Reader Olivier N. wanted to pay tribute to Spirou's 75th anniversary, so, well, here he is doing just that! - Brian
Spirou was out of the picture for some time, Dupuis considering whom to give the series to.. not easy to replace Tome& Janry, and it would take some time before the readers forgot about 'Machine qui rêve'
This brings us to the beginning of 2003, when dupuis published 'La voix sans maitre' (The voice without a master), the 3rd album in the collection 'Spirou and Fantasio hors serie' (the first 2 albums present the beginnings of Franquin- and were originally published in the Series "Péchés de Jeunesse" (sins of youth)), this album is an anthology composed of rare and hard to find shorts stories by different authors (the creation of Spirou and the (restored) story 'the African boxer' by Rob-Vel, A short gag by Franquin with Fantasio (once a promotional art) , 2 Short stories by tome & janry and a one pager by the same duo); many readers took the title as a prank Dupuis put on itself (Spirou being the voice, and no team working on the title) Later that same Year we saw a second anthology (Hors Serie N° 4) With rare stories by Jijé, 1 Poster and a short promotional story by Franquin,, the Complete "remounted" and colored Chaland Story, and 2 shorts by Fournier (1 where S&F meet Bizu, and the other a homage story to Franquin with all the characters he did create)
Spirou through the years (by the creators)
and then on April the 28 of 2004, in Spirou magazine number 3446 come the first 3 pages of the new adventures of S&F "Paris sous seine" (Paris under the Seine) by the new creative team of Morvan and Munuera (Jean David Morvan is a french Writer with some hits, the series 'sillages' and a Wolverine One-shot 'Saudade' - dont know if marvel published it for the US market) That story is Fresh ,but not transcendental , they will publish 3 other albums 'L'homme qui ne voulait pas mourir' (The man that didnt want to die) 'Spirou and Fantasio in Tokyo' and 'Aux Sources du Z' (The Roots of the Z) - not really well received stories (I really do have issues with the last 2 - In Tokyo is Morvan love letter to Mangakas, and mangas in general, not an interesting story, even if he did bring back Itoh Kata - And the 4th one revisits all the Franquins years to get a younger Spirou from the past to 'revitalize' him (that didnt really revitalize the sales .... ) Theses stories came out between 2005 and 2008.
In the same time Dupuis did some tests on new concepts for future albums -not creating new series, but telling different kind of stories with selling stories, à la 'Elseworlds' -(the concept only worked with Spirou and the series "Le Spirou de ..."
The first album in that series 'les géants pétrifiés' (The Petrified Giants) by Vehlmann & Yoann in 2006 is a real Hit, so Dupuis gives them the series in place or Morvan and Munuera.
Their first collaboration on the title is called 'Alerte aux Zorkons' (Beware the Zortards) and is published in 2010.Then came 'La face cachée du Z' (the hidden side of the Z) and 'Dans les griffes de la vipere' (In the Viper's fangs) Dupuis likes what the team is doing (Vehlmann already talked about the next 2 albums of S&F, the one in 2015 bringing back the marsupilami to the fold)
Yoann does a poster for the Museum of Bande Dessinée in Angouleme
The series "Le spirou de ..." continues with differents teams for each albums; "Le marais du temps" (Times in le marais - the story taking place in paris' le marais) By franck Le Gall -2007, 'Le tombeau des Champignac' (Champignac's Tomb) by Yann & Tarrin in 2007; Le journal d'un Ingénu (An Ingenu's journal) by Bravo in 2008, Le groom vert-de-gris (The grey-green Groom) by Yann and Schwartz in 2009, panique en Atlantique(panique in the Atlantic) by Trondheim and Parme in 2010
Both 'Le groom vert-de-gris' and 'Le journal d'un Ingénu' will have follow ups this year (or early next year)
It would seem that Spirou and Fantasio are here to stay, as is the namesake Magazine (The only comics magazine in French that lasts that long - This week has seen number 3929 - 52 pages - 2.30 € - part 3/9 of the new 'les tuniques bleues' - part 6/6 of the reprint of the first Marsupilami album- 41 1/2 pages of comics, 3 pages of games, 5 pages of redactional - and the smurfs invading the magazin and all the stories / series in it)
(Schtroumphs is French for Smurfs)
And what about the 'intégrales' ?
Dupuis did launch in 2006 a new collection, or i should say, new collections : 'Les Intégrales' wich takes all the stories done by one artist / team on a series , or series in exact publication order.
The first Intégrale to come out is the one recounting Franquin's period on S&F with the forgotten or never reprinted stories in exact order, Franquin takes 8 volumes (250 pages each with some editorials and covers / illustrations)
The ones with Fournier take 3 volumes, Nic & Cauvin 1 Album ( 2 Short stories and the 3 published albums) and in June this Year the first Integrale concerning Tome&Janry came out. (second volume to come by the end of the year)
During January they also did publish an Integrale comprising all the Rob-Vell Stories (1938-1943 and 1970) but the quality isnt part of the book, the scans are really poor, no correction , but the format of each page is respected. (The intégrale reprise the short story Rob-Vell Did with Cauvin for Spirou's 33th anniversary in 1970, in wich Spirou finishes the story with Batman, Superman, Tarzan ...) - the previous reprinting of the African Boxer in "Hors serie 3" is way better quality than the one in that Intégrale (Except it doesnt repect the page format). (There are German editions with better scan quality regarding the Rob-Vell years ..... )
Spirou by Rob-Vell in 1970
For the Personal note, and ending of this review, what do i think of the recent creative teams?
- Morvan & Munuera first 2 albums are readables, good if not excellent, better than Nic& Cauvin ones, but lesser than the first Fourniers
- Vehlmann & Yoann better than morvan & munuera, but not as good as the last Fourniers, and Vehlmann like BM Bendis does decompress his story toooooo muchhhh (in "dans les griffes de la vipere" we need more than 20 pages to begin the story)
- in 'Le Spirou De ...' Le Gall story isnt that great, I dont find Bravo's ingenu that good, Trondheim does a Story that isnt really spirou, concerning Yann , i Do have a problem with his stories revolving around WW2 ...
- I'm not a big fan of the Maruspilami, and since it was out of the book for the last 43 years, i dont understand bringing him back - it wont change a thing in the book ... (reminds me of some of the retcons done by DC those last few years... and Vehlmann acts like the fan-boy he is, praising his love for franquins Work, not what he can do for the book)
So the Future of Spirou depends on the readers, their fan letters, and how much they will buy the next volumes... hoping Spirou stop living in the past ...
Spirou's 65th anniversary
( regarding my feelings about 'machine qui rêve' I dont think its that good a story, nothing new, and too much a bad copy of 'Total Recall' / 'We Can Remember it for You' by P.K. Dick, one of may fav authors...)
Just Hoping that i did give you some good infos on S&F if you didnt know them, and now you will try to read some of their adventures (Even if some of the best story to discover the series arent published in English language).
If you're Europeans and well versed inS&F story, my goal wasnt to do a full 340 page on the subject (others have done it - and there are 3 books on sale this year)
2013 the year of the Groom