From our continental correspondent – Fantagraphics to publish classic Peelaert‏

Published On June 15, 2011 | By Wim | Comics, Continental Correspondent

Good news for fans of vintage 60s pop material:  Fantagraphics (one of our favourite publishers) recently announced (in their own, “you have to find it if you’re really interested” kind of way, burying it deep in their site) that they have acquired the publishing rights for the English language editions for two classic albums by Belgian pop art cartoonist Guy Peelaert (see our earlier coverage here and here for more on Guy).

(Get your motor running, head out on the highway… Motorbiking, Pravda style by Guy Peelaert)

The books in question are The Adventures of Jodelle and Pravda, which were both written by Eric Losfeld.  They were originally published in serial format in the French underground magazine Hara-Kiri and consequently in album format in 1966 and 1967 respectively.  The stories were rather revolutionary in their combination of counterculture values and elements from popular music, film and comics, and still look pretty cool today.

(Les Aventures de Jodelle, by Guy Peellaert)

Jodelle tells the story of a female spy in a very kitschy, fantasy world, built out of elements from space-age design and classic romanesque culture.  Pravda follows the voyages of an all-female motorcycle gang through an America that is equally mythical and spun together from all kinds of imagery and clichés.  But even though in their narrative they were already distinctly modern, it was the artwork that set them apart from all the rest.  Peelaert freely borrowed from the visual language of pop art (fair enough, since pop art ‘borrowed’ from comics too!), with its continuous clash of pop and classical culture references, rendering it all in a fluid line combined with large swatches of flat, often clashing colours.

(fabulous artwork from Jodelle by Guy Peelaert)

You don’t need to know that Jodelle and Pravda were based respectively on French chanseuses Sylvie Vartan and Françoise Hardy to enjoy these books, and I think they will prove to be a very good addition to Fantagraphics’ continually growing library of classic comics from round the world.  Perhaps later they may even think about reissuing the book Rock Dreams, which he created in 1973 with rock journalist Nick Cohn, presenting a series of surreal collague portraits of the musical heroes of his youth.

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