Angoulême Selection 2010

The world’s biggest comics convention now in it’s 37th year, the Angoulême  International Comics Festival in France, has just unveiled its “Selection” list for the 2010 event – basically the best graphic novels published over the last year according to an organising panel.

Fifty-eight of them.

1L’Affaire Des Affaires Vol 1 by Laurent Astier et Yan Lindingre, Denis Robert Dargaud

The journalist, Denis Robert, relates how he was placed under judicial investigation in the Clearstream affair. His story, which demonstrates the way organised crime flourishes within the new economy, gives an account of the shortfalls of justice. An extremely realistic politico-financial thriller.

Allegretto Deprimoso by Romain Dutreix, Fluide Glacial

Allegretto Deprimoso, or how to rake the music industry over the coals dragging with it some of its most eminent representatives. 11 scathing stories, which spare no one. Extremely dark humour by Romain Dutreix an up and coming author, to be watched closely.

Alpha Directions by Jens Harder, Actes Sud/ l’An 2

Based on todays knowledge in all domains (astrophysics, biology, chemistry, anthropology, archaeology, etc.), Harder relates the story of life over fourteen billion years, from the big bang to the first human civilisations.

L’Ancien Temps Vol 1 by Joann Sfar, Gallimard

This is the story of a country where water runs backwards. We encounter a woman in love who changes into a fox, a king who never kisses and of course a pure hearted hero … Joann Sfar explores heroic fantasy from a sensual point of view, which owes as much to Tolkein as it does Rabelais.

Au Rallye by Pierre Place, Warum

This book portrays the regular customers of Le Rallye bar situated in a seedy area of the suburbs where misery and social depravity are rife. Immigrants, cleaning women, petty criminals, OAP’s and down and outs populate this realistic story filled with a mixture of remarkable actions, broken dreams and daily joys…

Aujourd’hui N’Existe Pas by Ancco, Cornélius

Today doesn’t exist and our lives are a succession of sad and happy moments instantly forgotten. Before his memory betrays him, Anco wanted to secure various fragments of his life in picture. His acute pencil line traces an image, which is a far cry from the Korea seen in the holiday brochures.

Billy Brouillard by Guillaume Bianco, Soleil

In love with the Puddle Princess, Billy tells tales of horror, ghosts and murders…this collection of short stories, comparable to Tim Burton, reveals the fantastic universe of a funny but dark, loveable little boy.

2Blast Vol 1 by Manu Larcenet, Dargaud

A man tells how he abandoned everything to live a different life and experience the famous “blast”, a magical moment where life is almost perfect…. After stirring us with Combat Ordinaire Manu Larcenet now surprises us with an exceptional book that plunges us into the dark depths of the human soul.

Blessure D’Amour Propre by Martin Veyron, Dargaud

The author of an erotic best seller that popularises the existence of the G point is harassed thirty years later by a young and pretty journalist. Suffering with prostate problems and chased by the bailiffs he is forced to revisit sexual anxieties that he thought were behind him forever.

Britten Et Associé
Vol 1 by Hannah BERRY

England in the 1940’s. A private detective with the physique of a Latin lover and his teabag associate named Stewart Brülightly carry out a troubled investigation in the perfectly damp atmosphere of England. … This first album by a young English artist is a mixture between a homage to detective stories and a slightly sarcastic exercise in style.

Commandant Achab by Stéphane Douay and Stéphane Piatzszek, Soleil

On his first day at crime investigations Karim meets his new partner, Achab, an old cop who has been relegated to the archive department. Their relationship is complicated; Fath, Karim’s father and Achab’s childhood friend died in mysterious circumstances…

Dix Petits Insectes
by Vincent Pianini and Davide Cali, Sarbacane

Ten small insects find themselves together in a manor house on Tortoise Island and start strangely disappearing one after the other. Who is the mysterious murderer? A wink to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers.

Droit Du Sol by Charles Masson, Casterman

Every year, in search of a better life, thousands of refugees from Comoros try to settle on the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. The journey is perilous and many are shipwrecked and die. This is a moving account by an outraged author who denounces the guilty indifference of the French state.

Dungeon Quest Vol 1 by Joe Daly, L’Association

Inspired by role playing games Dungeon Quest will not only enthuse readers familiar to this universe but it will also delight neophytes with its dense narrative and odd humour employed by Joe Daly to distort his own life story.

Eightball, by Daniel Clowes, Cornélius/Fantagraphics

These short stories alternate between social satire, college jokes, absurd anecdotes and psychological study, permitting the deviation of pictures and humoristic codes in order to ridicule intellectuals, and sportsmen, artists and proles, Christians and Satanists, hippies and puritans.

