Triple Delcourt Preview: Elves, Hauteville House & Call of the Stryx

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French publishers and digital distribution haven’t always had the most harmonious of relationships. This is the same nation that signed legislation last year (kind of) prohibiting Amazon from providing free shipping and has formally categorized books as an “essential good” next to electricity, water and bread. And though online book sales may have surged past their storefront friends as of last year, only 18% of books were sold online for Franco readers a few short years ago.

So Paste was just positively delighted when Delcourt, the French Bande dessinée publisher, decided to share its gorgeous, eclectic line of translated graphic novels with American readers through digital distributor comiXology. The development signals more than a storied publisher expanding to new territories, but a sea-change attitude for a culture traditionally devoted to the print medium.

We chatted with publisher Guy Delcourt when the news was first announced two weeks ago, and we ran into him once more at last week’s San Diego Comic Con.

“It’s a different approach,” Delcourt explained. “Certainly before, I idealized the idea of bringing our French books to the US in print. Now I’m seeing the good side of digital. It’s more accessible, it’s more flexible. If there is a bridge on translation, you can correct it later. And it looks fantastic on a screen.”

This fact is no more apparent than in books like Come Prima, which took the Fauve d’Or accolade at 2014’s Angoulême International Comics Festival. Writer/artist Alfred’s stirring road trip sends two brothers on a journey of self-realization and amendment as they trek to Italy. But Delcourt’s portfolio spans a huge swath of genres and styles, a perfect microcosm of the eclectic tastes of the publisher’s home country. Or as Delcourt describes, “in France, there is a much wider network of bookshelves. Comics are part of the book culture in general. We can sell comics everywhere, almost. It’s created the possibility of having a more diversified and livelier comics culture.”

Today, Paste presents a sampling of Delcourt’s second wave of titles, spanning such genres as steampunk (Hauteville House), military sci-fi (Call of the Stryx) and classic fantasy (Elves). All of these titles are available now on comiXology.

Elves #1

Writer: Jean-Luc Istin
Translation: Christina Cox-De Ravel
Artists: Duarte

comiXology Description: The Blue Elves of Ennlya, a small port town of Nordrenn, have been murdered! Lanawyn, a Blue Elf, and Turin, her human ally, set out to discover who is responsible. The trail they uncover leads back to a clan of Yrlans – Northern men who hate Elves. At the same time, Vaalann, a young Blue Elf, undergoes a dangerous test, that of the Water of the Senses. Her future, as divined by The Mother Prophetess, is closely linked to the Sacred Crystal… A powerful artifact, which enables the wielder to control the Ocean itself! Could Vaalann be the messiah that the Blue Elves have been waiting generations for?






Hauteville House #1

Writer: Fred Duval
Artists: Thierry Gioux, Christophe Quet

comiXology Description: 1864, under an imaginary Second Empire, Napoléon III uses his army and his secret service to study certain phenomena relating to the occult and to popular legends. His goal is quite simple: achieving world supremacy.





The Call of the Stryx #1


Writer: Eric Corbeyran
Translation: Studio Charon
Artists: Richard Guerineau

comiXology Description: Southwest United States, in the Mojave Desert on the border of Arizona, the President officially inaugurates a new military complex – a secret base with a warehouse full of weapons and nuclear warheads. But during the visit, a terrorist group attacks and tries to eliminate the President, and a mysterious woman suddenly appears out of the blue…