Bandes dessinées are a great way to enrich your enjoyment of French, both as a native speaker and as a French learner! This style of storytelling is unlike any other, combining text and images to tell stories from all sections of our library shelves. Our first post focused on stories that featured the nitty gritty details of historical fiction and crime solving (find our movie and TV suggestions for this genre here!), so this post aims to take you beyond the comfortable bounds of our history textbooks and serialized crime solving. Why don’t we add a little magic?

Some of these books were originally published in a language other than French - can you spot the translations?

With the resurgence in popular culture of comics through Marvel and DC movies and TV series, the first thing many people think of when comic books or graphic novels are brought up are superheroes. While bandes dessinées have run with this trend to a lesser extent than their American counterparts, superpowers and the people who unexpectedly develop them are a fun topic to explore in any language! Check out our selections below:

Superheroes

Strangelands Two strangers from different countries are thrown together by an unknown power that threatens to destroy the world if Elakshi and Adam are separated. The weight of the world is literally on this relationship.

Ignited After surviving an attack on their school, six teenagers find themselves with super powers they cannot explain. The students find themselves battling both the trauma of their survival and the mystery surrounding their newfound gifts.

Omni After an incident in Africa leaves her changed forever, doctor Cecelia Cobbina gains the ability to process thought at impossible speeds. Cecelia is suddenly faced with the burden of having an answer for just about everything, except for the truth behind her new power.


Now, if we look to the past, who are the superheroes of old? The legendary heroes that populate our myths! With stories ranging across the map from the Nordic seas to the heart of ancient Greece, the small towns of Northern Britain to medieval Japan, this selection will be sure to pique your interest in a super way.

Mythology

Sirènes et vikings Who do you think would win in a fight, mermaids or vikings? While I’m not sure that’s the exact question that started this series, I don’t think it’s far off! In the world of this series, the Nordic seas are populated with cruel mythological monsters (including mermaids!) who clash with the land-bound vikings who want to conquer the sea. These 4 volumes contain independent stories set in the same universe, each written by a different duo of authors.

Le Feu De Thésée A retelling of the legend of Theseus, the hero of Athens, who’s most celebrated victory was slaying the Minotaur. What if everything we know of this hero, passed down through generations, is based on a lie? If, instead of a hero, Athens was championed by a heroine?

Bonus!

These graphic novels from the mythology section are available in translation. See if you can spot any differences between these and their francophone counterparts:

Nicnevin et la reine de sang When Nicnevin, a seemingly normal young woman in Great Britain, is targeted by a druid hoping to reawaken ancient powers, he has no idea how wrong his plans are about to go. A tale of black magic, suspense, and horror set against the English countryside.

Le Masque De Fudo in medieval Japan, Shinnosuke grew up in the lowest class of his society. Everything changes when he finds a wooden mask in an abandoned temple. The mask starts affecting him more and more, encouraging violence beyond his previous history of protecting his younger sister.

Izunas Drawing from Japanese mythology, this BD follows the eternal battle between Izuna wolves, protectors of the Sacred Tree, and the Noggos demons. This conflict defines the border between the land of men and that of spirits… a border that suddenly seems less definite with the mysterious appearance of a young girl within the pack.

Hoopla’s bandes dessinées collection is borrowable for 21 days at a time, giving readers plenty of time to get wrapped up in each installment! This post is part two of a three part recommendation series, so keep an eye out for more BDs soon.

What are you planning to read first? Bonne lecture !

Ingrid began her passion for French through the immersion program in Milton, MA, and has followed it around France and the world. She took a break from this first love to pursue a B.A. in English with a minor in Irish Studies at Boston College and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College. She is thrilled to meld her excitement for libraries and French language and culture in her position at the Center!

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