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Non fiction stories – recommendations from our French Comics Apéro!

Updated: May 20, 2020

Our first French Comics Apéro took place on Tuesday 5 May and the topic chosen for our first informal chat was : non fiction comics. It was a blast and we were delighted so many of you participated. As promised, we have compiled below a list of the many comics that were mentioned.

"La Bande Dessinée documentaire" experienced a significant growth in French publishing markets since the 1990’s. The success of some pioneering authors such as Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, Etienne Davodeau, or Marjane Satrapi has been followed by the emergence and proliferation of publications of non fiction comics in various areas and in various styles : history, biography, autobiography, journalistic investigation, politics, philosophy, science, etc.

Guantanamo Kid

Guantanamo Kid, l'histoire vraie de Mohamed El-Gorani, de Jérôme Tubiana et Alexandre Franc, Dargaud

Guantanamo Kid, the true story of Mohammed El-Gharani, translated by Edward Gauvin, SelfMadeHero

As part of Beyond Words Festival, Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc discuss the making of the graphic novel. Jeremy Harding, contributor to the London Review of Books, also comments on why he was so taken by the story in another video on the Institut's youtube channel.

Kobane Calling

Kobane Calling de Zerocalcare, traduit de l'italien par Brune Seban, Cambourakis

Kaboul Disco

Kaboul Disco et Kaboul Requiem : un Thé avec les talibans de Nicolas Wild, La boîte à bulles

Kabul Disco – How I managed not to be abducted in Afghanistan, Life Drawn

L’Odyssée d’Hakim

L’Odyssée d’Hakim de Fabien Toulmé, Delcourt

Read an interview with Fabien here.

Benalla et moi

Benalla et moi d'Ariane Chemin et François Krug, Seuil

Sarkozy-Kadhafi, des billets et des bombes

Sarkozy-Kadhafi, des billets et des bombes de Fabrice Arfi, Benoît Colombat, Maichel Despratx Elodie Gueguen, Geoffrey Le Guilcher, Thierry Chavant et Cecily, Delcourt

Algues vertes

Algues vertes, de Agnès Léraud et Pierre Van Hove, Delcourt

Demain demain: bidonville de la Folie, 1962–1966

Demain demain : bidonville de la Folie, 1962 –1966 de Laurent Maffre, Actes Sud

BD linked with a beautiful web documentary on Arte Creative.


S'enfuir – Récit d'un otage, de Guy Delisle, Dargaud – available in French on Culturethèque.

Hostage by Guy Deslile, Penguin Books

"Guy Delisle conveys great, slow-burning tension in this sublime account of what Christophe Andre endured as a hostage in Chechnya. Delisle’s controlled handling of claustrophobic physical and mental spaces – and the rhythm he generates – is the work of a patient master." Joe Sacco

L'Arabe du futur

L'Arabe du futur de Riad Sattouf, Allary Editions

The Arab of the future – a childhood in the Middle East by Riad Sattouf

Les Cahiers d'Esther

Les Cahiers d'Esther de Riad Sattouf, Allary Editions

The animé series (Canal +) on YouTube.

Paroles d'honneur

Paroles d'honneur de Leila Slimani et Laetitia Coryn, Les Arènes. Available on Culturethèque.

Based on the essay, Sexe et Mensonges, la vie sexuelle au Maroc, Les Arènes

Also available in English: Sex and Lies, Faber

Les Culottées

Les Culottées, de Pénélope Bagieu, Gallimard. Listen to an interview on Culturethèque.

Brazen, Rebel ladies who rocked the world by Pénélope Bagieu, Penguin Books

Francette 1914 – 1994

Francette, du collectif Dérive Urbaine, une autre Image.


March, a trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions

We also recommend browsing through magazines such as:

- La Revue Dessinée and the hors série A4 : Viande, la riposte végane

- La Revue Topo

Finally, quite a few biographies of artists were mentioned:

Monk! by Youssef Daoudi, Vincent by Barbara Stok, Monet – Nomade de la lumière by Rubio Salva, Lovelace Babage by Sydney Padua, Pablo by Julie Birmant, Marcel Proust – à la recherche du temps perdu by Variety Artworks and Panama Al Brown by Camille Duvelleroy, Jacques Goldstein and Alex W. Inker (an interactive comic available on Arte).

We hope to see you again on the 2nd of June! On this occasion, we will discuss the wonderful Catherine Meurisse. Press cartoonist and illustrator for youth, Catherine Meurisse is the author of a dozen elegant comics. She has, among others, drawn satirical political cartoons for Charlie Hebdo and released with Dargaud “La Légèreté”, “Drôles de femmes”, “Delacroix” and “Les grands Espaces” – available on Culturethèque. We suggest reading this story in which she recalls her childhood in the countryside and discovers her love for art. A conversation will follow as well as a wider overview of Press Cartoons in the world.

To register and get the link, send an e-mail to

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