In what might be a welcome turn, the Dungeon series, which has become increasingly dark, goes various shades of goofy in its latest volume from NBM, the 14th in the series.
In the first title story, drawn by Jean-Emmanuel Vermot-Desroches, his first graphic novel, Horus the Sorcerer is seen in earlier years in school wheeling and dealing his way to power already but set up by someone out to embarrass him publicly. A hex has been cast that makes women all declare their baby is his. The agile maneuvering in this story is something to behold.
In the second, “Ruckus at the Brewers”, the goofiest since the Parade sub-series, dimwitted Gro-Gro is entrusted with a mission to bring back a special beer brewed by a village of curmudgeonly rabbits. This is the first time Gro-Gro must make decisions on his own, at times instinctively, at times randomly, just never after much thought. He runs into a swashbuckling poet who variously saves his large butt or gets it fried. The only saving grace for both of them is how stupid the rest of the world is as well. The artist on this, Yoann, is noted for having been given the large assignment of being the newest artist to continue one of Europe’s biggest series for children: the adventures of Spirou & Fantasio. The most notable artist for this series was the genius André Franquin.
DUNGEON combines suspenseful adventure with a spoof of heroic fantasy in telling the tales of a castle filled with monsters. It is the creation of Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, two of France’s best-known and most popular artists.
Trondheim’s peers have honored him with the Grand Prize at the annual Angouleme comics festival. Meanwhile, Sfar is a star with the success of The Rabbi’s Cat, published by Pantheon. Both also have titles coming out from Roaring Brook’s First Second imprint. NBM has been active in bringing out work by Trondheim, including his hit MISTER O and MISTER I, and most recently the very successful release of his acutely observant and quite amusing comics blog, Little Nothings. This fall, NBM’s sister company Papercutz will start publishing his breezy and very amusing Monster series for kids with Monster Christmas.