By Patrick Bérubé
December 9, 2008 - 08:00
|The first volume of the series where it all began|
After a second volume, also in 1998, it was a matter of time for the two fertile and hyperactive minds to come up with something they had not planned. Joan Sfar grew tired of not drawing and against Lewis Trondheim advice began to work on the 100th volume of the series. This new volume would take place in the future and would show the dungeon in his declining days. When M. Trondheim saw the first five pages pencilled and inked with an almost full script he agreed to start the new series which would be called Donjon Crépuscule ( Dungeon Twilight) but at one condition. If they were to do volumes in the future at the same time as the present, they also needed a series relating the beginning of the dungeon. So a third series saw the day and started his numbering at -99 to eventually catch up with volume 1.
Below you will find a list of what have been releases so far in these three series and a general description of the different plots.
|Donjon Potron-Minet volume -98|
Donjon Zenith (Dungeon): This is the original series and thus start his numbering at 1. So far six volumes have been published in french (vol. 1 to vol. 6) The first four (collected and translated by NBM) are entirely done by Sfar and Trondheim while vol. 5 and vol. 6 are drawn by Kerascoët. The story evolve around the Dungeon and Herbert finding various magical objects that will change him forever... This series is one my favorite with a perfect mix of fantasy parody, humor, adventure and drama.
|Dungeon Twilight volume 1 by NBM contains the first two volumes of the original french series|
Donjon Monsters: Did you think Sfar and Trondheim were going to stop with a 300 volume series in the work? If you did, you don't know them. In Dungeon Monsters, the duo scripted a bunch of stories about various inhabitant of the Dungeon. Those stories are set in various era so we oftenly get a glimpse of what will or what did happen in certain plot threads. They also have been using this series to elaborate some characters background which would have beed impossible inside the regular titles. Twelve volumes have been published so far with a different artist each time. This kind of give a hit or miss feeling to each volumes but most of the time I appreciated the art.
|Donjon Parade volume 1|
There is many ways to read all these series. You can read them by series or by their original publishing date. You can also read the whole story chronologically which is my favorite way of doing it. Doing so, you can really see the evolution of the dungeon and it's inhabitant. Some smaller trilogies also appear within this universe, following the same characters at various era of the dungeon. Since they are not listed as ''official'', you have to discover all the links between the characters which make for an interesting read.
In conclusion, the Dungeon series is one the new european classics. Ten years and more than 30 volumes later, the serie has a cult following and has been translated. The main authors, Sfar and Trondheim, do not seem ready to stop producing even better stories. I just have one warning about it. Even if most volumes seem all-age material, they are not. Dungeon, Dungeon Parade and some Dongeon Monsters might be but the rest is not. Under their funny and light aspects, many adult themes are aborded (rape, drug, murder). But don't let that or the huge numbering stop you. You should definitely read this series which as I said above is partly available in english from NBM.