Bamboo Editions have embarked on the popularization of history through comic strips intended for a very young audience invited to learn a little while laughing a lot! Whether through a fictional character (Gladiatorus), mythological heroes, a historical character but treated in his childhood (Cleopatra, Louis XIV ...) or at the height of glory, the principle always remains the same: a series of sketches and finally a small historical file. Now let's take a look at two of the latest installments.
Napoleon. Badly worse!
This comic strip deals through various sketches (“Sublime shabby message”, “Eylau, Eylau, we come home from work!”) The fate of Napoleon Bonaparte from his Corsican youth to the battle of Waterloo. The theme is rich, promising, well documented, and yet the result seemed disappointing to us. Napoleon would certainly have thrown the book into the fireplace or out of the window of his car, without devoting more time to it ... But we are going to explain a little more the reasons for this rather negative judgment. It is usual in these Bamboo Editions comics, intended for a very young audience, to use laughter as a driving force and therefore to regularly immerse historical characters in comic, wacky, chatting situations ... But which often should allow us to put highlight a small historical detail. In this case, Napoleon is ridiculed on each board, but the little historical bonus often remains well hidden and ultimately only people who know the subject beforehand can make the connection with History (or see the blatant contradiction ...). Napoleon is presented throughout the comic book as a bulimic, ugly, angry, childish idiot, a bit sadistic, malicious towards his men ... What more can we say? Sometimes we have the impression of reading a pamphlet than a comic strip intended to popularize history. Moreover, it would be a lesser evil if this comic did not abuse the said History ... Do not be surprised to see a Napoleon I, Emperor plump, at the foot of the pyramids! ... We will not go into detail. inconsistencies, after that less importance is attached to the fact that the soldiers of the Egyptian campaign are equipped with uniforms which will in fact not be in service until much later ... What happened to the young and skinny General of the Directory? I cannot tell you.
This disappointment ends with a report produced by David Chanteranne, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Napoleon I”. There again, some assertions would be questionable, such as when it is stated that Napoleon "used the technique of the square device as far as Egypt, [that] he finally abandoned in favor of a more offensive strategy which would be fatal to him at Waterloo" . Napoleon was offensive from Toulon, and there were squares up to Waterloo, but hey, let's not go into detail here. Overall David Chateranne tries to restore a little historical truth, a little chronology (on the other hand we regret the absence of a map), but the task is enormous and he has only five pages. As soon as an element refers to a comic strip, a little imperial bee sends the reader to the corresponding page. But in the end, this small file only tries to catch up after a comic strip against Napoleon, while within the framework of a well-constructed popularization, the comic book and the file should support each other and go in the same direction.
In the end, it is quite a shame that a key figure in our history like Napoleon did not benefit from quality popularization and we regret that this comic bears his name so well.
Napoleon, of evil empire, of Stédo. Bamboo, March 2016.
The 100 Years War. 1337 - 1453.
In terms of form, this opus is identical to the previous one in every way: a comic book of sketches followed by a small historical dossier of six pages written this time by Lucie Hoornaert, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Histoire Junior" for the 10 -15 years old. However, in substance, this comic is clearly different from the previous one! Nothing has changed on the role of humor and the historical figures are not spared, but for each little story the historical wink is obvious! And if ever it was not, each plate is annotated at the bottom of the page with a short sentence that explains the link between the gag and History! In doing so, from gag to gag, the young reader acquires some historical bases which he can easily complete thanks to a file highly adapted to the youngest and fortunately illustrated by a family tree of the royal family, essential not to lose the thread.
In this case, the comic book and the file support each other and complement each other perfectly, offering little darlings the opportunity to have fun and learn about the history of this vast medieval conflict!
The 100 Years War. Bamboo, March 2016.