Sky Doll = Great Import!

Everything’s better in France, or at least Paris. Hear me out. The first and most obvious example is the food. Certainly in America we have some good food – some great food. But what we don’t have is the history of extraordinary food that France does. Just think of the pastries! Oh the pastries…

Then, of course, there is the wine. Sure loads of other countries are making very, very, very nice wines – but France scores points with the history again. People aren’t dropping the same kind of money for Korbel as they are for Dom Perignon.

Next, let us consider the architecture in France – wowza. It’s hard to argue the inherent beauty that is a Mansard roof and the Second Empire style. Walking the streets of Paris conjures images of fine art, romance, burlesque dancers – basically everything that is right in the world. It’s certainly different than the seeing barren strip malls that abound in America’s suburbs – all they conjure are thoughts of abandoned skating rinks and Radio Shack. Also abundant in France is also the lovely Art Nouveau style – even though it’s not unique to France – it is certainly most prevalent there.

Also important to consider is the fact that Paris is the city of love. Love abounds there more than in any other city. If you tell somebody that you are headed to Paris with your honey they say “Oh… how romantic.” If you tell somebody that you are heading to Oklahoma City with your honey they say “WTF?!?!? I mean… er… that sounds nice.” All things considered, everything is a little more beautiful in France – even when it rains.

And then there are the comic books. Now I am by no means an expert on French comics. I’m not even an expert on American comic books. But until very recently if you asked me about French comics I would tell you that all they have is Asterix & Obelix and Tintin (technically Belgian). Both are certainly great – but I think in this country they might be viewed on par with Archie. Fortunately my limited knowledge of French comics expanded on a visit to my LCS a few months ago. I picked up a copy of Sky Doll.

This book is originally published by Soleil – a French publishing company that is producing 250 new books a year. It was brought over by Marvel in attempt to expose American audiences to great books from around the world. The story, art and colors are by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa (both Italian).

So what makes this book good? First thing is that each issue (there are three total) is 48 pages. I love long books, or, I hate books that are good but short. I get so bummed when it’s over just when it’s getting good.

The art of Sky Doll is also amazing. The details, the colors, the lighting – it’s just downright good art.

And then there is the story. It is a science fiction world that closely resembles a modern Christian society. The book deals with love, friendships, mortality, prostitution, politics, religion – all the good stuff. If you draw enough parallels to our own society the book even has potential to really make some people upset – and that is part of what makes it so good in my opinion.

Of course, the book is not perfect. With the 48 pages comes a price tag of $5.99. Additionally – since there are only 3 issues I’m not sure if it will make it to trade format. So, if you missed it, you might be searching for issues.

Another negative – there are lots of panels with lots of words. I hesitate to say this is “bad” – but it certainly needs a certain amount of concentration. If you’re the type of person that reads your books with a movie on in the background, or  while working at a daycare – well – this wasn’t that type of book for me. I needed to read it carefully. There weren’t a lot of splash pages with “BOOM” or the like.

The last little negative is the “Mature Content” label. I hate that label because it always makes me feel like a dirty old man. The art does contain some alien breasts – and it earns the mature rating – but it is certainly not explicit. I just swallowed my pride and bought it.

If you can find it, it is worth checking out. Yes, it’s going to run you $18 – but I feel like it’s $18 well spent.

 

Comments

  1. Nothing wrong with complaining about clutter.  I’ve always thought of comics as sort of akin to poetry.  There is definitely a conservation of language in both.  I’m not saying that comics can’t be wordy (I actually like it when they are) but I believe that the words used need to be carefully chosen.  Execution is key.  I might just pick this up.  The guy at my LCS has been chattering about it for a month or so too.  Sounds fun at least.

  2. I picked up this series too, much to the dismay of my girlfriend. I had a blast reading it, and I agree that it is worth the price.

  3. Nice Gordon, though I can’t believe you’ve never heard of The Black Smurfs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Schtroumpfs_noirs 

    No… wait. I can absolutely believe you’ve never heard of them.

    No doubt, the French do know their art and their pastry, though it can get touchy. I was thrown out of a Parisian cafe once for eating the wrong croissant at the wrong time. 

  4. This was a great book, and I like to think that I have a good sense about what new things that no one’s heard of yet are out there that I should be picking up.  That sense tingled when I saw the ads for this in random issues of Marvel comics, and by god, it payed off.

  5. From what I hear the europeans take their comics seriously, including Asterix and Tintin. French is my first languag and I grew reading Tintin and Asterix. I also relished the Asteris movies. Yup, they made movies. They are awesome!

  6. This series is comming out in hardcover in October and is priced at $24.99.  I just added it to my August DCBS order and at 50% off is even cheaper than going back an buying it in issues.

  7. Salut les amis!  C’est bien chouette de parler des bandes dessiner Francais!

    hehe

    Seriously, as a kid, I read Tintin and Asterix and Obelix more then any other comic.  The local libaries contained complete collections.  You’ve got to love how they all come in those sweet oversized hardcover format. 

