Jan 9, 2009

CineBook - Green Manor #1 | 2008

West Land | Price: INR 195 | Color | Pages: 56 | Size: B5 | Laminated/HardCover

After a small gap, we are back with one more CineBook issue review, which was part of the batch release in India, last year.  CineBook are the only UK publishing company which has proved their stature competing against the overall odds of DC & Marvel influx, by banking on the famed Franco-Belgian era.  So there is no wonder their fleet of issues finds it presence more often on our website.

The title to be reviewed in this post is Green Manor, which is part of the “Double Expresso” series from CineBook.  Double Expresso, essentially means that it may be a volume of one or two editions, which are originally published in French or other language.  The plot revolves around a little known fictional English club called Green Manor, where the story unfolds revealing the secrets behind the thick walls, in the process enlightening the readers of the the greatest con artists Queen Victoria’s England has ever seen.

Green Manor 1: Assassins and Gentlemen
ISBN: 978-1-905460-53-3
Green Manor 01 c1
Green Manor 1: BackCover 
Published: May 2008
Green Manor 01 c2

Fabien VehlmannGreen Manor is a brainchild of French comics writer Fabien Vehlmann (b.1972, France).  Vehlmann like typical kids, is said to have been fascinated with toys and comics from his childhood.  But at the age of 23, he suddenly realized that the childhood love is still not lost in him.  He jokingly quotes

“My parents were subscribers of Spirou for years.  Leafing an issue, I discovered a contest for writers.  Like all budding writers, I first wanted to draw, before realizing that it is one of those which I ridicule better.”

Even though, he ultimately didn’t take part in that contest, it paved the way for shaping his interest.  He eventually joined the Spirou Magazine in 1997, and started contributing with various short stories, including writing one adventure for Spirou and Fantasio, a series which was reviewed here at Comicology earlier.  Fascinated by his works, Yvan Delporte, who was the Editor-in-Chief of Spirou magazine during the golden age of Franco-Belgian comics, once credited Vehlmann as the "The René Goscinny of the third millennium".  Comicologists would recollect Goscinny from his legendary works on Asterix, and Lucky Luke.

Denis BodartWhile at Spirou, he got his first official break in a full series, when he joined hands with artist Denis Bodart (b.1962, Belgium), to create the Green Manor series.  While Vehlmann is known for his intriguing plots, and mystery woven writing style, Denis Bodart is known for his toon-style artwork, while not compromising the seriousness related to the base plot.  Refer the Sample Artwork below, to see for yourself.  With this distinction, we could safely term Green Manor as a “Comics” Graphic Novel, for the fact that the Toon-styled comic artwork is used to depict a plot-work aimed for mature audience.

n an interview with Character Design, Bodart quotes about the difficulty associated with the artwork of Green Manor, which is typically a series of stories all spanning 7 pages each, as follows:

Green Manor Sample Artwork“I am most proud of the character designs I did for all the characters in the three volumes of Green Manor. The main difficulty resided in the very form of the série ( 16 short stories of 7 pages). In this framework, giving enough consistency to the characters so they get credible since the very first boxes was a real challenge… especially when you known that none would live more than 7 pages. A constraint that generates much frustration as you can easily guess. In the other hand, it also allowed me to explore several graphic possibilities.”

If you are interested to read the complete interview click here.

The 1st volume of Green Manor: Assassins and Gentleman contains 7 short stories, which are narrated as if they were told by a psychotic prisoner, who was an inmate at Green Manor, to a visiting doctor.  This gives us a first-hand accounting of the events as they occur, which reveals the blackness lurking in the minds of people rated as the top cream of Victoria’s England. 

Green Manor Original French Album 1Despite the subject matter, Green Manor is murder-lite; all the killings are offstage, and there is little gore as witnessed in the stories. But that's not all, the ending strongly suggests that Green Manor is all inside the patient’s head, which puts a different spin on all the stories you have read so far.

This English translation for this French album has been done by Elaine Kemp for CineBook.  The translator has taken enough care in maintaining the core storyline to retain its context. The Original French album was released back in 2001 by publishers Dupius titled “Assassins et gentlemen”.  Look at the cover art of the original edition, which shows how much rework it has gone through before finding its place as part of the CineBook stable. 

CineBook’s professionalism on display.

The duo of Vehlmann & Bodart have totally worked on 3 albums of Green Manor, which all have been released  by CineBook in US/UK.  With the reception it has garnered with Volume 1, they would be a collectors item, when Volume 2 and 3 finally makes their way to India.

18 ComiComments:


நீங்கள் பதிவிட போகிறீர்கள் என்பதனை அறிவித்த போதே கீரின் மனொரை எடுத்து படித்தேன், ஜெஃப்ரி ஆர்ச்சர் எழுதிய A TWIST IN THE TALE சிறுகதை தொகுப்பில் உள்ள கதைகள் போன்றே கதையின் முடிவில் வரும் திருப்பங்கள் அருமை.

