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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Survivors!: The Eyes That Burned (Graphic Novel)

By Hermann

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (January 1, 1983)

Softcover, 48 pages

Finished 1/9/2018

Amazon Listing





          This is the first American print version of the popular Belgium comic Jeremiah- changed to The Survivors by the editors of Fantagraphics. It has since been reintroduced in its original name by Malibu Comics, Catalan Communications (both defunct) and, most recently, Dark Horse. All of these attempts have been with middling results, which is a pity as the art is superb, even if the stories vary in quality.  Again it's an example of European sensibilities (where the book is popular) veering off massively from the American audiences. This was the second and last volume produced by Fantagraphics.
          Perhaps that’s unfair (I love it), maybe it was simply lacking in the advertisement. Maybe it's that the comic is billed as Science Fiction, but in reality it is a Western in a post-apocalyptic society.  And Western comics just don’t sell like they used to.

Set in a world torn apart by racial wars, Jeremiah and his pal, Kurdy, wander the world, drifting from town to town solving problems- just like Knight Rider. There is no real overarching plot, but some stories will drift from volume to volume, but in a very meandering way. Essentially each volume is a separate story. In The Eyes That Burn the pair help a group of prisoners (white and black) escape from a Native American controlled area, where they were forced to work on a slave labor gang. Lots of violence, lots of amazing line art. Color is a bit washed out, but that adds to the mood.


          Thirty four volumes of Jeremiah (or albums as the European markets call it) have been published, beginning in 1979 and continuing up until 2015. A TV series, Jeremiah, was based on the comic was produced in 2002, starring Luke Perry and Malcolm Jamal-Warner. Well, let’s put the term based in the largest possible quotation marks, as the main character’s names seem to be the only similarities between the two.

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