  8. Perhaps I should have mentioned – I LOVE Asterix and Obelix as well as Tintin.  I just wish they recieved more praise in the states.  Maybe they do and I’m jsut running with the wrong crowds…

  9. I didnt read this one but im thoroughly ivested in the next one from Soliel, Universal World War, and its amzing!

  10. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    God damn I love the Tintin.  

    Definitely gonna check out Sky Doll.   

  11. I got a free Sky Doll preview handed to me in a shop a few months ago and resolved to check it out once it was collected… although it sounds like that is a less certain proposition than I assumed. I was a little hesitant because of the "mature" content you mention (and by the way, has a word ever come to be more misused than "mature" has in this century?) not because I felt like a dirty old man but because I felt like the creators might be. Your recommendation made somebody some money they might not otherwise have gotten today, sir.

  12. The hardcover is coming in Ocotber-ish.

  13. I tried the first issue of Sky Doll, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Like rift1128, though, I thought Universal War One is as good as anything I’ve read in a while.

  14. France as so many amazing books. I live in Canada, in Quebec more precisely and I’m french-speaking, so before I got into American comics, I was into the french comics and mangas (they have an amazing market for manga in France, too). The thing is, its really expensive, compared to comic back-issues. Mangas are expensive too but, well I liked those more, so I have a lot. But the point is that yeah, they have really great books (Donjon, the Aldébaran cycle, Grand Vampire, just to name a few) but the’re expensive (since they come in great hardcover format). Whats fun with Marvel doing French Comics is that its less expensive, like, at the same time. The cost is ventilated in three so its less harsh on the wallet. But I still don’t buy them ’cause I feel like I’m cheating since I could read them in French – and Sky Doll never really hooked me. But if Marvel comes up with a monthly Aldebaran translation or something and it mean cheaper costs, man, I’m gonna pick that up, because that was so good.

    By the way, that was my first comment, Hi everybody, and sorry if sometimes my english is kinda messy, like I said, I’m french speaking.

  15. @tittom – welcome.  Thanks for the insight on French books – there’s a whole world of stuff that we should all be looking into. 

    Your English was fine – but you can feel free to write your comments in French if you prefer.  It’s a prettier language anyway.

  16. Yeah, I’m kinda sad I stopped collecting those, I mean its not like the money I’m putting in comics could not go in french comics. I still buy some mangas, keeping track of some series – I buy them all in french, there more expensive actually, almost 6$ more. But I still try to buy some here and there, and I ask for some for Christmas or my birthday. An author that absolutely recommend to all of you is Joann Sfar (Grand Vampire, Petit Vampire, Donjon), his art is absolutely gorgeous and his stories are amazing, mixing fantasy, jewish stuff, monsters, vampires, golems, and all that kind of stuff, its amazing.) I know he is translated in english, if you wanna check it out, its totally worth it.

    Je peux écrire en français? Est-ce que les gens comprennent?

    Would be mostly illogical to see Marvel publish Les Mondes d’Aldébaran (litteraly, the Worlds of Aldébaran) since they only do Soleil stuff. And I haven’t heard of an english version, but this is really an amazing serie. It’s about mankind colonizing other planets, each arc consisting of one planet, Aldébaran, Bételgeuse and Antares. Each consist of 5 books (17$ each, that’s a lot of money..but, I could save money…I should actually) and you get to see all king of weird animals and stuff, its great. If my memory’s intact, it also deal about an almost God-like creature, that can influence the whole planet ecosystem called The Mantisse. That’s what I recall. Was really a great read.

  17. I’m afraid to visit Paris or Quebec.  I’d go bankrupt buying books I couldn’t possibly read, then spend all my free time in front of the Babelfish translating the panels until I forced myself to learn French.  The problem is, all the "Learn French" books and audio programs are assuming you want to speak it. I just want to read it.  I don’t care if I can’t pronounce it or write in it.  I just want to be able to READ a French comic.  I have a few in my collection.  They’re beautiful.  BUt I’ve only ever translated half of them for myself.

     

    I came to ASTERIX late, but have read just about all of it in the last three or four year.  I need to get to TINTIN next.  I’m sadly lacking there, though I do have a compilation of the first three books sitting around here somewhere.  

     

  18. Yeah, every learn[insert language] assumes you want to talk it. Tintin and Asterix are classics. I’m not that much into those ones, but an amazing classic series that I love is Philemon, where that dude fall into a water well and end up in the Atlantic ocean, where each letter, A-T-L-A-N-T-I-Q-U-E is an island, as if you know, when you read a map, whats written is really there and not just written, with really strange creatures and stuff, like trees that grow bottle, walking giant hands, centaurs and a lot of crazy shit. I’ve never got to read more thant maybe 3 albums but, there’s one for each letter, maybe more, and I heard it just gets better. My dad used to have them but now he just has like 2 albums.