I'm getting burned out by superhero comics lately but I still love to read books with pictures and word balloons so it was quite serendipitous that I found out about Cinebook, a British publisher that translates European comics into English, and a damn fine job they're doing too. Check out their site and see some stuff that may not have come to the attention of fans of mainstream comics (read: US superhero comics)
I particularly like Green Manor, a French comic. It is actually a series of short stories, none longer than 8 pages, framed at the beginning and at the end of the book by a mental patient who claims that he used to be an employee of Green Manor. The Green Manor is an exclusive gentleman's club in Victorian England which on the surface doesn't make it any special than the other clubs...except that the patient insists that most of the Manor's posh members are nothing more than thieves, conmen and murderers (mostly murderers). His years there have made him privy to a lot of stories and it is these stories that he tells.
The stories themselves are quite enjoyable. Seeing as how none of them exceed 8 pages, the stories have to move along at a brisk pace and writer Fabien Vehlmann succeeds. That doesn't mean the stories are simple though. The plots are intriguing and the mysteries always end in some kind of twist. My favourite story in this volume is Post-Scriptum where a club member challenges another member to stop him from killing a woman by midnight the next evening. He actually succeeds in killing both his intended target and the man he challenged to stop his murderous plan but did not realise that his victim had prepared something beforehand, just in case. Vengeance from the beyond the grave, so to speak.
There is no gore in any of the stories. The killings are almost always off camera and artist Denis Bodart's cartoony style presents a nice contrast to the dark mood of the stories. It is a pity that Green Manor, despite being translated into English, would probably fail to capture the attention of comic fans outside of Europe. It is time we realise that there are a lot of good stuff out there that is not necessarily from the US. They may not feature powerful people in spandex punching other powerful people in spandex but these books are no less well written and illustrated. If you like murder mysteries, check out Green Manor from Cinebook. I bought mine from Amazon UK. I wished the creators had written more but there are only three volumes of the Manor (Cinebook combined the second and third books together so the English version only has two volumes).