By Philippe Druillet, translated by Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier (NBM)
Comics and fantasy story-telling took a huge leap forward in 1975 when French comics collective Les Humanoides Associes began publishing the groundbreaking magazine Métal Hurlant. However one of their visual mainstays had begun nearly a decade earlier.
Philippe Druillet was a photographer and artist who had started his comics career in 1966 with an apocalyptic science fiction epic Le Mystère des abîmes (The Mystery of the Abyss) which introduced a doom-tainted intergalactic freebooter and wanderer called Lone Sloane in a tale heavily influenced by HP Lovecraft and A.E. Van Vogt.
Druillet was born in Toulouse in 1944, and raised in Spain, and his comics work is panoramic, cosmic and deeply baroque. He began working for Pilote in 1969, and revived his star-rover in a number of short pieces gathered together as The Six Voyages in 1972. This collection from 1991 presents them in English and perfectly captures the Gothic intensity of the saga which inspired so many artists.
In ‘The Throne of the Black God’ Sloane’s ship is destroyed by a demonic chair that kidnaps him to a desolate world to await possession by a cosmic god of chaos, whilst in ‘The Isle of the Doom Wind’ the throne-riding sidereal vagabond thwarts space pirates. In the macabre romance ‘Rose’ he is trapped on a world of robotic junk and the occasional series leapt into interstellar overdrive with the oppressive battle-thriller ‘Torquedara Varenkor: the Bridge over the Stars’.
In ‘O Sidarta’ Sloane recaptured his long-lost super spaceship and began a quest to return to Earth and overthrow the despotic Imperium, a quest that culminated in startling revelations of his destiny in ‘Terra’: all of which were simply preludes for his next ambitious epic ‘Delerius.’
The stories here are mere skeletons for the high-concepts which fascinate the artist, and their true appeal lies in the startling graphic innovations in design and layout Druillet seemed to let explode from his pen and brain. Moreover the sheer energy of his work scintillates when reproduced on extra-large pages (310mm x 233mm). This is book every art lover of fan of the fantastic simply must have. Surely it’s time for another luxury collection to be released?
© Humanoides Associes 1991. English Translation © 1991 Dark Horse.