The wartime story of Spirou, by Émile Bravo, set to draw to a powerful close

Spirou No. 4321 - cover by Émile Bravo

The latest issue of Spirou – the oldest Belgian comics magazine still in production – starts to serialise “L’espoir malgré tout” (“Hope at the End of the Night”), the final part of Émile Bravo‘s powerful reimagining of the story of adventurer Spirou during the war.

Bravo has been telling the story of the occupation of Belgium in a series of albums that manage to combine the charm and inncocnce of the Spirou character with an unmistakable and heartbreaking undercurrent of horror.

The cover of the latest issue of Spirou (No. 4321) by Émile Bravo is a perfect example, as we witness Spirou and friends boarding a train destined for Auschwitz.

The previous books are all available digitally in English through Europe Comics and I can hardly wait for the next. In the menatime, a view of the cover – and the preview pages featured on the title’s web site – is about as much as I’m going to get for a few months.

Spirou No. 4321 - Hope September Everything Recap - strip by Émile Bravo
Spirou No. 4321 - Hope September Everything - strip by Émile Bravo

I reviewed Hope, Against All Odds the last book for downthetubes here. This is just about as good as comics get, I think, and a model for the type of material that could build a wider readership for the medium.

The first book in English is available here as a digital edition from Europe Comics

Images from the Spirou website

Peter Duncan is editor of Sector 13, Belfast’s 2000AD fanzine and Splank! – an anthology of strips inspired by the Odhams titles, Wham!, Smash! and Pow! He’s also writer of Cthulhu Kids. Full details of his comics activities can be found at www.boxofrainmag.co.uk



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1 reply

  1. As a reader of (mostly) Franquin’s Spirou since the mid 1990s, I was a bit dubious about this series. I feared it was taking an established character and carrying him so far from his usual world that he’d be lost in the process. But I must admit, I’ve been very impressed with these books. The wackiness is gone – you can’t imagine the Marsupilami bouncing around in them – but I think the author had kept the spirit of Spirou and Fantasio. Spirou was always a bit of a crib from Tintin (a boy who appears to be in his mid teens with an animal sidekick who gets into globetrotting adventures under the guise of journalism) and this comes across as one of the more serious Tintin adventures (such as The Blue Lotus). I love the new larger “grand format” too. Hopefully Cinebook will pick these up for a physical release in English.

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