Tea Time Thursday: Le Journal De Spider Man

Published on August 13th, 2009

So after coming back from my travels around Europe (don’t worry folks, eventually I’ll stop talking about my holiday and move onto something else!), what do I have to show for myself in terms of comics you ask? Because after 2 weeks of going through cities across various countries, I should really have attempted to check out what comics were available.

Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve got to show for myself… Not a lot. Which is fairly shoddy concidering I was away for a whole 2 weeks. But hear me out, because there is one very good reason as to why I don’t have a lot to show for myself. That reason being that there was literally, no comics available in the places I visited. The only comics you could get were the newsagents in the train stations when we took trains to travel around. In these newsagents, if there were any comics, they were translations of recent mainstream comics, like ‘Secret Invasion’ by Marvel, or ‘Batman R.I.P’ by DC comics, and to be quite honest, I did not want to pick those up, as they were expensive, I’d read them before, and they were not exactly the kind of comics I was looking out for. I wanted to find the indie comics that these countries could produce.

Luckily however, on our final port of call on our trip in Paris, I had a stroke of jolly good luck! It was a Wednesday morning, I was viciously hungover, and my friend and I were walking down past the Siene armed to the teeth with bottles of water (to partly aid the recovery process of our events the night before, and to also keep us hydrated in the overwhelming Paris heat), when I noticed out the corner of my eye, a stand that was selling not tacky tourist nonsense, but old reprints of every kind of French magazine since the 1950s! I called out to my friend who was walking a good few meters in front of me at this point, to slow down and wait up, because I intended to give this stand a damn good look over! And guess what? To my surprise, they had a vast amount of mainstream comics, Marvel, DC and so on, but these were not reprints, no sir, these were original french takes on characters such as Daredevil, Superman and whatnot! I don’t know if Simon knows anything more about these, but Im sure he’d be interested to give the one I picked up a read!

strange203I picked up a comic called ‘Strange #203’, published in November 1986, which had a selection of stories about the X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, the list goes on, all written in french, and all set not in America, but in cities around Europe! Wonderful, this may not be an indie comic like I was looking for, but it was about as close as I was going to get seen as though we were only a few days close to getting on our flight home!

Now, I may not be able to speak the french language all too well, but I can read and understand a healthy amount, so I suppose all those french lessons I had at school payed off! My main interest was the Daredevil story, set in Venice, as Venice was one place we had been too visit on our trip! As you can see on the front cover in the picture in this artcile, it was right up my street!

The artwork is great, just like a lot of comics from the 80s that I’ve read before, but they seemed to have a slightly more noir tone to them, which appealed to me greatly, as I am a fan of the more atmospherically dark comics. I’m still getting my head around the story, but as far as I’ve managed too translate so far, it seems actually, very enjoyable!

If you’re looking to travel around Europe anytime soon, I’d probably try and locate a comic store in that city online before you actually go there, it would have helped me to have done that before I went, but still, I went, and I tried to see what I could find. And Paris turned out to be the best place! So if you’re ever in Paris, walk along the Siene and check out the stands on either side of the river, because with the amount of comics they had for sale, I don’t think there will be any worry of them selling out and moving on anytime within the next 25 years (yes, there were THAT many)!

Rob Andrews