Based on a true story, Once Upon a Time in France follows the life of Joseph Joanovici, a Romanian Jew who immigrated to France in the 1920s and became one of the richest men in Europe as a scrap-metal magnate. For some, he was a villain. For others, a hero.
As Germany occupies France, Mr. Joseph thinks his influence can keep his family safe, but he soon finds that the only way to stay one step ahead of the Nazis is to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. Though he plays both sides of the fence as a Nazi collaborator and French resistant, a tangled web of interests forms around him that proves it will take a lot more than money to pay for the survival of his family.
An international bestseller with over 1 million copies sold, the French series Once Upon a Time in France, collected here in one omnibus edition, has won the BDGest’Arts Best Scenario Award, BDGest’Arts Album of the Year, and Angoulême International Comics Festival Best Series Award, among many others.
JEAN-PHILIPPE LEFEVRE wrote:
“A chapter in this powerful work begins with Nietzsche’s quote: 'Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.' This tale’s fascinating characters desperately try to remain untarnished as they navigate a hazy line between what’s altruistic and what is sinfully selfish. The beautiful visual storytelling and dialogue blend together perfectly.”
Le Parisien wrote:
"To portray Joseph Joanovici in a graphic novel is to plunge into the dark alleys of World War II. The Gestapo, collaborators, inhuman sufferings, the Resistance—Joseph Joanovici combined a little of it all, blended into a dark, maleficent alchemy. . . . Six years after the first volume, the story is still breathtaking, and readers remain riveted by the force of Fabien Nury’s script and the intensity of Sylvain Vallée’s graphics."
L’Écho républicain wrote:
"Once upon a Time in France is one of the best series in recent years. Public and critical plaudits include the Parisian readers’ award in 2009 and the best-series award at Angoulême in 2011. The series traces the life of Joseph Joanovici, a Romanian Jewish scrap merchant who became one of the richest men in France during World War II."
Marianne -- Fabien Nury wrote:
"The saga by Fabien Nury and Sylvain Vallée ends superbly with the sixth episode. The final years of an ambiguous, magnificent character full of paradoxes are portrayed brilliantly by the two authors, disturbing notions of good and evil. Masterful!"
Marianne -- THOMAS RABINO wrote:
"History with a big H is an extraordinarily vast pool of subjects. It is a true space of freedom without the budgetary constraints of filmmaking. . . . In historical graphic novels, writers can revisit earlier times to reveal things that are not widely known."
Écho des savanes wrote:
"Combining cinematographic narrative with graphic skills in the best of the Franco-Belgian tradition, this story in history reveals not Manichaeistic good-evil oppositions but the depths of a complex individual and the darkness of a historical period."
"A critical and popular triumph, rewarded by the series prize at Angoulême, the saga by Fabien Nury and Sylvain Vallée takes us into a Dantesque portrayal of postwar France."
"It is with regret that we must leave behind this Joseph Joanovici, who was a real person with a destiny that was nothing if not novelistic. . . . He became the ambiguous hero of a remarkable popular series in which the narrative remains dense and captivating throughout all six tomes, based on a flawless historical foundation."