It's interesting how the memory of some books entering one's life remains clear even decades after the fact, while the memory of others goes straight into oblivion. I can still clearly remember how QRN sur Bretzelburg
entered my life. One day when I was around seven years old, my mom took me out to have lunch and go to the movies along with a fellow coworker of hers, a young woman who, while having a husband, my mom had told me, couldn't have any children of her own. At that age I couldn't still quite grasp the whole workings of that (latebloomer that I have always been, perhaps I was still under the impression that babies were brought by storks to married couples), but my empathy was already well-developed enough to find this whole situation sad. The woman gave me this Spirou
album as a gift and I immediately found her quite charming. The story had many layers that would take many readings and many years for me to digest and understand, but even then I could still find it fun and captivating - it was that well crafted that it could be enthralling on different levels according to the reader's context. The characters were awesome; Marsupilami becoming an instant favorite! The even better part though, were Franquin's drawings, which were unlike anything that I'd ever seen before, with a verve, energy and attention to detail uniquely their own. Little did I know then that this was one of the most celebrated and highly imitated european cartoonists ever. It would be quite a few years before I had the luck of coming across another comic by this author, but when I did, boy, I immediately grabbed it!
It's been many years since that fateful day when I first crossed paths with the work of Franquin. My mom left that job about a year later to remain at home and take care of me. She ended up losing contact with that coworker. Like so many, many other people who have touched my life (friends, foes, strangers), I have no idea where her path took her. I guess that's part of life: no neat answers, lots of unsolved questions and lose ends too. Still, her simple gesture of offering a comic book, still ressonates within me. Whenever I pick up QRN sur Bretzelburg or any of Franquin's bande dessinées, I still wonder about whatever happened to her, how she's doing and hope that she ended up having a child of her own, either biological or adopted, someone with whom to share such fun comics.
Labels: Fantasio, Franquin, Marsupilami, QRN sur Bretzelburg, Spirou