3Les Enfants Du Capitaine Grant by Alexis Nesme, Delcourt

During a trip to sea, Lord and Lady Glenarvan find a bottle inside a shark’s stomach. It contains a distress message, sent by Captain Grant just before his ship sank. They set off in search of survivors accompanied by the missing Captain’s children and a mad scientist…

Vol 7 by Patrice Pellerin, Quadrants/Soleil

1742. Although it costs him his life, a spy is able to transmit a macabre message to the King of France that will trigger a manhunt across the Atlantic. A race against time and the elements in which the brave pirate, Yann de Kermeur, will play an important role…

La Génèse/Genesis by Robert Crumb, Denoël Graphic/Fantagraphics

A legendary figure of American comic strip and the underground, Robert Crumb takes on a monument of world literature: Genesis. An exceptional artist (whose pencil drawings are so identifiable) animates the result of four years work with this larger than life comic strip.

George Sprott by Seth, Delcourt/Drawn & Quarterly

George Sprott is a fictitious television reporter about arctic exploration on a local Canadian channel. But who really is George Sprott? A loving uncle or an absent father? A professional or a crook? A masterpiece of narrative brilliance.

4La Guerre D’Alan by Emmanuel Guibert, L’Association

The memories of Alan Ingram Copen reveal a Second World War that is nothing like the Hollywood movies: between scrupulous realism and graphical abstraction, Emmanuel Guibert, depicts this war that he hardly experienced for real.

Hector Humbra by Uli Oesterle, Akileos

Hector Umbra is in Munich looking for a mysteriously disappeared friend. This odyssey, punctuated with childhood flashbacks, leads him to an inhospitable underground world where a group of demons, under the name of NIU, have devised a satanic plan…

L’Homme Bonsaï by Fred BERNARD, Delcourt

During a storm, Captain, O Murphy and two seamen board a distressed vessel in the middle of which is planted an enormous tree called Amédée. Forced to enrol on a pirate ship and then abandoned on a desert island, this young man feels a seed drop onto his head and then very slowly he turns into a tree…

Ida by Chloé Cruchaudet, Delcourt

1887. Ida, thirty years old and single is an authoritative hypochondriac who discovers the joys of travelling when she leaves her home country of Switzerland. She journeys to Tangier where she fortuitously meets an ingenious Western woman. Dressed in their crinoline dresses the two women travel through Africa.

Ikigami Vol 1 by Motoro MASE, Asuka

What would you do if you only had 24 hours to live? As a reminder of how valuable life is a law is voted: Ikigami a sort of death warning to whoever receives it. A pulsing thriller of unbearable suspense.

Il Était Une Fois En France
Vol 3 by Fabien Nury et Sylvain Vallee, Glénat

Paris during the occupation and an immoral character, Joseph Joanovici navigates between Collaboration and the Resistance. He will soon be forced to make a choice. A gripping saga between fiction and reality inspired by a true story.

L’île Au Poulailler, by Laureline Mattiussi, Treize Etrange

Pirates! We will be back to burn this island, slit this pirate woman and her blasted crew’s throats and reconquer the golden throne in a blood bath! A splendid maritime adventure with captivating dialogues and illustrated with splendid colourful pictures.

James Bond, Les Origines: Silverfin/Young James Bond: Silverfin by Kev Walker and Charlie Higson, Casterman

A gripping fantasy spy story that relates the difficult apprenticeship of a young James Bond while he is still a teenager. It provides a rare opportunity to discover a successful combination of two traditions; comics and comic strip.

Je Ne Mourrai Pas Gibier
by Alfred, Delcourt

In Mortagne, there are only two firms: the Clément Château and the Listrac sawmill. If you work for Clément you hate those who work for Listrac and vice versa. Martial preferred not to take part in any of these quarrels until one day his actions lead him to the point of no return…

Je Ne Suis Pas Mort by Hiroshi Motomiya, Delcourt

Okada Kenzô, 60 years old is made redundant the day before his retirement, having dedicated his whole life to his job. His wife and children leave taking all his savings with them. After a failed suicide attempt he starts a new life in the wild world of nature. An astounding chronicle that deals with exclusion.

Jérôme KJ Bloche Vol 21 by Alain Dodier, Dupuis

When 3-year-old Caroline has nightmares she calls her daddy. However, this time he doesn’t answer and the flat is empty. Luckily Caroline and her teddy bear live in a residence where Jérôme K. Jérôme Bloche has his private investigation offices.

