French-language print media gift for a 16-year-old
November 26, 2006 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for cool French-language print media (comics, magazines, etc.) which would be interesting to an enthusiastic 16-year-old American in his third year of studying French in high school?

Books are probably beyond his level of fluency, and I'm looking for something that's designed for native speakers, not something to teach French in an explicit way.

I'm thinking there must be a magazine (French, Quebecois, whatever) or something out there that wouldn't be too challenging to read and would be interesting enough in its own right to him that he'd look forward to checking it out every month. Alternatively, anything comic-y would probably work too.

He's into manga/anime/cosplay, J-pop, cooking, video games, and comedians like David Sedaris (but he's already got all of his books) and the various compilers of McSweeney's "Lists" and "Reviews of New Food."

Finally, he's my brother, and I speak French too, so if I have to navigate some French-language web page to get this thing, that's cool. I've seen the post about the person who wanted to get a 10-year-old girl some French-language magazines, but those suggestions don't seem grown-up enough.

posted by mdonley to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed reading A Suivre, a tribute to Herge from other comic artists as well as Le Monde D'Herge. If he has or had an interest in Tin Tin, these books are fascinating. They may be too advanced for his experience, though.

With three years of French, he might be better off with Asterix.

What worked for me was to get French translations of books that I loved in English. It made it far easier to want to read Le Guide de Routard Galactique and get past challenging vocab.
posted by plinth at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2006

Best answer: I liked the bilingual Colors Magazine when I was living abroad and refreshing my French. I also got a subscription for my (then) teen-aged brother in English-Spanish and the content was "forward" enough that he was interested in it, too.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:31 PM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Heavy metal magazine was originally a french book. if you go down to your local artsy fartsy comic book shop you'll find a metric tonne of french language comics.
posted by joelf at 6:33 PM on November 26, 2006

As a former Peace Corps volunteer in a French speaking country, I used to pick up books that were equivalent to comic books - about a character called Lucky Luke. I had the book "L'héritage de Ran Tan Plan " for many years and loved it.

Other volunteers (adults) also enjoyed the book, so since it appealed to adults it may appeal to a 16-year-old.

Have fun.
posted by Wolfster at 6:34 PM on November 26, 2006

The Québecois accent might be a little thick but even the anglos here enjoy the video clips on Têtes à Claques.
posted by furtive at 6:34 PM on November 26, 2006

I would suggest Tintin and Asterix, I know they both come in french. Also, Carl Barks' work with Scrooge McDuck et al was a favorite of mine that comes in other languages.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 6:36 PM on November 26, 2006

sorry, didn't notice the "print media" requirement ... seconds/thirds Aterix, Lucky Luke, Tin-Tin and would also add Gaston Lagaffe, Spirou and Marsoupilami to the mix.
posted by furtive at 6:36 PM on November 26, 2006

Another vote for Lucky Luke.

Can I piggyback on this question to ask why "Ran Tan Plan" is funny? Because it sounds like "rends ton plan" and that's a slang phrase?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:32 PM on November 26, 2006

When I was in high school learning French we all loved to read Paris Match. It's a bit like People magazine, and I believe you can get an international subscription pretty easily. The articles are entertaining and pretty easy to parse, as I recall.

un peu plus d'information...
posted by killdevil at 8:19 PM on November 26, 2006

Some funny shit in here.

Web page of print magazine, does that count?
posted by Wolof at 9:21 PM on November 26, 2006

(Go straight in using this link.)
posted by Wolof at 9:25 PM on November 26, 2006

I second the colors was my first thought when I saw your question....
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 9:38 PM on November 26, 2006

From Quebec:
Safarir (wiki)
L'Actualite (wiki)

posted by yqxnflld at 10:04 PM on November 26, 2006

I would second Spirou and Le Petit Spirou - the animation really helps comprehension.
posted by amicamentis at 10:43 PM on November 26, 2006

After three years in french class le petit prince became my favorite book of all time. it's the first time i realized that books are better in their native language.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 AM on November 27, 2006

Not a magazine as such, but when I was 15 / 16 and learning French I loved the Gaston Lagaffe albums. Each sketch is a page or two long so you can dip in and out and the language is about right.

As for Wolof's link to Fluide Glacial - it can be very funny (it used to be funnier etc...), but I think a lot of the language may be beyond the third year of studying. Worth a try in a couple of years or so.

And I second Paris Match - used to love reading that at school.
posted by jontyjago at 12:29 AM on November 27, 2006

I would say that fluide glacial is far too advanced for 3rd yr french, but Gaston Lagaffe would be perfect. The only problem with Lucky Luke and Asterix is that so many of the jokes are plays on words, so I don't know how obvious they'd be at an early french-speaking stage. Tintin is good.

It's not media, but there is also "le Petit Nicolas," which is written by Goscinny (same guy who wrote the original Asterix and Lucky Luke books) and illustrated by Sempe. It is a kid's book but, like other Goscinny stuff, it can be pee-in-your-pants funny at any age. So if he likes Sedaris, he might like that.
posted by chelseagirl at 4:26 AM on November 27, 2006

There have been a lot of manga translated into French; perhaps he has a favorite series that's up to more volumes in the French translation than the English one.
posted by Jeanne at 4:27 AM on November 27, 2006

Response by poster: Colors is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks everyone!
posted by mdonley at 5:19 AM on November 27, 2006

I second (or third) Gaston Lagaffe and Fluide Glaciale.
posted by Mocata at 6:09 AM on November 27, 2006

I've never read it in French (not that I could), but the excellent Valerian and Laurelin comics are French in the original. Great art and intelligent stories.
posted by lhauser at 7:25 PM on November 27, 2006

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