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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Six Voyages of Lone Sloane (Graphic Novel)

By Philippe Druillet

Publisher: Titan Comics (August 18, 2015) (originally published in English in 1973).

Hardcover 72 pages

Finished 4/25/2017

Amazon Listing

       “The year 804 of the new era. After the great scare, men decided to spread their power over the universe. The infinite sea of stars wore the seal of the human empire. Great caravans of iron were launched to conquer the skies. Time passed and few came back. The universe was keeping its secrets. But a terran, a rogue among his kin, a loner sails to the outer reaches of the great cosmic ocean”
          Lone Sloane was first published in the 1966 French magazine Mystère des Abîmes and continued onto the Belgium comic Pilote (which also gave us the smurfs) Along with its French contemporaries, the author was incredibly influential especially in the field of science fiction comic artistry, eventually bleeding over into American art in the 1970s. Honestly, I am kicking myself that I haven’t read this author before. He is truly a master of his craft. Each panel is intense and precise. It is a crime more of his work hasn’t been translated into English.

          These collected stories are science fantasy. there are space ships and alien worlds yes, but it is rife with magic and alien gods. In the first three pages, Lone Sloane’s ship is destroyed by the alien Throne of the Black God. He is carried on it to a world whose priests plan to use his soul to reignite an ancient personification of destruction. The Earth has been stolen away by alien gods and repopulated with its own worshipers, Sloane eventually begins looking for it. And so on. All of the plots could easily fit into a fantasy setting.
          Each story is loosely tied, with the events or aftermath of the previous tale mentioned in the next episode. But there is no over arcing metaplot, except for a theme of alien gods, whose appearance takes up most of a page are everywhere in this universe. But the story is not why you should buy this book.
          As you can see from above, the art is absolutely superb! The author brilliantly plays with the page, taking as much space as he wants to, creating a psychedelic experience where what is actually happening fades into the background. The images capture your mind and I found myself staring intently at each page before remembering that it was part of a story. In fact, it took me a long time to get through this book as I spent half an hour on each page, just drinking in the cosmic insanity presented to me. Throwing restraint aside, Druillet overawes us with his scope and imagination. Detail is dense, but flowing. Meaning gives way to symbolic madness. Just take a look at the pictures presented and tell me that it does not suck you in.
          And if you do, I’ll call you a liar!


           For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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