Idées Noires

Ideées Noires Belgium cover

All of Franquin’s most engaged thoughts and ideas about the world around us brought together in a luxury Italian print. This numbered edition on the cloth back includes 42 pages of sketches and illustrations as well as an ex-libris (bookplate).

Available in two versions: (1) Belgian and (2) French. The difference comes from the cover, the ex-libris (same drawing but in its (1) pencil or (2) inked version) and the print: 1000 copies for the Belgian version and 2000 copies for the French version.

  • Fluide Glacial, December 2017
  • ISBN 978-2-3520-7983-6 (Belgian) and 978-2-3520-7983-5 (French)
  • 36 cm x 26 cm (14″ x 10″), 176 pages
  • € 130.00
  • Order online: Amazon
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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

Ideées Noires interior 1
Ideées Noires interior 2
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This was recommended on the forum as there was a massive sale going on so I picked it up. The publisher doesn’t list the book on its site, but some online research shows the two versions and the differences. It seems the Belgian version has a smaller print run, an illustrated cover and a pencil version of the bookplate. It was this version on sale so that’s what I ended up with.

Scans are clear and without issue. Gradients visible in blacks. Some correction fluid. Some margin notes. More pencil than I’ve seen in any AE format book, and the smudges to go along with it. The art is well presented.

This is a numbered edition, marked in pencil on the colophon and bookplate. No signature.

Ideées Noires interior 5
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Ideées Noires interior 9

The design is very simple. Artboards presented on each page. No table of contents, introduction or biography. There is a chapter divider for the sketch section but that’s about it. The red endpapers are almost jarring in their contrast with the rest of the content. Idée Noire #35 is vertical instead of horizontal and is presented as a foldout glued to the back endpaper.

Production is exceptional. A sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The binding feels unique in that the endpapers aren’t completely glued to the cover, with about an inch on either side of the spine. This allows the signatures to shift when you’re flipping and the entire book sits flat. The book comes shrink-wrapped.

Ideées Noires interior 10
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Ideées Noires interior 13

This book in either of its incarnations doesn’t appear on the publisher’s site. It appears to be an issue of site renovations, but puzzling nonetheless. The introductory blurb was cobbled together from online merchant descriptions.

This is available in English from Fantagraphics as Die Laughing.