European Comics
A Guide To European Comic Book Publishers Part 1: Casterman
By Patrick Bérubé
Aug 11, 2008 - 16:30




Casterman

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Casterman is probably one of the oldest comic book publishers in the French European market. Its roots date back to 1776 Belgium where Donat Casterman opened a bookstore and offered different services such as binding and printing. Only in the mid 19th century did the publisher open an office in Paris to develop new markets. In that time, the company developed a vast catalog of religious and youth books. But the real foray into comic book publishing took place in 1934 when it took over the publishing duties of the Petit Vingtième, a weekly comic book supplement for a newspaper, featuring the work of... Hergé. The rest is history and in 1942 Casterman published the first adventure of Tintin in full color with a hardcover, thus setting the new and still lasting standard of the European format.

Strong with the success of Hergé, new series soon appeared such as Alix from Jacques Martin and Petzi from Hansen.


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The cover of the first adventure of Corto Maltese
With the 1970s, the publisher wanted to gain a more adult readership. To do so they introduced Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt, who would become a landmark in European comic books, and Tardi's heroine Adele Blanc-Sec. The comic book magazine À suivre (to be continued) came soon after and featured talents such as Peeters and Gelluk.

After hard times in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s the publisher seems to be back on track. It still publishes all the past series mentioned above. Some are still going on and some are soon to see a follow up after their original creator's death ( Corto Maltese is one of them). Their catalog also became richer in recent years with contributions from the likes of Ferrandez, Loisel, Tripp, Munoz and Mattotti. Even Enki Bilal made the jump from Les Humanoïdes Associés to Casterman in 2004 with almost all his previous works.

Casterman, like many other European publishers, also has various imprints translating manga and mahnawa.

Even if they are not considered the most innovative by today's standard, they still hold an impressive catalog of well established creators. For more information, you can visit the publisher's website at http://bd.casterman.com/



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A Guide To European Comic Book Publishers Part 1: Casterman