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New spring for the comic book novel

On Saturday, Cartoon Day is celebrated in Norway, and the Oslo visit to the Frenchman David B. launches a new spring for translated quality series.


[comics] – David B. is an international giant, and the biggest comic book star who has visited Norway since Will Eisner visited the Raptus Festival in 2003. The English translation of the comic book novel L'Ascension du Haut-Mal (Epileptic in English) was named one of 2005's ten best books by the BBC and this year's second best cartoon

series of Time, says Morten Harper, president of the Norwegian Comics Forum (NTF).

During the Oslo visit on Saturday, David B. attends exhibitions at the French Cultural Center and the Serieteket at Grünerløkka, where he will also be presented in interview form. Epileptic is an autobiographical account of the family of David B., actually Pierre-Francois Beauchard, who revolves around the big brother's epilepsy and the dreams that make him an artist. The comic book is voted the fourth best untranslated cartoon by NTF. This autumn it will be in Norwegian.

- Epileptic will be a strong candidate for the title «2006's best translated comic book». It could be this year's Persepolis, even though the competition this year will be tougher than in a long time, says Harper. Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical comic book novel about growing up in Iran in the 1980s.

After several years of drought, the market for translated quality comics is now glowing. NTF's award is intended as a challenge to Norwegian publishers and state aid schemes, but as many as three of the top ten titles will be in Norwegian this fall: No Comprendo Press releases Epileptic, Gyldendal translates Palestine by comic book journalist Joe Sacco, while Egmont publishes first album with the Crimea series Blacksad.

- This is an international trend. Both new comic book publishers and established book publishers are increasing their focus on comic book novels. David B. should have a lot of credit for the twists and turns in the series market, as one of the founders behind the leading French publisher L'Association – which has influenced the series industry in France, the USA and also in Norway, Harper concludes. Program for Comics Day can be found at:

The top ten untranslated cartoons according to NTF's rating:

1. Palestine by Joe Sacco.

2. Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware.

3. Buddha by Osamu Tezuka.

4. L'Ascension du haut mal (Epileptic) by David B.

5. Blankets by Craig Thompson.

6. Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine.

7. Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore.

8. Blacksad by Juanjo Guardino and Diaz Canales.

9. Powers by Brian M. Bendis and Michael A. Oeming.

10. Love & Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.

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