Just A Thought: European Comics

Just a Thought is a weekly column where writer Brent Chittenden muses about comic book news, views and opinions. Brent’s views and opinions are not necessarily those of Comic Book Daily, it’s editors, writers or staff.

Well no sooner had my last column been posted then I found I did have a slight correction to be made after being alerted to it by Pete (who wants everyone to know that he smells like a man) among others.

Judge Dredd is being collected in big phone books. Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files is available through 2000AD’s store and amazon.com and amazon.ca.  In fact not only are they out, they are already up to volume 13.

Good news for me, bad for my credit card.

Dredd is one of those things in life that while it doesn’t really change, it’s still awesome. Like Slayer or AC/DC.

2000ad_logoI first encountered this very no nonsense Street Judge in a comic that came out of one of those variety packs I mentioned in a previous column. He was violent, took crap from no one and had a sweet motor cycle. And we never really got to see what Dredd looked like beyond his chin and general physique.

The one thing that has rather surprised me is how Dredd never really caught on in North America. The setting is awesome; sci-fi city mixed with the nuclear wastes beyond it. Time travel is possible, they have shiny costumes, but yet Dredd and his crew never quite broke out here.

But thus is the way of major European trends: Blur, Oasis, Doctor Who (well okay that seems to have changed with the recent series), European comics are no different.

Take Tintin for example.  Despite being huge pretty much everywhere but North America. Ask your average North American kid, they will have no idea who you’re talking about. Asking an older North American adult, they will ask:

“You mean the dog?”

Maybe this will change with the up coming film adaptations although from the sounds of things, it was a very uphill battle to get the film made.

And let us not forget the French. Moebius, Jodorowky and a ton more have been toiling away on French comics for years with rather large followings but yet we only know a little about them here. Metabarons for instance is an amazing book.  Take equal parts Dune, Star Wars and LSD add a dash of Moebius, dump them in a blender, put on puree, vola, Metabarons!

I know what some of you are saying, “But Brent, DC published Metabarons trades in North America.”

And you would be correct.  They did but they stopped. The whole series is hard to find in North American trades due to bouncing back and forth between publishing entities. Apparently they printed the trades 1 through 6 in English but even from looking at Humanoids English website, finding the trades beyond 4 seems a little daunting. Looking through Amazon I get the same result.

I guess the best way to look at it is European comics are like soccer  They are rather popular everywhere else in the world BUT North America.  That doesn’t make them any less valid.

And the moment you laugh at that idea, take a peruse through your comic collection.

I’ll wait…


Now did the names Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Alan Grant, Simon Bisley, Brian Bolland, Garth Ennis or Steve Dillon appear in there?

All 2000 AD alumni.

Maybe it’s time to take a look at European comics eh?

Just a thought.

Brent Chittenden is a Canadian based writer who occasionally writes for Explore Music as well as Comic Book Daily. He is the co-host, co-producer, co-creator of Two A$$holes Talking About Nerd Stuff, a podcast, blog and general holy terror found at www.nerdholes.blogspot.com.

When he’s not at work at all that stuff, he can be found roaming the countryside, getting into adventures with his loyal sidekick, Ping.

Brent Chittenden
Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a Canadian freelance writer currently writing for alancross.ca, geekhardshow.com and his own pop culture podcast, TATANS. He is readily available for writing and speaking gigs. Brent like sandwiches.

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