La Jeune Fille Et Le Nègre
Vol 2 by Judith Vanistendael, Actes sud / l’An 2

This love story between a young Belgium woman, Sophie, and an economy student, Abou, a Togolese asylum seeker is told through the eyes of a mother and a father. Behind this family story Judith Vanistendael evokes the daily life of refugees within Europe.

6Jolies Ténèbres by Kerascoet et Fabien Vehlmann, Marie Pommepuy,

In the sunshine of a beautiful summers day lies the body of a young girl, dead or simply sleeping, we do not know. Enter, Alice in Wonderland, David Lynch and Gulliver’s Travels, a fairytale like album that oscillates between wonder and cruelty.

Keko Le Magicien by Carlos Nine, Rackham

Keko is a failed magician who lives with his mother, Lady Teat, who is no other than an enormous breast. We are already familiar with the wild world of Carlos Nine, that is midway between Disney and Dali or Freud and light literature. Keko is undoubtedly his most personal work.

Kinky Et Cosy by Nix, Le Lombard

Kinky and Cosy are trash like South Park, nonsense like Monty Python and stupid and nasty like Hara Kiri. This concentrate of dark humour is probably the only remedy for today’s bleak atmosphere. Caustic but catching!

Lincoln Vol 6 by Jérôme Jouvray et Olivier Jouvray, Paquet

Lincoln, the cowboy is mad at the whole world. Then one day, while he is dynamite fishing in the river, an odd little man stops next to him. It is God and God has an idea; to convince Lincoln that one can “really have fun down here on earth”

Magasin Général Vol 5 by Jean-Louis Tripp et Régis Loisel, Casterman

The fifth tome of a gripping fable created by the four hands of Régis Loisel and Jean-Louis Tripp, which tells the story of a lively rural community, situated in the Quebec countryside during the twenties. Quarrels and love stories all brilliantly related in the Quebec tongue.

Manioka by NkodeM (Nicolas Grand), KSTR

In an enormous slum in the urban world where all hope is lost, a petty dealer develops surprising powers enabling him to survive. A particularly limpid metaphor of today’s perverted way of life by an author with a new tone who claims to be “hip hop”.

Messire Guillaume – L’esprit Perdu by Matthieu Bonhommeet Gwen De Bonneval, Dupuis

This medieval fairytale in the form of an initiation quest, tinted with fantasy and psychology, relates the story of an adventurous journey a teenage boy undertakes in order to finally start grieving his late father. His pathway to adulthood will be sown with obstacles, strange encounters and fantasy.

Milan K by Corentin et Sam Timel, les Humanoïdes associés

To be the only heir to a Russian billionaire can be very dangerous. After their family plane has exploded in flight and his father has committed suicide in prison, Micha Khodorov is hunted down by one the most powerful men in the world…An impressively illustrated dynamic thriller.

Misery Loves Comedy by Ivan Brunetti, Cambourakis

Brunetti brilliantly explores the world of comic strips as silent stories or monologues and delivers a talented vision of the world. His sense of humour and causticity joyfully merge with his vast graphical ability.

7L’Or Et Le Sang by Bedouel, Merwam and Nury, 12bis

Two men who were not destined to meet (An aristocrat and a Corsican) make a deal in the trenches of the Great War. They become Djebel princes and armed, they defy the whole of Europe. And all because of an alcoholic hedgehog.

Pachyderme by Frédérik Peeters, Gallimard

A woman is trying to reach her injured husband in hospital but an elephant is blocking the traffic. Later, a hideous foetus will wave to her and an ugly spy will talk to her about the Cold War… A long series of bizarre happenings that will have a weird effect on her life.

Pascal Brutal
Vol 3, by Riad SATTOUF, Fluide Glacial

In a not too distant future where ultra liberalism and consumerism (sexual and mercantile) dominate the world, a man wearing Torsion trainers flashes his large bracelet in the spotlights of the nightclubs and rotates his pelvis revealing the identity of the new “dominant male”.

Paul Vol 6 : Paul Á Québec by Michel Rabagliati, La Pastèque

Being a first time buyer and losing a loved one are the main themes of this story. From Ahunstic to St Nicolas passing through Madrid the author presents his family in a moving tale. Michel Rabagliati proves his skill once again by merely drawing life.

