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Iban Carrere

© Adam Burakowski

In 2024, Frankfurter Buchmesse will be present at around ten book fairs around the world with the German collective stands. Always on board: our German Stories. Every year, the Book Fair International Projects team puts together book collections made up of titles on current topics that attract attention beyond national borders. 

This year, the collections will be on display in Taipei, London, Brussels, Warsaw and Abu Dhabi, among other places. Germany will be the guest of honour at the book fair in Prague and will be part of the German language Guest of Honour presentation together with Switzerland and Austria in Turin. 

The "Comics 2024" collection has been curated by manga and comic expert Iban Carrere. We spoke to him about the current trends in these areas and his selection process for the collection. He even shared with us whether he has a favourite title.


You are a bookseller and an expert in comics and manga. What topics and trends are currently dominating the genres?

It's no secret that the manga sector has grown exponentially in the last two or three years, even if things have calmed down a bit in the industry now.
As more and more anime is being produced, bound manga is getting a lot more attention and visibility. Examples of this trend include "Tokyo Revengers", "Jujutsu Kaisen" and "Spy x Family". 

The webtoon readership has also been growing for a few years now. As a reminder, when we talk about "webtoon", we mean “manhwa”; the term used for comic books from South Korea. The best-known title in this field is certainly "Solo Leveling", it was recently even turned into an anime. Manhwa have arrived in Europe through the Webtoon app, offering digital formats that you can read on your mobile phone. 

In the comic book sector, more and more of these titles have been produced and purchased in recent years. The term "comic book" is always a bit confusing, I think. From my point of view, when we talk about comic books, we could be talking about American comics (pulps), Japanese mangas, Korean manhwas, graphic novels or Franco-Belgian bandes-dessinées. I would therefore say that the graphic novel format has developed in recent years. However, the other formats have of course also benefitted from the growing interest in the new art forms.

Why manga and comics? What excites you most about this genre?

I've been interested in manga for most of my life, since I was 10 in fact - now I'm 28. Before I read manga, I watched it on the television. Who doesn't know them - "Dragon Ball", "Sailor Moon", "Saint Seiya" or "Pokemon"? My first manga (in book format), similarly to many boys of my generation, was "Naruto". 

When I read novels, I'm generally not a huge fan of long descriptions. The description of the shop in "Au bonheur des Dames" by Emile Zola simply traumatised me. That's why I find manga and comics interesting. There is a method in comics that is used less in manga: the ellipsis. Here, for example, you see a character in a comic box with a banana peel, or whatever, and in the following box the character is lying on the floor because he has slipped. In a manga, the action tends to be drawn out in its entirety and I think that's totally cool. The example might be a bit weird but during a fight or a similar situation, this method generates a lot of images in your head.

Another thing I'd like to add, to dispel the eternal clichés about manga, is that you can find as many different subjects as there are illustrators in the field of manga (and that applies to comics too). Of course, there are the famous works such as "Naruto" or "OnePiece", which, at first glance, are for children and are all about fighting but there are also many titles that deal with social issues or history, such as "The Apothecary's Diaries" or Naoki Urasawa's masterpiece: "20th Century Boys". In my opinion, many people have yet to sufficiently discover the field of manga and comics.

How would you describe the composition of the collection?

The 2024 comic collection includes titles on important current topics as well as titles that I simply enjoyed. There are also some titles that were already included in the 2023 collection, titles that won an award or that deal with interesting themes.

What were your criteria when putting together the "Comics 2024" collection, what was important to you?

The Frankfurt Book Fair's International Projects team creates several collections every year that travel to book fairs around the world with them. The comic collection is one of them. Another collection was created by Niki Théron: The Beauty of Difference. 

For the comic collection, I tried to stick to this theme a bit. That's why several titles in this year's collection deal with difference and how we can accept our own differences and get to know those of others. Another criterion was the release date. The collections are created under the German Stories label, this means that they will be travelling to various book fairs around the world with the German collective stand. It is therefore important that the collection reflects the timeliness of the whole German comics scene.

