant to take from this story?

I also have a problem with adult male comics creators writing and drawing overly-sexualised schoolgirls. Why do we need to see the girls half-dressed? What’s with the faux-upskirt shots of the girls when they’re fighting? It’s gross and dangerous and it bothered me no end.

Hell School Vol 1 Page 25. Europe Comics. September 2019.
This book should have been better than it was. It doesn’t do justice to the subject matter.

Vertigo

Cromatik Ltd (letters), Bufi (artist), Tom Imber (translation), Manuel A Puppo (colours), Nathalie Sergeef (writer), Arancia Studio (colours)
Le Lombard (French, 2016), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

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Samuel Santos used to be a member of a violent Latin American gang, but he left that life behind by making a grave sacrifice. Fourteen years later, he has the chance to redeem himself and save the life of someone he cared about deeply. But the path he has chosen is dangerous. Will he succeed?

I found this book hard to follow and rather dull. It could have been wrapped up in half the pages it took to tell the story. Plus, the protagonist, Samuel, is your typical macho hero with a dead wife and lost child—nothing we haven’t seen before.

There are no female characters of note, which strikes me as bizarre considering this book was originally written in 2016.

Vertigo Page 13. Europe Comics. September 2019.
I thought the art was good but the colour palette was too muted. I would have liked some more vibrancy in the colour scheme.

This book isn’t memorable. A solid miss from me.

Cash Cowboys Volume 1

Ameziane (writer and artist), Cromatik Ltd (letters), Edward Gauvin (translation)
Le Lombard (French, 2019), Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Cash Cowboys Vol 1 Cover. Europe Comics. September 2019.
A group of military professionals from the US and beyond are brought together for a covert mission to take down Darkwater, a dangerous organization that is profiting off fear and terror. But have the team underestimated their nemesis?

I couldn’t get into this story at all. It was very G.I. Joe meets Narcos but with none of the excitement.

We spend ages meeting the team, none of whom have much personality, so I didn’t feel invested in them.

Why is there only one female character of prominence in this book? What year are we in that an Izneo action comic warrants so many male characters? I’m already bored.

Cash Cowboys Vol 1 Page 12. Europe Comics. September 2019.
I wanted to stop reading three pages in, but managed to make it to the end. However, with no payoff, I can’t be enthused to read more, nor recommend this to anyone else.

Louis Skye
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