This album from the “VO” collection (Version Originale) is made up of reproductions of original boards by André Franquin, keeping their original aspect. The lines are printed, not in black and white, but in colour. Many new details then appear, as if you were at the master’s drawing board. The yellowed paper, the remains of pencils under the oily ink, the retouching with white gouache, the notes in the margins, the printed blue lines which serve as staves for the lettering, … Everything has been preserved for an unprecedented exploration of the work of Franquin. The “VO” collection approaches the universe of “Spirou and Fantasio”, story by story, by presenting all the plates published in the beautiful journal of Spirou; including strips or pages which, sometimes, were not included in the “general public” album. It also offers all the graphic (illustrations, advertisements) and editorial elements published in the magazine, in parallel with each adventure of the “groom en rouge”.
- Marsu Productions, September 2013
- ISBN 978-2-354-26107-8
- 31 x 43 cm, 112 pages, hardcover
- 119.00 €
- Order online: Amazon.fr, CollectorBD
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.
The complete original art for Le Prisonnier Du Bouddha storyline that appeared in Spirou magazine issues 1048-1082. Only five pieces of original art are missing; I say pieces as a lot of the “pages” appear to be two pieces taped together for the album, and two of these half pages and three full pages are reproductions. As noted in the introduction, each issue ran three pieces of art, number 1A, 1B1, 1B2, etc. For the albums, the art would be recut and rearranged, but here we get it as it was originally published.
Scan quality is excellent: no soft images, blur or digital artifacts. The art has aged fairly well, appearing slight tan to slight yellow to tan. A lot of margin notes but mostly for production. Blacks show gradients in the inks. Many, many pages have ruled blue pencil for the word balloons. Stains from tape and glue residue. Very little correction fluid. One replaced panel. Overall an excellent representation of original art from 1958-59.
There are a lot of extras included. In fact, the book is about one-third extras. If my French was better I would probably appreciate them more: there are many pages from the published Spirou magazine, along with ads, articles, and original cover art. The introduction provides context for the original art, which is always helpful. The bibliography is a nice touch.
The design is direct with a luxury feel. The red from the cover and spine carry through to the endpapers and page headers. The original art varies slightly in dimensions so we see some pages with no borders. The extras are arranged like a scrapbook with overlapping cutouts; very inviting. I do appreciate a cloth spine.
Production is excellent. A sewn binding of very thick matte paper; it feels thicker than 170gsm. The book comes in a cardboard mailer, which keeps the book for shipping but it’s not a “case” as we’re used to from North American AE format publishers.
This is a numbered book, with the colophon listing 2040 regular editions and 100 non-commercial editions. My volume is 1862, written in pencil. I was unable to find the publisher’s solicitation or information for this volume and relied on reseller websites.