Some suggestions for comics to discover.
Traces of moccasins : unsung heroes
The story with a capital H has a very selective memory: the stories honored by the victors and colonizers too often overlook the exploits of others, particularly when it comes to members of the First Nations. A true pioneer of Quebec comics, Louis Rémillard decided to remedy this by reviving remarkable forgotten people on paper (to use the expression consecrated by anthropologist Serge Bouchard and writer Marie-Christine Lévesque). After the excellent album The return of the Iroquois, the cartoonist recently launched Traces of moccasins, the second volume of a triptych which pays homage to the First Nations.
This is the opportunity to discover the cunning Pieskaret, the resourceful Kamaka, Savignon and other unsung Huron or Algonquin heroes in Quebec history. Cut into six short stories, Traces of moccasins guides us from Lake Champlain to the Ottawa River, passing through Ville-Marie and even Paris. In the XVIIe century, danger is everywhere and often takes the features of the Iroquois enemy …
If the narrative framework turns out to be weaker than that of the Return of the Iroquois, Traces of moccasins remains a fascinating read that painfully sends us back to our collective ignorance and our history books full of holes. Louis Rémillard’s very assured lines, his sense of cutting, his solid historical research: all the ingredients that make up a great comic book are brought together here. The album is also nominated for the Prix des libraires du Québec, BD category. It is deserved.
Traces of moccasins. Of Louis Rémillard. Marrow Graphik. 116 pages.
The hunting accident : come out of the dark
In 1950s Chicago, a young boy who has just lost his mother moves in with his father, who went blind after a hunting accident in his youth. At least, that’s the official story Charlie Rizzo has always heard from his father. The truth is darker and extends its ramifications as far as Leonard and Loeb, two of the most notorious criminals in US history. The murder trial of these two sons of good family indeed shook America in the 1920s… Inspired by truthful facts, this graphic novel – the first by American screenwriter David L. Carson – wants to be, behind its dark premise, a remarkable ode to the redemptive power of literature.
This punchy piece is beautifully portrayed by the hatched and textured design of Landis Blair. The latter devoted four years of work to this extraordinary album, which recalls the dazzling Me, what I like is the monsters, by Emil Ferris. A serious contender for the Fauve d’or for best album at the next Angoulême comic book festival. Not to be missed…
The hunting accident. Of David L. Carlson and Landis Blair. Sonatine. 472 pages.
Free time : hang on or give up
After a first album (Contacts) which delighted the critics and the public, Mélanie Leclerc puts it back with Free time, a delicious album that will resonate with all those who see themselves torn between their dreams and the vagaries of everyday life. Mother of three children and part-time employee in a library, Mélanie aspires to become a director. She wants to dedicate her next film to her aunt Louise, an actress stricken by Alzheimer’s disease. Time is running out to capture the last shreds of her godmother’s memory on film, but for Mélanie, questions arise: how to go to the end of the project and remain faithful to her artistic vision with the crumbs of free time that life leaves her?
This tender and delicate album, carried by the fine stroke of the pencil of the Quebec cartoonist, addresses a cruel but essential question: should we cling to our dreams at all costs or sometimes accept to let them slip away?
Free time. By Mélanie Leclerc. General mechanic. 176 pages.
The golden menhir : a dusted rarity
In 1967, when the adventures of Asterix the Gaul were more popular than ever, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo published a book-disc inspired by an original story. His title : The golden menhir. The story revolves around the bard Assurancetourix who decides to participate in a great singing competition, convinced that he is to win the prestigious trophy. Knowing his stubbornness and his lack of talent, Asterix and Obelix decide to accompany him to save him trouble … More than 50 years after its original publication, this story, almost untraceable, is reborn with the publication of an illustrated album, where the dialogues are accompanied by large format illustrations that have been completely restored. If it is moving to hold in his hands an unpublished story of the little Gaul, we must admit that this adventure is very thin, with a particularly precipitous end.
Whatever, fans of the series will say. It is not every day that we can reconnect with the genius of Uderzo and especially, of Goscinny, both of whom have now disappeared. Note: an audio recording to download is also offered with the album.
The golden menhir. Of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Albert René editions. 48 pages.