Writer: Jean-Franҫois Di Giorgio
Artists: Frédéric Genêt, Delphine Rieu
Titan Comics, 2018
QUOTIDIAN GIVES THE RIGHT SENSE of elegance to day-to-day beauty simply here now. If all my life spent in poverty could inhabit the terrain of the SAMURAI according to writer Jean-Franҫois Di Giorgio, and artists Frédéric Genêt and Delphine Rieu, I would be happy enough to live a quotidian life of water‑soaked colors and human splendors planted in a vaster forested and mountained landscape of old Japan. In the original French, Samurai appears in twelve albums through 2018. Brothers in Arms, the seventh album, is the latest to appear in English in six issues. I have to say I told you so on this one. It appears everything is better when it begins in French.
When I reached the two-page spread shown here in part, with panels crowded around the edges, I flattened the book on the table and fell into it. The fine art is fashioned over bleeding colors that always stay in the lines, as if traced over afterward. I was quickly not only immersed in the art, but submerged, with text bubbling past like occasional fish talk in an alternate universe. The art is in a familiar European style; and more subtly, the pace is in a familiar European style, too, as after an interlude a bubble says “Why are we stopping?” and another replies, “Because we are here,” finding no more words needed to say where we are or how we got here. The art speaks enough.
I am not through the story yet, left on a cliff-hanger as things go from bad to worse, though the two recently reunited samurai brothers appear to be working together a little at last. I have yet to see the main character, Takeo, break a sweat dealing with villains, but that looks like it may have to change soon. The whole tale is a series of journeys from one place to the next in a picturesque country where no details are spared in people and things. Speech comes and goes.
Checking the pace and caprice in the story with original European albums on the shelf revealed a primary difference in the size of the book. Size does matter. European strips are published in oversize albums, similar in size to our Absolute versions, made to assemble with the rest of your art books. With art like this, bigger is better. Check out new editions in Samurai as these beautiful tales reach us across the distance. I say, collect it in any language and any size you can find.