A very playful way to read French is through les bandes dessinées . As with novels, there are different levels of difficulty but the advantage of comics is that you can use pictures to help you understand the plot!
Note: we translate bande dessinées as « comics » in English but the two are actually quite different in form and content.
In Europe, one country has been the precursor and leader of this literary genre: la Belgique .
Most of the French-speaking comics you know are Belgian. The first one, Tintin , was created in the 30’s and for years, all the bandes-dessinées franco-belges will follow this model with pages with well ordered boxes (= des cases) and bubbles (= des bulles).
Here are a few names you may have already heard:
Les Schtroumpfs: Funny little blue men living in community in the forest. You must know them but their name is different in each country : what are they called in your country?!
Lucky Luke: A lonely cowboy who brings justice to the (parodic) Far West.
Astérix: The adventures of Astérix and Obélix and their small Gallic village fighting against the Roman invaders.
Gaston Lagaffe: A very clumsy anti-hero who prefers to invent funny things rather than work.
Blake et Mortimer: The adventures of two friends, one leading the British counter-espionage services and the other being an eminent scientist.
Thorgal: More recent. It follows the adventures of a Scandinavian warrior. It’s one of my favorites!
If the bandes-dessinées were originally intended for children, today there are BD for all tastes! New formats and alternative modes of narration have emerged… but I will talk about them in another post!
Et vous, avez-vous déjà lu une bande-dessinée en français ?
And you fellow tutors, what are your favorite classic BD?