Comics: A Modern-Day Antihero

Comic Book: A Modern Day Antihero


Whether through reinterpretation, adaptation or creation, mythology is fertile ground that allows the 9e art of generating great albums. 

Obviously known to Quebec comic book fans for the iconic animated soap operas Michel Risk and Red Ketchup in collaboration with Pierre Fournier, the illustrator Réal Godbout has several other albums in his corpus, including L’Amérique ou le passé, adapted from Kafka’s novel (La Pastèque, 2013), Quand I'll be dead with Laurent Cha-bin (La Pastèque, 2019) as well as Before the apocalypse with his daughter Adèle Bourget-Godbout (Mécanique générale, 2015). 

On the occasion of his most recent album published these days at La Pastèque, he opts again for the family by collaborating this time with his son Robin on the script as well as his spouse Dominique on the colors (sublime, by the way ). 

On a cruise

Freely inspired by Homer's Odyssey, Happy Who Like Ugo tells the story of Ugo Saint-Germain, a travel columnist hired to cover a luxury cruise in the Mediterranean. 

“Initially, it was an old idea that had been in my head for a long time: why not organize a cruise inspired by the Odyssey to repeat the voyages of Ulysses? Since I'm not in the tourist industry, I can't afford to organize a cruise and I don't own a boat, I thought it would make a good comic book album. Tells Real Godbout. 

“When I returned from a trip to Sicily with Dominique, I contacted Robin and we developed the screenplay by building the synopsis together and sharing the writing of the different chapters and the writing of the dialogues. We are currently working in the same way on Red Ketchup's tenth album, which will be titled Agent Orange.” 

The expedition quickly turns sour, however. Ugo, anti-hero of modern times, comes up against an ignorant and violent world, driven by a consumerism that leads him inexorably to his downfall. 

“Ugo is indeed not a hero. He is simply someone who questions himself, in relation to what defines him as a person, in relation to society, in relation to what surrounds him. He is certainly losing his bearings, but like Ulysses, he walks and tries to find a certain meaning in his life.

Exercise of transmission

What is striking when reading the story is the incandescent beauty of the boards. The landscape format allows the veteran illustrator to pace the story differently, to give free rein to the drawing. 

The sequences on mythology are also so many splendid tableaux in which we we let it drift gently. In addition to the pleasure in the execution, we especially feel that of the transmission. 

“The opportunity to collaborate with my father was above all a unique chance to share a creative experience and to put the foot in his world after spending my childhood watching him work.”

An icon revisited

Created by Jean Van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosinski in the pages of the weekly Tintin in 1977, Thorgal is a dense and complex hero as he is. 'does too little. 

A heroic fantasy series based on Scandinavian mythology, it has a huge readership and is available in several series. The most recent, Thorgal Saga, allows creators to offer a reinterpretation in a unique album, out of the continuity of the parent series. 

It is Robin Recht (Elric) who has the honor of initiating this new editorial adventure, which engenders with Adieu Aaricia nothing less than a masterpiece of the genre. 

“I see this opportunity as a huge chance. I am offered the keys to a room full of wonderful toys that I loved as a teenager and I have the right to lock myself in there for many months. I entered it with unconsciousness and greed, without any pressure. A real kid!” says the artist at the other end of the keyboard 

“Vis-à-vis the readers, the lover of Thorgal that I am had to be able to look this album in the face without blushing too much. I have the right to have fun in this toy room, I even have the duty to do so, but there must also be infinite respect for these characters.” 

The artist, who had delivered in 2018 a sublime adaptation of The Frost Giant's Daughter, the saga of Conan, by Robert E Howard, competes in audacity by choosing not only to show his old and diminished hero, but also by allowing him to travel in time to see one last time the love of his life. 

“The heart of my narrative for me is melancholy. Melancholy vis-à-vis this huge series that I discovered at an age that is getting further away every day. Melancholy of the character for what he was and that he too will no longer be. Time travel is the most obvious way to arouse this feeling, I think, and so it was only natural that the idea imposed itself as the main plot of the story. 

Like Émile Bravo and his Spirou, Robin Recht proves – if necessary – that one can revisit a character by placing him at the center of his own mythology. < /p>

Prepare your tissues.

Also read

Locating somewhere between the corpora of cartoonists Moebius and Jim Woodring, as well as the series of comics Warriors of Plasm and the album Memoria by Claude Paiement and Jean-Paul Eid, Tales of the interface of the young Quebecer Emmanuel Filteau immerses us in a world controlled by artificial intelligence, where humans live in virtual universes. Sociofinanced and self-distributed, this series stands out from current local production, embracing the science fiction genre while inoculating it with a clever dose of humor and references to popular culture. To discover!