HOME THINGS


This page is devoted to one of my favourite things: comic art. Although I like comic art in general, some of it deserves the highest consideration, based on what I consider very good plots and exceptional drawing. Of course there are also sentimental reasons for my choices, memories of childhood. In any case, what follows is a tribute to the authors and the characters of the ninth art. All images are property of their authors and their publishers.



Prince Valiant Tintin Lt. Blueberry Bourgeon
Tarzan, Les tours de Bois-Maury, Michel Tanguy, L'Incal,
Nestor Burma, Dieter Lumpen, Max Fridman, Silence, Flash Gordon
Blake & Mortimer Barbe-Rouge L'épervier Tramp
Les sept vies de l'épervier Juillard Adèle Blanc-Sec Warnauts & Raives
Marvel Superheroes Magasin Général Amours fragiles El mercenario 


Prince Valiant, by  H. Foster

This I consider one of the best comic ever (if not the best). It excels in every respect. First of all, it is an adventure story, with a hero, Prince Valiant, whose life is told from kid to young man, to married man, to father of many. The reader enjoys all these changes well enough. Then, the days of the story: what can be better that King Arthur's Round Table era? Here there is a subtle mixture in the ways of the hero: he is a knight, but also a warrior; problems are often solved by somehow treacherous means, to say the least, and other more archetypical knights would not like that, even mock at it, although the reader will not object at all. Another feature is the appearence of magic and illusion. These are for sure due in Val's time, but they are given a scientific twist and a common sense approach that prevents it from being plainly naif. The best examples are Merlin's appearences. In any case true magic is also behind! There is also a curious and appealing use of historic truth and legend and a sage disregard for date accuracy, which allows the coexistence of so many well-known names in the life span of Val: roman emperors, famous vikings, barbarians, arabs and religious wars. In most cases with a respectful view. In addition, Val is always on the road, and famous places are revisited, who has not heard of Samarkanda? And also America and Africa. And the hero is always involved in something important, either in the short term or in the long run we will attend to a feat of courage. There is romance, drama, humour, everything! And on top of all of this, we have the drawings. The reader can only admire the enormous talent of the artist, whatever he choses to do: landscapes and nature, architecture, animals and people, faces or bodies, still or in motion, relaxed or violent. The author's ability appears in every single example. But the best way to appreciate it is to take a look at these scans.

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Tintin, by  Hergé

What can be said of Tintin? As for most people, Tintin's were the first BDs I collected, and I still have them. How can it be that thirty years later I keep reading them again, and discovering new qualities? How is it that this series touches upon everything from serious to comic with the sparkling hability to be parodic but fair? And all those supporting characters, forged along the life of our reporter hero: the twin policemen Dupond & Dupont (or Hernández & Fernández), Haddock, Tornasol (or Tournesol or Calculus), Alan, Rastapopoulos, Nestor, Castafiore... Go and see!

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Blueberry, by  J.-M. Charlier  &  J. Giraud.

This is a pure western hero: independent, strong, honest and irreverent, always against all odds, even himself, often in serious problems with authorities, in favour of indians (the right ones), a rebel, in a word. The adventures sure have the standard qualities of the theme, but the script is terrific, the action never ends, the rythm sagely timed. The long list of books includes not very many different stories, some with recurrent characters, all very well supported upon historical facts, or imitations of them, and plenty of myths of the far west iconography. Furthermore this Blueberry is a hero that develops in front of the reader, there are changes along the way, doesn't time fly? At some moment two new subseries were created: The youth of Blueberry, and Marshall Blueberry. These fill gaps in the main character story and backgrounds, and after the untimely death of J.-M. Charlier other authors colaborated in the making. However, everything fits in the whole as the fantastic epopeya of a man that stands by himself. And it goes without saying that the drawings serve well the purpose. As a plus, the reader can track very clearly the evolution and progressive mastering the artist reaches on his work. In fact, Giraud must to be considered one of the best artists today, and just looking at some examples confirms without discussion this opinion!

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Les passagers du vent, Les compagnons du crépuscule, by  F. Bourgeon
Le cycle de Cyann, by  F. Bourgeon &  C. Lacroix


I discovered F. Bourgeon's art during a stay at Rennes, in the middle 80s, invited by Marie-Françoise Roy and Michel Coste. From them I learnt then, and keep learning today, a lot of mathematics, but Marie-Françoise and Michel also showed me the books of the series Les passagers du vent. I was impressed by the quality of the argument and the quality of the drawings, both unpaired! Later I read the other two stories, and each was again impressive. There is the very appealing feature in all these works, that the main character is always a girl, despite the presence of other essential men in the plot. Usually a quite determined and decisive young girl, even two of them. In addition there is the recreation of historical surroundings in the 18th or the 14th century in Europe, or a far future where every environment must be disguised from scratch. Either through documentation or pure invention, the ambient where the events take place (sometimes magical, sometimes crude and real) is fully detailed to a point that the reader cannot actually scape from a self contained round universe that fullfils all needs of the story. And, of course, there is always the immensity of Bourgeon's talent as a painter. Feast your eyes!

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But there are more: the sober mediaeval saga Les Tours de Bois-Maury, created by Hermann; L'Incal, by Möbius & A. Jodorowsky; B. Hogarth's Tarzan; Michel Tanguy by J.-M. Charlier &  A. Uderzo; the french detective Nestor Burma by L. Malet & J. Tardi; the unclassifiable Dieter Lumpen by R. Pellejero & J. Zetner; V. Giardino's quiet Max Fridman, the impressive Silence by D. Comès... Look here!

