Spirou and Fantasio, vol. 5: The Marsupilami Thieves

marsupilamiSpirou and Fantasio are back in another fantastical adventure. In a previous volume, they captured the rare marsupilami and it’s now living in a zoo. However, Spirou and Fantasio are now regretting that they put the marsupilami in captivity. Before they can even come up with a plan to free it again, though, the marsupilami is dead and its body stolen! Or is it? In a wild chase from the zoo to the country of Magnana, from the soccer field to the circus, Spirou and Fantasio track down the elusive marsupilami.

Even if you haven’t read the previous story, it’s easy to pick up the relevant plot points in this light, funny adventure. Midnight chases, magic pills, importunate elephants, and more make this a romp an entertaining, quick read, even if there’s not much to the plot. An additional note from the publishers gives the history of Spirou and Fantasio,¬†their creators, and evolution through the years.

The art style will be quickly recognizable to fans of classic Belgian and French comics like Tintin and Asterix. Lots of action, exaggerated facial expressions, and quick, sketched details don’t offer much room for unique art, but they do make a serviceable cartoon series. There are a couple minor stereotypes – when Spirou and Fantasio perform their magic pill act, one panel shows Fantasio changed into a “Red Indian” for example. The font for the speech bubbles is much clearer than in some of Cinebook’s editions, and although younger readers may struggle with the amount of text in some of the longer panels, the type is clear and easy to read.

These goofy adventures may attract readers, but will probably not be high-circulation items due to their unfamiliarity to most American audiences. It takes a little while to get used to the different conventions and humor, as well as the layout of the larger paperbacks and the sometimes heavy dialogue. Larger libraries looking to expand their graphic novel collections and offer some fun reading to kids and adult collectors alike will want to consider these, but they’re not a must-have for smaller collections.

Spirou and Fantasio, vol. 5: The Marsupilami Thieves
by Andrè Franquin
ISBN: 9781849181679
Cinebook, 2013