Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Comic Book

Tackling a subject that is very near and dear to my own heart: the comic book. Both France and the U.S. have a great history of comic books. The current format of the French and American comic book are quite different, in fact. In France, the comic book, also called "B.D." (for bande-dessiné), are quite popular, and I often see people (more often adults than young people in fact) reading them on the metro. They are almost always published in hard-cover format and contain a longer story than their American counterparts. However, the publishing schedule is very artist-dependent and one often has to wait several months between installments. The topic of the French B.D. covers a wide range and includes police stories, science fiction tales, real-life dramas, and also humorous subject matter (such as "the funnies"). This is in contrast to the American comic book, the dominating theme of which is still the super-hero (although this is changing somewhat). The American comic, especially those published through the major publishing houses Marvel and DC, generally come out at regular one-month intervals.

Which do I like better, French or American comics? Although I'm coming to enjoy the French comic book more and more (my current favorite author/artist is a French person, Joanne Sfar, see "le Chat du Rabbin" on the right) my allegiances still lie with the American comic book. The predictability of the schedule is preferable--you can "get into" the story a lot easier if the book comes out more frequently. And furthermore American comic books have given rise to a large number of internationally-recognized characters: Spider-Man, the Hulk, Superman, Batman, etc.
The score: U.S. 4, France 3.


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