Back in time, a series deserves a special mention: Flash Gordon by A. Raymond, who made wonderful stories from 1934 to 1944, mastering his art to examples this good.

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Blake & Mortimer, by  E.-P. Jacobs

One must recall here the extraordinary adventures of this so british couple B&M. And of course one can never stress enough the top quality drawings, whose apparent simplicity hides the high difficulty of its clear line style (or its somehow special variation of that style) where no mistake is allowed.

The second part of Professor Sato's
story was finished by
B. de Moor.

Years later the series has been taken over by two teams: J.-C. Van Hamme & T. Benoit and Y. Sente & A. Juillard. They produce regularly new albums, always respecting the style and spirit of Jacobs creatures. The first team has been changing, but anyhow, we confess our preference for the second... An updated chronology is to be found here.

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On the high-seas

And we come to sea exploits. First of all that masterpiece by J.-M. Charlier &  V. Hubinon, the famous Barbe-Rouge, le démon des Caraïbes! Again Charlier at his best (to match his Blueberry or his Tanguy), and what of Hubinon's art? Just look!

Then, we discover the deeds of another pirate, Yann de Kermeur, or shouldn't we name him so? Better we say L'Épervier, created by P. Pellerin, who after trying his hand on le démon Barbe-Rouge, now exhibits his talent in sea and land through perfect classical images.

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Finally, as far, in 20th century seas and lands we find a modern Yann, Calec his surname, in the series Tramp, written by J.-C. Kraehn and put in crystal clear images by P. Jusseaume.

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Les sept vies de l'épervier, by  P. Cothias &  A. Juillard

This is a true piece of genius, a labyrinthic plot of many faces, involving history and myth, legend and magic, good and evil, concocted by P. Cothias and deployed for our eyes by A. Juillard.

This story has a direct continuation, by the same authors: Plume aux vents. But in fact this is the central part of a great fresco of France during the XVI-XVII centuries. This bast cycle imagined by Cothias starts somewhat modestly when jointly with Juillard they begin Masquerouge. Later, other artists take their parts: M. Venanzi completes Masquerouge; P. Wachs does Les tentations de Navarre; A. Robet, Le chevalier, la mort et le diable (the title of a symbolic engraving by A. Dürer); B. Goepfert, Le fou du Roy; J.-P. Dethorey and then M. Meral, Coeur brûlé; D. Prudhomme, Ninon secréte; Marc-Renier, Le masque de fer. Almost all of this is finished, but for Le chevalier... , and still Cothias announces a 5000 pages novel on the whole thing.

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A. Juillard

We meet here a major artist. Of course any story of his is excellent: Arno (written by the great J. Martin), Le cahier bleu, Après la pluie, Le long voyage de Léna,, the new B&M adventures; and his beaux livres: Le dernier chapitre (four books featuring B&M, Barbe-Rouge, Les Pieds- Nickelés, Johan et Pirlouit), 36 vues de la Tour Eiffel, Nation Etoile, New York Tanks... But just his art by itself, that's it! Admire that overwhelming quality in Entracte, a unique confession of love for drawing.

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Adèle Blanc-Sec, by  J. Tardi

What delightful this adventures! The heroine of Tardi, brings back Jules Verne and imagination without constraints, served with a unique black and white attaching drawing. What would say the master H. Pratt? See here the covers:

But once you've read something by Tardi, you will go immediately for more: Ici même, Griffu, Tuer de caffards. Not to mention his allegations against war and injustice, C'était la guerre des tranchées, for instance, and the impresive Cri du peuple, based on the novel by Jean Vautrin.

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Warnauts & Raives

Also, one wants to bring in the team Warnauts & Raives, authors of a singularly appealing work. They have created several really outstanding series (read l'Orfêvre, Les suites venniciennes), but one appreciates mostly their one-shots (Lettres d'outremer, L'innocente, L'envers des rêves...), plenty of subtleties and of extraordinary images of Paris, Venice, Afrique or les Caraïbes... Sample covers:

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Marvel superheroes

Now, a compulsory word is due for those comic books whose label graphic stories for adults attracted us irresistibly. They hid the wondrous Marvel Universe of superheroes, concocted for us by Stan Lee, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, John Romita... Remember, if you ever forgot!

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Magasin Général, by  R. Loisel &  J.-L. Tripp

This is another work that deserves the qualification of masterpiece. A jewel that offers all possible nuances in BD art and sensibility. Everybody will find here some special aspect to value: the ambiance, the characters, the plot, the action and the abscence of it, the portrait of common life, but exquisiticities too... Some rare appeal that only true stories can render. One can surely think of good old black and white movies of Hollywood's Golden Age, that age of Frank Capra, brought to our views. Not to miss, certainly.

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Amours fragiles, by  J.-M. Beuriot &  P. Richelle

This moving story, touching individual and collective sensibilities, has developed into a major work. The very hard times of Second World War, through the eyes and feelings of private people, some who try to understand, some who try to rebel against, some who believe without questioning propaganda or orders. Much has been already said, much has been shown, but still... One must remember, learn the lesson, tell the history. The authors here succeed in an extraordinary way. Many dialogs and reflections deserve a quotation, but better everybody extracts her/his own quotations, sure there are.

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El mercenario, by  V. Segrelles

This masterpiece, finally reedited in due form for our utmost pleasure.

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There are many excellent BD sites in the web to visit, but let us mention these four: