The comic-book scene in France is like nothing anywhere else in the world. Here it is dubbed The Ninth Art, and enjoys book sales comparable to that of the national literary market. While in the UK and America our knowledge of Franco-Belgian comics may extend only as far as Asterix and Tintin, the fact is there are thousands upon thousand of titles covering a whole range of genres and sub-genres for readers of all ages.
It goes without saying that the majority of comic books produced are only available in French as most publishers believe that there is little or no interest for their titles outside the French-speaking world, and certainly not in French.
Personally I think otherwise, which is why I volunteered my services to French publisher Delcourt, to translate my favourite title, Garulfo, into English. Hoping that it may result in the six book series being released, eventually, in my mother tongue.
Brilliantly conceived, written and realised, Garulfo is a modern fairytale about a frog who makes a deal with a witch (or ‘fairy’ as he calls her) so that he may become a handsome Prince; which he does – but with hilarious results. Most crucially, in his quest to find a Princess, Garulfo finds that his idea of beauty does not correlate with that of the human world, much to the chagrin of the very attractive, but spoilt, Princess Noémi. Having found his true love however (a slim little tree-frog), Garulfo is then forced to team up with the detestable Prince Romuald to try and win Noémi’s hand – or risk remaining in human form for the rest of his days. Frog-kissing though, is not high on the Princess’s agenda.
Over and above the clever plot twists and dynamic imagery, the many colourful characters in this masterpiece make it a joy to read again and again. Suitable for ages 12 and up it is a book I am happy to recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in the classics by Hergé or Uderzo and Goscinny.
If you are a British, American or Australasian publisher I strongly recommend that you get in touch to request a copy of the translated proof version of this French best-seller. Unfortunately I am unable to release the proof to readers and comic fans – so please don’t ask (instead – please put pressure on your favourite publisher to get in touch with me!)