I am so glad we’re seeing more international works translated into English and hope we see more of them in 2016. Most of these works were released (or re-released) in 2015, but a few come from previous years. If you don’t typically read international comics, I urge you to try at least one of the books from this list.
The Leaning Girl (original French edition 1996, English edition 2013) François Schuiten, Benoit Peeters, Marie-Françoise Plissart (Alaxis Press)
Mary Von Rathen and her family visit an amusement park named Alaxis, where Mary steps off a dazzling ride only to discover that she now leans at a 45 degree angle. In another story, an astronomer named Wappendorf may have discovered a new planet, and in another, a painter named Augustin struggles to find himself as an artist. Although the three stories seem to have nothing in common, they all converge into a wonderful blend of science and fantasy, consisting of exquisite comic art and black-and-white photography. I’m hoping that all of the books from The Obscure Cities series will be released in English. This large, gorgeous book from Alaxis Press is a gem. Don’t miss it. (The book was discussed by Derek and Andy K. on The Comics Alternative Podcast.)
Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn (1970/2014) Hugo Pratt (IDW EuroComics)
Some of the Corto Maltese volumes – originally published in Italy – have been previously available in English, but suffer either from poor translations, less than stellar prints, or both. Thanks to IDW for releasing handsome new editions of these books. The second book, Corto Maltese: Beyond the Windy Isles is now available. The third book, Corto Maltese: Celtic Tales releases in February. Read more here.
The Train (2010/2014) Chihoi, Hung Hung (Conundrum Press)
Hong Kong artist Chihoi’s adaptation of a story by Taiwanese writer Hung Hung follows a train passenger as he wonders what life must be like outside the train. The Train is a strange journey, rendered in beautiful pencil work and somewhat hard to grasp until you read the prose section near the end of the book, which is essential for understanding the story.
Tex: The Lonesome Rider (2005/2015) Claudio Nizzi, Joe Kubert (Dark Horse)
The Tex Willer western comics have been going strong in Italy since 1948, but I’m not sure if many (or any) have been translated into English. This is a newer tale (originally published in 2005) from Claudio Nizzi and American comics legend Joe Kubert. If you love westerns and western comics, you won’t want to miss this superb tale of revenge and frontier justice. Earlier in the year, Derek and I discussed this one at The Comics Alternative.
Run Like Crazy Run Like Hell (2013/2015) Jacques Tardi, Jean-Patrick Manchette (Fantagraphics)
This excellent adaption of a 1970s crime novel by Manchette is the perfect story for the talents of Jacques Tardi, a neo-noir story of a rich industrialist named Hartog, who hires a disturbed young woman named Julie as a nanny for his brat of a nephew Peter. But things go dark quickly and Julie emerges as a tough-as-nails heroine who’ll do anything to protect Peter. Anything by Tardi is worth your time, but this one will appeal especially to noir and neo-noir fans.
Last Man: The Stranger (2013/2015) Balak, Michaël Sanlauille, Bastien Uluès (First Second)
This series translated from the French from First Second is highly addictive, but loads of fun! Read more about it here.
Astro Boy Omnibus Volume 1 (2015) Osamu Tezuka (Dark Horse)
Tezuka remains a phenomenon in Japan and should be everywhere. Astro Boy – the first manga to be adapted for animation many years ago – is pure, joyous fun. Not only are these stories about a robot boy entertaining, they also contain underlying issues of depth. Tezuka’s artwork is absolutely brilliant in its execution with a very approachable style. If you’ve never read manga before, have no fear – you’ll enjoy this.
This comic strip/graphic novel may be new to American audiences, but in Argentina and other parts of South America, it’s a cultural icon. I’m almost finished with the book and have purposefully avoided reading the introduction, afterword, or any information as to the political nature of the book. All I can say is The Eternaut is a top-notch science fiction story. It’s also my favorite translated comic from 2015. You should read it.
Update: The Eternaut is current out of stock at both Amazon and Fantagraphics. When it’s back in stock, jump on it fast.
(Images from publishers)