By Pierre Christin & SÃ©bastien Verdier, with AndrÃ© Juillard, Olivier Balez, Manu Larcenet, Blutch, Isabelle Merlet, Juanjo Guarnido, Enki Bilal & more: translated by Edward Gauvin (SelfMadeHero)
ISBN: 978-1-910593-87-5 (TPB)
We all have our heroes. One whom I apparently share with another of my most admired and revered favourites is Eric Arthur Blair, who youâ€™ll know as George Orwell.
One of the most significant literary, societal, cultural and political figures of the 20th century, Orwell is also a particular fascination of comics icon Pierre Christin, co-creator of epically barbed, venerable sci fi masterpiece Valerian and Laureline. A seditiously canny political commentator in his own right – as seen in such thought-provoking graphic subversions as The Town That Didnâ€™t Exist, The Black Order and The Hunting Party – Christin began this particular piece of literary reportage after completing a personal project investigating the worldâ€™s various functioning – if not necessarily functional – Communist regimesâ€¦
A writer to his core, Eric Blair was a true and ardent democratic socialist: an author, critic, essayist and unflinching observer of humanity saddled with a loathing of privilege and an inescapably, embarrassingly obvious upper-class education.
Blair was a solitary individual who loved people, and an angry humanist vehemently opposed to greed, stupidity, totalitarianism, extremism and oppression (equally from the Left, Right and religious alike). He fought for his ideals during the Spanish Civil War and loathed Stalin, Hitler and probably his own and all other national leaders with equanimous passion.
The complex manâ€™s fascinating private life is brilliantly and addictively detailed in Orwell: Old Etonian, copper, prole, dandy, militiaman, journalist, rebel, novelist, eccentric, socialist, patriot, gardener, hermit, visionary: Christinâ€™s compelling graphic biography and appreciation primarily illustrated by SÃ©bastien Verdier (Ultimate Agency; Le marathon de Safia; Zodiaque) with additional visual contributions from AndrÃ© Juillard, Olivier Balez, Manu Larcenet, Blutch, Juanjo Guarnido, Enki Bilal, colourist Isabelle Merlet and more.
Divided into â€˜Orwell Before Orwellâ€™, â€˜Blair Invents Orwellâ€™ and â€˜Orwellian Orwellâ€™, with an assessment of the world â€˜After Orwellâ€™, the narrative message and potent documentary depictions are bolstered with adapted snatches from Orwellâ€™s groundbreaking stories and non-fiction, plus plenty of quotes taken from the cultural witness/prophetâ€™s diaries.
Moving, revelatory, potent and supplemented by a methodological Afterword from Christin, this is a captivating graphic triumph no fan of graphic biography or devotee of the only man to provably predict the future should be without.
Orwell Â© DARGAUD 2019, by Christin, Verdier. All rights reserved. English translation Â© 2021 SelfMadeHero.