In this list I often get so side-tracked by reading manga or by chipping away at the large amount of American superhero comics that I often forget to check in on Belgium. After all, this is a nation with one of the most impressive history of comics and I haven’t even gotten started on some of the most famous.
So Yoko Tsuno was picked as it was a comic from this neck of the woods that I had never heard off, but had an interesting synopsis. It’s a science-fiction series headed by a Japanese woman who lives in Belgium who gets into a wide range of adventures with her two sidekicks that work in television. Yoko’s adventures are either involving goings on on Earth (with beautiful renderings of locations such as Hong Kong and Germany) or on the far away planet of Vinea.
As of the moment, a minority of the comics have been translated into English. Most of the ones that I read were the Earthbound ones, mainly because the alien ones have only started to be translated fairly recently. This may be why I tend to prefer the Earth ones (including some involving time travel) over the alien ones – but also I love how much research has gone into the settings. In the first one I read, called ‘On The Edge of Life’, Roger Leloup draws a beautiful recreation of the German town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
In total I read eight Yoko Tsuno stories and I find it very hard to understand why there has not been some sort of adaptation produced of this, whether it be a film, a TV series or even a manga/anime after Japan got hold of it and fell in love. Stories like ‘Daughter of the Wind’ and ‘The Prey and the Ghost’ would work so well on the big screen… but I guess the idea of adapting a Belgian comic with a Japanese protagonist has it’s own share of hurdles to overcome before an adaptation is greenlit.
Still though, if you like science-fiction comics with a very human basis – then Yoko Tsuno feels pretty much essential. Especially as the individual books aren’t too expensive and they’re typically being translated at the pace of one a year. I definitely look forward to seeing more and more of these being made available.