"The Marsupilami Thieves" is from the better period. The only real problem is that it is a sequel to "Spirou and the Heirs" in which the Marsupilami was introduced, so really you should read that one first.
The book is now out and I really enjoyed it. The fact I was coming in without having read the first part turned out to not be such a problem as the volume appears to build on the previous book without completely relying on it.
Most of Franquin's output from the 1950s and 60s are considered to be him at his best. I've read many of them and consider them to be very entertaining, both humour and adventure-wise.
Comparing '..Thieves' to the '..Zorglub' book from Fantasy Flight you can see a definite progression
in craft and quality, but this earlier volume is full of charm and, more importantly, good gags. And it isn't often you see a football match in a European comic, so an extra point for that alone (says the season ticket holder in me. We could've done that extra point at the weekend now I think of it...).
I'm never very certain about this - it sort of suggests that it's better than the humour comics we had/ have here, and I'm not certain it is; my guess is that the market for these kind of books is/ was already pretty well served by domestic product, and a gap for Spirou and Gaston Lagaffe never really opened up, or when it did, something else got in there first, like Asterix or Lucky Luke.
I take your point and yet the UK comic industry was enormous in the 50s through to the 70s, a fact universally unacknowledged (to mangle Jane Austin). The lack of serious cross fertilisation always surprises me. Saying that, I still can't understand why a UK publisher hasn't committed to publishing the full set of Quick & Flupke books, or why Orion passed on the Asterix Birthday book - to me they've both got a built in audience. Yet what do I know?
Agreed, it is a fabulous resource.
Next up from Cinebook is the delayed '...Moscow' book followed by another early Franquin, 'The Rhinoceros' Horn'. Happy days...!