Do you have a favourite title in the collection? Which one is it and why is it particularly close to your heart?

Choosing a favourite book is one of the hardest questions you can ask an avid reader. To be honest, I have two favourites: "Unter rotem Staub" (Avant Verlag) and "Ein verdammter Handschlag" (Splitter Verlag). 

"Unter rotem Staub" was already part of the 2023 collection. It's about Australian Aboriginal culture and history, a story of violence and the resilience of a population you don't know a lot about. "Ein verdammter Handschlag" is a bit crazier. It is about a "petty criminal and loser Luca Stoffels" (as the Splitter publishing house's website puts it), who trades his soul for money with a demonic handshake. Luca then has only 24 hours to find a new fool to take over the deal and win back his soul and his freedom.

Thank you for the Interview, Iban!


Iban Carrere was part of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s International Projects team from January to December 2023 as part of the work-with-a-partner programme funded by the Franco-German Youth Office. Iban is currently a bookseller at the Librairie Arcanes (or Arcanes bookshop) in Châteauroux, where he is responsible for mangas, children’s and young adult books as well as young adult comics.


Title list of the "Comics 2024" collection:

"Kila und das letzte Geleit" 978-3-7539-0955-4 (Altraverse)

"Rude Girl" 978-3-96445-068-5 (Avant Verlag)

"Das Schimmern der See" 978-3-96445-100-2 (Avant Verlag)

"Gerne würdest du allen so viel sagen" 978-3-96445-075-3 (Avant Verlag)

"Unter rotem Staub" 978-3-96445-085-2 (Avant Verlag)

“Coming of H" 978-3-96445-079-1 (Avant Verlag)

“Diebe und Laien" 978-3-96445-076-0 (Avant Verlag)

"Der Zeitraum" 978-3-551-71086-4  (Carlsen)

"Vatermilch 2 - Unter der Oberfläche" 978-3-551-71159-5  (Carlsen)

"Jovantore" 978-3-7555-0245-6 (Egmont Manga)

"Allein in der Fremde" 978-3-0396-4005-8  (Helvetiq)

"Kafka für Boshafte" 978-3-458-68319-3 (Suhrkamp/Insel Verlag)

"Freibad" 978-3-948904-38-8 (Jaja)

"Trip mit Tropf" 978-3-948690-14-4 (Kibitz Verlag)

"Die zweite Entdeckung der Welt - Alexander von Humboldts Expedition nach Südamerika" 978-3-95728-667-3 (Knesebeck)

"Ein Haus mit vielen Fenstern" 978-3-948743-16-1 (Kunstanstifter Verlag)

"Das geheime Leben der Bäume" 978-3-453-28160-8 (Ludwig Verlag)

"Koma" 978-3-7550-0027-3 (März Verlag)

"Genossin Kuckuck" 978-3-95640-346-0 (Reprodukt)

"Emmie Arbel" 978-3-95640-396-5 (Reprodukt)

"Abba Hallo" 978-3-498-00347-0 (Rowohlt)

"Memento Mori" 978-3910648036 (Schwarzer Turm)

"Schattenspiel" 978-3910648029 (Schwarzer Turm)

"Games - auf den Spuren der Flüchtenden aus Afghanistan" 978-3-98721-253-6  (Splitter Verlag)

"Ein verdammter Handschlag" 978-3-95839-462-9 (Splitter Verlag)

"Heinrich Heine- Eine Lebensfahrt" 978-3-95839-452-0 (Splitter Verlag)

"Die Tänzerin des Königs" 978-3-7539-0584-6 (Altraverse)

"Melek + ich" 978-3-03731-215-5 (Edition Moderne)

"Scheiblettenkind" 978-3-518-47287-3 (Suhrkamp)


You can find all German Stories Collection here: in a new window)

If you are interested in presenting one of our collections in your organisation or at an event, our colleagues would be delighted to hear from you at

Interview by: Svenja Pütz