Newman – Follini- Orbe (A)
Available November, 2011-10-26
Company website: www.editions-jungle.com
This book arrived as a complete surprise to me. Now, my French is very basic so I was a bit worried as to whether I’d be able to tell what was going on. I need not have worried.
I had no idea that Guerre Des Boutons (War of the Buttons) was a novel written by Louis Pergaud in 1912. I also never knew that the current film was the latest of five to be based on the book –the first in 1935 and a better known version from 1962. The book is still, apparently, in print so it can’t be that bad –we are talking a hundred years now (gulp!).
War of the Buttons, a novel of my twelfth year (full title) was described by Pergaud as being about the “war” being by gangs of children from two rival villages -Longeverne and Velrans, in the French countryside and originally set in the late 19th century. This BD sets the story in April, 1944 (presumably as in the film).
Every Autumn the children go to ‘war’. Those from Langverne led by Braque and those from Velrans led by Aztec:’war’ without mercy fought with sticks, fists, feet and stones. The defeated have their buttons cut off –hence the title. And, of course, a kid returning home with torn clothing and all the buttons removed usually gets a scolding from their parents.
But there is more as the adults of Longeverne have to deal with their own bully –something that later involves the children to resolve the matter. It is a bitter sweet tale and the thing is that before even attempting to read the book I knew what was going on just via the panels.
The story is presumably written well enough by Newman to guide the art team of Follini and Orbe in a way that tells the story in pictures alone. The art style is slightly Manga influenced but is full of fun and some very eye-catching panels.
You should be able to order online and it is worth getting a copy even though on both the info sheet and online I cannot find a cover price.
One day, maybe, Cinebook will publish an English language version…?