« We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams. » — Jeremy Irons
Today, we note the birth anniversary of the powerful French bédéiste Paul Gillon (May 11, 1926- May 21, 2011). Working in a classical, realistic style, he began his career in comics with the weekly Vaillant. For daily newspaper France-Soir, he co-created the daily soap opera strip 13, rue de l’Espoir (1959-1962, scripted by Jacques Gall and François Gall), strongly inspired by Elliot Caplin and Stan Drake’s The Heart of Juliet Jones, but set in Paris.
Then, in 1964, for the short-lived bédé newspaper Chouchou (an eight-pager published for a mere 14 issues, a tragedy!), Gillon co-created, with scripter J.C. Valherbe (alias Jean-Claude Forest, of Barbarella fame), one of the great classics of French science-fiction comics, Les naufragés du temps (“Castaways of Time”). Several wonderful features (for instance, Georges Pichard‘s Ténébrax) were left stranded by Chouchou’s demise, including (literally) Les naufragés.
Fortunately, its authors deemed its premise too worthy to let the matter drop forever. Nearly a decade on, Gillon tweaked the saga’s opening pages and resumed the narrative, which France-Soir published. Forest scripted the first four collections (1974-76), then Gillon took full command of the strip, which found a warm new home in Métal hurlant from 1977 right to the end of the series with Le cryptomère (The Cryptomeria), collected in 1989.
Les naufragés’ premise is this: In 1990, a man (Chris) and a woman (Valérie) are placed into suspended animation. A thousand years hence, the man is picked up and woken. Where’s the woman?, he wants to know. A futuristic bout of cherchez la femme ensues, to make a long story short.
Forest, wrote, in 1967, of his original plans for the saga: « Chris was searching for an image. After many adventures, he manages to find Valérie only to realize that this image no longer fitted that of his dream. »
The sequence presented here comprise the second, third and fourth pages of the first tale, as they appeared in Chouchou in 1964. Say, that cool metal creature reminds me of one of the most ridiculous Marvel super-baddies of the 1960s, disgruntled government employee Alexander Gentry, aka… (see below for the answer).
A peek at a page of original art from album 3, Labyrinthes (1976):
More about the series: http://www.coolfrenchcomics.com/naufragesdutemps.htm
… and you can read the entire series here (if you can read French) or, if not, just admire the artwork.
… and here’s your answer: