French comics that will make you go on a journey

Graphic novels are more and more popular in France. The difference between comics and graphic novels is basically the fact that graphic novels are usually longer and more complex than the comics are. By the way, do you know "The Arab of the Future" by Riad Sattouf? It is a successful graphic novel whose 4th volume is going to be released on the 30th of August of 2018. Do you know other graphic novels? Here are some graphic novels written in French that will undoubtedly make you travel!

© Riad Sattouf – Allary Editions

The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

Riad Sattouf is a French-Syrian cartoonist whose comics and graphic novels are written in French. His most famous and successful piece is probably The Arab of the Future: a graphic novel in which Sattouf recounts his childhood in the Middle East. More specifically, the story takes place in Libya and Syria during the 1970s and 1980s. Reading this graphic novel is the perfect way to travel through time to those countries and get to know what life there was like before the wars of the 21th century.

The 4th volume is released in France on the 30th of August of 2018. All the other volumes have been translated to English.


Les Descendants ou l’appel de la Pampa by Pauline Aubry

This autobiographical graphic novel recounts the journey that Pauline Aubry started when she was 24 years old. Aubry is a French woman whose great grandparents met on a boat  on their way to Argentina. This background led her to travel across the ocean in order to discover Argentina and part of South America. In this graphic novel, she’s taking us with her in this journey made of Argentinian adventures, love and self-discovery.

There is no English translation for this graphic novel whose title could be translated as “The Descendants or the Call of the Pampas”.

© Pauline Aubry – Les Arènes BD


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian-French artist whose works are usually in French. In Persepolis, her masterpiece, she describes her childhood in Tehran, her life as a teenarger in Austria and then her return to Iran when she was 19 years old. In the first Persepolis volume, Satrapi describes her life starting from 1979 just before the Iranian Revolution; the story told in the 4th and last volume ends in 1988 after the Iran – Iraq war is finished. Thus, throughout the 4 parts of her graphic novel, Satrapi shows us how was life in Iran during one of the most crucial moments of the country.

The English translation of Persepolis is made of 2 parts, but the story is the same as the French version.


© Guy Delisle – Delcourt

The graphic novels by Guy Delisle

Guy Delisle is a Canadian cartoonist who is mostly famous for his autobiographical graphic novels, among his other works. In those graphic novels, Delisle depicts his years living abroad: he worked and lived in Shenzhen and Pyongyang and then lived in Rangoon and Jerusalem where his wife used to work. Through his pieces, we can learn a lot both about the history of the countries Delisle has lived in and about how is the daily life in those countries. His graphic novels are a mix of humour and travel.

The French version of Delisle’s graphic novel entitled Hostage is available on Culturethèque!

All of Delisle’s graphic novels about his travels have been translated to English.


Prendre refuge by Zeina Abirached and Mathias Enard

The French writer Mathias Enard and the Lebanese illustrator Zeina Abirached worked together to create this graphic novel. Prendre refuge will make you travel through space and time, between the Eastern and the Western worlds, from 1939 in Afghanistan, a country that doesn’t know yet the Taliban movement, to 2016 in Berlin, in the shoes of a Syrian refugee. This graphic novel will be released on the 5th of September of 2018, in France.

There is no information about an English translation yet. However, the title could be translated as “Take Shelter”.

© Zeina Abirached & Mathias Enard – Casterman
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