நகைச்சுவையையும், திகிலையும் ஒரே சமயத்தில் வெளிப்படுத்தும் கதையமைப்பும்,சித்திரங்களும் சிறப்பாக உள்ளன.

முதிய கனவான் குடி பானங்களில் விஷம் கலந்து விட்டு, அவர் நண்பர்களிற்கே அவர் தரும் அதிர்ச்சி! மறக்க முடியாத கதை அது.

உற்சாகத்துடன் தொடருங்கள்.

I really loved the story where these two losers are plotting a murder attempt on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...waiting for the second volume...I really liked the art which is very similar to the art style of Late Carlos Meglia...

bought one vol of the the heir, , i hpe they release the second volume, anyway fine job rafiq is doing here. liju


Congrats! I am so happy to see your blog Comicology is mentioned in this week Ananda Vikatan.

Great, you did it man!

Mahesh kumar

Congratulations Rafiq

Good know all the details from Cinibook series..
Keep writing....

நண்பர் ரஃபிக் ராஜா அவர்களே,

வாழ்த்துக்கள். நண்பர் கிங் விஸ்வா மூலம் ஆனந்த விகடன் இதழில் உங்கள் வலைப் பூ பற்றிய தகவல் வந்து இருப்பதை அறிந்தேன். வாழ்த்துக்கள்.

தொடர்ந்து நீங்கள் பல சிகரங்களை அடைய இதோ என்னுடைய அட்வான்ஸ் வாழ்த்துக்கள்.


நண்பர் ரஃபீக்,

ஆனந்த விகடன் வரவேற்பறை மூலம் அறிய பட்டதற்கு என் மனமார்ந்த வாழ்த்துகளை தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறேன்.

hi Rafiq, today i saw details of ur blog in ananda vikatan, congrats. your hardwork brings this fame. hope 2009 with more and more info about international comics and readers like who knows little about comics learn a lot from you. thanks shiva, madipakkam

Hi Rafhiq,
its very nice to see your blog name on ananda vikatan.


Hi Rafiq,
I am really happy to see about your blog in AV. Congratz. Your earlier cridit was Mr. Vijayan visit. (sorry for delay in wishes)

-- Lucky luck's blog also top ranked in KUMUDHUM

ஷங்கர் அவர்களே: முதன்மை கருத்துக்கு மீண்டும் ஒருமுறை நன்றி. சமீப காலங்களில் பதிவிட்ட சில மணி நேரங்களில் நான் திரும்ப ஆன்லைன் வருவதே உங்கள் கருத்துக்களை எதிர்பார்த்தான். தொடருங்கள் உங்கள் ஆதரவை.
முதிய கனவான் கதை எனக்கும் மிகவும் பிடித்த ஒன்றே.... ஆர்தர் டாயில் கொலை முயற்சி இன்னொரு சூப்பர் கதை... மொத்தத்தில் எதிலும் இல்லாத புது மாதிரி கிரீன் மனோர்.

Tf: I liked that story too... isn't that a touch of comedical element in all these stories, at the same time maintaining the serious plot.... An unique experience to say the least.

Liju: Thanks for your visit and first comment. Hope to see you more on the other posts too.

Mahesh, Rasigan, Chezhi, Josh, Tiger, Srini, Siv: Thanks for all your wishes. More than the media news-article, I love the way you friends have shown your support towards this blog which celeberates our cherished passion. I would be more happy if I can find your comments on the respective topic pages, to make this blog more interactive. Hopefully the new year, and media coverage, would make you feel more involved at Comicology by passion content-related comments.

Adios Amigos.

hmmm, looks like we've got a detailed comics encyclopedia is developing here. good research! but it's always a good idea to tell the reader whether they should pick up the book or not!

GLL: The Man behind Understanding Comix is right here... good to see another fellow comic fan over at Comicology. Thanks for your nice comment.

By the way, I do have added that it is a comics collectors item at the end of the post.... and if anyone reads the full post, they would know that I have raved and talked hight about the book all along :)

When I do hit the bad ones in between, I was quick to alert the readers about not picking them up for their collection like over here:

http://www.comicology.in/2008/12/cinebook-largo-winch-ir-2008.html (only IR$, in this case)

But, no doubt, Green Manor is a comics to behold. I hope you will share the feeling, as I read your post sharing the same feeling :)

Hopefully, You have picked up the Second & Third volume combined which is available in India now. I read them already, and its a nice conclusion to the GM mini-series. Loved it and will blog about it in a few months.

Thanks once again for visiting, and here is wishing you to see more of your comments at the comics posts at Comicology too, as your time permits. Cheers too !!!

Congratulations Rafiq

Good know all the details from Cinibook series..
Keep writing....

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