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European Comics

Asterix Reading Order, by Toutatis!

The most famous French comic book series in the world, Asterix is still going strong more than 60 years after his debut with a new album released recently. Each new album is selling like hotcakes in France, assuring the Romans will never succeed in conquering this one small village of Gauls!

The adventures of Asterix and Obelix started as a comic strip in the comics anthology Pilote in 1959. Written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, it tells the story of a village of Gauls as they resist Roman Occupation with the aid of a magic potion during the era of Julius Caesar. Each volume starts with a now quite famous introduction (at least in France):

The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium…

Asterix is an intelligent Gaul and the best warrior in his small village, making him one of the most valuable advisers of chief Vitalstatistix (aka Abraracourcix in France!), and a good confidant of Getafix (aka Panoramix), the village druid. He is a close friend of Obélix, a menhir sculptor and delivery man who fell into Getafix’s magic potion cauldron as a baby. Together, with Obelix’s tiny dog Dogmatix (aka Idéfix, introduced in the 6th volume), they go into many adventures foiling the schemes of the Romans, in Gaul and beyond!

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Blacksad: An unmissable Crime Noir Comic Series

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When you hear the words Franco-Belgian comics, series like Tintin and Asterix are the first ones to cross the mind, and for a good reason. Depending on your tastes and interests, you could also be well-versed in the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, Corto Maltese, The Incal, Snowpiercer, or XIII.

Among the famous characters of the franco-belgian comic series, you’ll find a black cat named Blacksad. Created by Spanish writer Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad was conceived with the French market as the primary target. He made his debut in 2000 in the first volume called Quelque part entre les ombres published by Dargaud. He quickly became a prominent figure and the release of a volume is now a sort of mini-event — as it doesn’t happen often!

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Last Updated on May 21, 2024.

Snowpiercer, le Transperceneige: A Reading Order Guide

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Created by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Le Transperceneige, or Snowpiercer, is a french post-apocalyptic graphic novel where the last survivors of humanity are locked in a gigantic train that never stops.

Because even when humanity is on its last leg, we can’t get rid of social hierarchy, the train is organized with the rich at the head, in golden wagons going back to the poor at the end of the convoy. Coming from the tail wagons, Proloff is determined to go back up the train in order to understand the situation following some horrible events. 

Le Transperceneige has been adapted as a movie in 2013 by Bong Joon-ho and has also inspired a television series (on cable channel TNT). Following the movie’s success, several new albums have been published.

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Last Updated on June 16, 2022.

The Incal Reading Order, The French Comic Book by Jodorowsky and Moebius

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The Incal is a French graphic novel series (“L’Incal” in French) written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Moebius (aka Jean Giraud) that started in 1980 in the pages of “Métal hurlant.”

As the official synopsis explains it, The Incal is about the tribulations of the shabby detective John Difool as he searches for the precious and coveted Incal. John Difool, a low-class detective in a degenerate dystopian world, finds his life turned upside down when he discovers an ancient, mystical artifact called The Incal. Difool’s adventures will bring him into conflict with the galaxy’s greatest warrior, the Metabaron, and will pit him against the awesome powers of the Technopope. These encounters and many more make up a tale of comic and cosmic proportions that has Difool fighting for not only his very survival, but also the survival of the entire universe.

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Last Updated on May 27, 2023.

Valerian and Laureline Reading Order: How to read this classic French Sci-Fi series?

Valerian and Laureline Reading Order

Written by Pierre Christin and drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières (RIP), the Valerian and Laureline series is a highly influential Franco-Belgian sci-fi comic book series that takes us to Galaxity, the capital of the Terran Galactic Empire in the 28th century.

There, we met Valerian and Laureline who are two agents of the Service Spatio-Temporel (SST) who protect mankind as they travel the universe through space and time.

Galaxity is an Earth megalopolis and the capital in the XXVIIIth century of a galactic empire. Earth has become, following a dark age, one of the great cosmic powers. The agents of the SST move in time and space to preserve the interests of Galaxity. The rules of the EST forbid them to modify the events of the past. Valerian and Laureline explore new planets, take part in historical experiments, help unknown peoples, settle planetary conflicts, represent Galaxity, etc. They do not intervene to prevent the death of the planet.

They do not intervene to prevent the nuclear explosion of 1986 which transforms the aspect and the organization of the Earth. But it is the future of Galaxity that they rewrite by helping the superintendent of the EST to prevent this cataclysm later. Unfortunately, in this high-risk temporal manipulation, they also cancel the future of their planet.

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Last Updated on May 6, 2022.

XIII Reading Order, a classic belgian comic book series

XIII, comc book reading order

Created by writer Jean Van Hamme and artist William Vance, XIII (Thirteen) is a Belgian graphic novel series about an amnesiac who seeks to discover his past.

Everything begins when a man washes ashore near an old couple’s house, barely alive. He has forgotten everything, including his name. The only clues to his identity are a key sewn into his clothes and a bullet wound to the head. and the number XIII tattooed on his shoulder. A meager start to reconstruct one’s self. Any resemblance to Jason Bourne is not fortuitous, as Bourne Identity has inspired the central character and the story’s premise.

The first 5 volumes of XIII have been adapted into a video game in 2003. Two TV series were based on the comic book, XIII: The Conspiracy in 2008 and XIII: The Series in 2011 which lasted two seasons.

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Last Updated on December 28, 2023.

Grandville Reading Order (Bryan Talbot’s comics)

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Grandville Reading Order Bryan Talbot

Written and drawn by Bryan Talbot, Grandville is not a conventional series. Mixing steampunk elements in an alternative history, the story is set in a world in which France won the Napoleonic Wars and invaded Britain. Also, the world is populated mostly by anthropomorphic animals.

The story follows Detective Inspector Archibald “Archie” LeBrock of Scotland Yard (who is assisted by Detective Roderick Ratzi, a dapper, monocle-wearing rat) as he investigates a murder which leads him to visit “Grandville” (also known as Paris). Grandville is exploring modern themes and science-fiction concepts, with terrorist plots, murder mysteries, gangster drama and more. It’s also full of cultural references, from Tintin to famous paintings, and historical elements.

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Last Updated on December 30, 2022.

Tintin Reading Order: How to read The Adventures of Tintin?

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The Adventures of Tintin Reading Order

Created by Belgian cartoonist Hergé in 1929, The Adventures of Tintin follow the intrepid globetrotter reporter and adventurer named Tintin as he travels all over the world to investigate mysteries.

Aided by his faithful dog Snowy and his friends, the brash and cynical Captain Haddock and the intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus, Tintin evolves in realistic environments as well as in pure science fiction and fantasy.

Disclaimer: It’s an old comics, so there are some ideas and representations that are quite offensive today. It’s sometimes racist. Just saying. You know, like in the old issues of The Spirit.

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Last Updated on January 4, 2023.