Le Petit Rien Tout Neuf Avec Un Ventre Jaune
by Pascal Rabate, Futuropolis

When his wife abandons the manager of a joke shop there is really nothing to laugh about. Pascal Rabaté in unequalled when it comes to telling bittersweet stories in the form of provincial chronicles where humour and tragedy get along famously

Primal Zone by Pierre-Yves Gabrion, Delcourt

This is the story of a man who has no soul… He lost it 10 years ago when the police found him next to his mother’s murdered body. Found guilty he is placed in an institute for fifteen years before rejoining society. But deep inside him, Ortog is watching over his Beast

La Princesse Du Sang by Max Cabanes and Jean-Patrick Manchette, Dupuis

His son, the screenwriter Doug Headline, has adapted this posthumous story by Jean- Patrick Manchette, who initiated “neo-detective stories”. Superbly illustrated by Max Cabanes whose expressivity blends wonderfully with this sinister historico-political thriller.

Rebetiko by David Prudhomme, Futuropolis

With a powerful charcoal pencil stroke David Prudhomme returns to the sources of Italian neorealist cinema with this story about the daily life of Greek musicians who, before the war, sang by night what they felt by day, burning the candle at both ends.

Le Réveil Du Zelphyre
by Karim Friha, Gallimard / Bayou

A young man who turns into a tree is like the eighteen metre tall ants by a famous poet, they just don’t exist. Except in this enchanted tale by a young comic strip newcomer, with a mischievous style and beautifully coloured.

8Rosalie Blum Vol 3 by Camille Jourdy, Actes sud BD

An unexpected encounter between three characters from opposing backgrounds. Vincent who after thirty years wants to cut the apron strings, Rosalie Blum who drowns her difficult past in whisky and Aude who follows the meanders of life. Will this encounter help them chase their demons away?

La Saison Des Flèches
by Guillaume Trouillard et Samuel Stento, Cerise

“Wild West in your own home for just 19€”, on paper it sounds exciting. However, for a couple of Charente pensioners it’s not easy living with a Sioux family, a herd of bison and gold diggers not to mention the lake that has arisen in the middle of the living room or the arrow tree that is growing in the bedroom.

Siegfried Vol 2 by Alex Alice, Dargaud

The famous era of the Nibelungen’s, dear to Richard Wagner’s heart, adapted in a trilogy by the artist of the Third Testament. Germanic myths and Nordic legends blend with heroic fantasy giving birth to a flamboyant saga drawn with a dominant pencil stroke.

9Le Signe De La Lune
by José-Louis Manuera, Enrique Bonet

A small town in Spain during the twenties. Isolated, the inhabitants of this country situated near an immense forest, live in the beliefs of the old world. Here lives Artemisa, a young girl, who becomes mysteriously attracted to the moon. A fascinating dark tale of fantasy.

Tea Party by Nancy Pena, La boite à Bulles

Victor Neville, a culinary advisor in London, is always unintentionally falling asleep and dreaming the same obsessive dream. He is at a Tea Party organised by two famous Lords where he is engaged to find the finest and best tea, which will lead his employer to victory.

Une Histoire Populaire De L’Empire Américain by Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle, after Howard Zinn, Vertige Graphic.

This book brilliantly depicts: the struggle between the Indian Americans and Europeans, the slave’s revolt against oppression, the opposition between trade unions and capitalists, the women’s fight for their rights and the Black civil rights movement.

Une Vie Chinoise by Li Kunwu et P.Otiê, Kana

Blending nostalgia and awareness, illustrated with images borrowed from the world of propaganda, this autobiography tells of the mad destiny of Mao Zedong’s children in the 1950’s who have today, through revolutions and counter-revolutions, reached the helm of modern China.

10Le Vagabond De Tokyo by Fukutani Takashi, Le Lézard Noir

This Houellebecq like manga depicts the disillusioned youth of Tokyo’s poor quarters. 22 year old, Yoshio Hori, errs from one job to the next on Tokyo’s building sites revealing himself to be a comical, mean and loveable character.

La Vierge Froide by Hervé Tanquerelle et Gwen De Bonneval, Sarbacane

Jørn Riel recalls the true stories, which could also be considered pure invention, from his visit to the Greenland trappers. “Unless it’s the opposite”, he confesses mischievously. Tanquerelle and Bonneval cleverly adapt these stories where funny and absurd blend with poetry and adventure.

The list will again draw complaint for its lack of inclusion of manga titles, though it has a higher count this year than previously. And for some reason Kev Walker was replaced by Alex Wild in the Young James Bond: Silverfin listing online, something I’ve rectified below. But it does have the fortunate ability to boost sales of books, and in the past has generated galleries of the work for the Angoulêmeconvention in February.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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