The popularity of the western genre in comics continues unabated. The seminal series Lucky Luke and Blueberry have paved the way for new generations of artists, who in turn grace us with remarkable soap operas: Undertaker, Lincoln, The Venom, Go West, Texas Cowboys, < /strong>Gus, Hiram Lowatt & Placido. Quebec is no exception, especially with the excellent Wild Westbeautifully illustrated by Jacques Lamontagne, as well as two new forays into very different tones: the hilarious Sheriff Junior and the mystical Killing the Painter.
Six years after the publication of the diptych Whitehorse, which will be staged at the Théâtre Jean Duceppe next fall, and the adaptation of Vil et miserable for the big screen, the shooting of which will begin shortly, Samuel Cantin returns in splendid form with Sheriff Junior : There is something dusty in Sorel-sur-Poussière, a delirious 450-page epic that will make you howl with laughter.
Barely 11 years old, Junior, decked out with an inexhaustible thirst for justice, a Prince Vaillant haircut and a fervent feeling of love for his pipe-smoking teacher, sees tranquility of the small town of Sorel-en-Poussière, the 27th largest city in all of turbo-Lower Canada in the second half of the 19th century. Then lands a quartet of thug brothers who, wishing to control the city in order to erect a giant slide there for lack of a better idea, foment a pandemic crisis: the distribution of a dust with bewitching properties which once inhaled transforms you into a drug addict scatterbrained.
“In a way, it's my most ''comic'' album insofar as I've worked in a specific genre. I always wanted to do a western. I like the albums Lucky Luke, the Blueberry, but also films of this genre. There are really rich shackles for comedy, full of bases that we know, there is so much way to spoof in there, says Cantin. I had this urge since I was a teenager. I'm glad I did today. Initially, I wanted to get into it right after Vile et miserable, but it wasn't coming out. The wait will have been well worth it. After the closing of his diptych Whitehorse in 2017, the artist will work on the side of the 7th art, in particular with his web-series Sylvain the magnificent, the animated short film The turtle syndrome produced by the NFB and the film adaptation of Vil et miserable.
This detour allowed him to perfect his skills as a dialogue writer and director of actor – two cornerstones of his work – which unfold masterfully in Shérif Junior.
A success story
Another striking element in Cantin: his innate sense of digression. Because yes, he graces us with fabulous linguistic slippages, sprinkling his dialogues with chill expressionslike the peregrine falcon ad, while its characters are prey to absurd existentialist questions. Everything fits naturally into the course of the action, infusing the story with a feeling of hilarity and feverishness, as if each of the pages of the fabulous pavement operated on us a slow and sneaky intoxication like this damn dust .
Fitting somewhere between the universes of Morris, Mel Brooks and Ding and Dong, the first Shérif Junior is a success, which moreover, endows the 9th national art with a new series which will undoubtedly become cult.
The transfiguration of the American West of the mid-19th century by painters as the backdrop for a comic strip by Quebec authors? This is the daring and masterful bet that Etienne Poisson and Olivier Robin offer us with Killing the Painter, a hallucinated western which pays tribute so much to the creator of Lucky Luke than Christophe Blain (Gus).
A wanted criminal, fearing being flushed out, hires a contract killer to kill Charles Marion Russell, who painted him in profile, without even informing him, in one of his paintings. The cowboy will therefore criss-cross Montana and Alberta for a fortnight in search of the offending painter.
Go west, young man< /strong>
First self-published, the story was the subject of an expanded reissue this spring by Moelle Graphik in a beautiful case.
“We wanted to nominate for the Bédélys awardsof 2021. We released the album in a hurry, a matter of being on schedule, ”recalls screenwriter Olivier Robin, also author of Draw your science, popular science tapes.< /p>
“We won the Bédélysindependent, which changed the life of the project,” adds illustrator Étienne Poisson. As hoped, the reward draws attention to the album, including the publisher and founder of Moelle Graphik Julien Poitras. Once a publishing contract is in hand, the duo returns to rework the material, refining both the container and the content. In particular, they provide each beginning of the chapter with a map, a judicious spatial marker that enhances the storyline and graphically.
In addition, the one-page illustration starter is completed here in sublime engravings, allowing readers to breathe. “A bit like Dragon Ball,” Poisson explains. Or as in the first Tintin albums, for those whose reference could escape. Through flat areas and an undulating line evoking that of Christophe Blain, Killing the Painter plunges us into an astonishing epic where locomotives made their appearance, and where painting is about to giving way to photography in the representation of reality.
A complete work
We are therefore sailing blindly between archaism and modernity , in an adventure tinged with infectious feverishness. “The starting premise comes from the expression “I would kill to have his talent”, which we found strange. From there, the story was built from sustained exchanges,” says Robin.
To prolong the pleasure of reading, the authors subscribe to the work of an alphabet primer of true things and false as well as the list of paintings reproduced. Whether you have an inclination for the history of pictorial art or for adventures flavored with gunpowder, blood and sand, reading Killing the Painter will fill you with happiness.< /p>