Why you should read European comics

DC and Marvel, move over.

A statue of Corto Maltese, an icon of European comics

When we hear the word “comics”, we usually think about American comics, particularly superhero comics. There’s nothing wrong with superhero comics, but there’s so much more out there. Those who’ve fallen in love with manga through anime (or the other way around) already know this. The problem is that most otaku are fixated with Japanese culture, so they don’t tend to explore other comics outside of the world they know and love.

Now, you may argue that you read graphic novels (some people hate this term, but it’s actually pretty useful for differentiating), that you’re familiar with Alan Moore’s work, or that you’re a big fan of Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead”. That’s fantastic. That’s what I’m aiming at. But most people just stop there; they don’t go beyond the already successful comics.

This isn’t comics-exclusive: it happens with films and literature as a whole.

5 very good reasons to get into Euro comics

Tintin in English
  • The classics: Euro comics have a huge history. I bet you’ve heard of Tintin, Corto Maltese, and/or Astérix. These 3 are not only considered works of art; they’re also 3 great examples of Franco-Belgian bande dessinée. (Even though Corto Maltese’s creator, Hugo Pratt, was Italian, many comics developed in France or with this style are considered BD.)
  • Not just the classics: Many readers only scratch the surface of European comics, starting with the classics, and they may fall in love with them -or they might feel really dated. There’s a whole world to explore out there: new, talented authors, artists, and titles.
  • Lots of genres: Love science fiction? Then you’re in for a treat. If you’ve ever had contact with something by Alejandro Jodorowsky, you know he’s not your typical writer. Looking for movie-like thrillers? You’ll always have Jean Van Hamme’s Largo Winch and XIII. There’s something for every taste.
  • A more mature focus: Many European comics have been censored or modified for foreign audiences because creators aren’t afraid of being bold. That’s why except for (originally) children-oriented BD such as Tintin, most of these are seen as graphic novels.
  • Adaptations: As you may have noticed, I’ve mentioned several characters and comics which have received adaptations and you’ve probably watched at least one of them (and maybe you didn’t know it was an adaptation). Isn’t it great to go to the original source?

The problems: Availability and foreign languages

Another bat-problem.

It’s true: these comics aren’t everywhere like, say, the latest Batman issue. But nowadays, thanks to our beloved internet, we get access to the catalogs of the major (and some minor) publishers. And while sometimes they can be a bit expensive, you can always look for promotions or, better yet, e-comics.

If you’re fluent in a foreign language, that can be an asset when it comes to reading these comics. If you’re not, you may find a new interest/hobby; many people started learning Japanese when they discovered manga/anime and really wanted to read/watch their favorite series.


TL:DR

I’m not telling you to read only European comics, but I chose those, as well as that title, to make a point — that we shouldn’t (only) read American comics. I could give you many reasons why you should read Akira, but I don’t think you need them (if you do, then I need to write another article).


Hope you found this interesting. If you did, please A) like B) recommend C) share on social networks D) all of the above (D’s the best!) and if you’ve got something to say, do not hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch @comicsoddity

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