Freddy Lom­bard

Comic Heroes - - Splash Pages -

In the par­al­lel uni­verse where great creators never die young and Joe Ma­neely lived to be­come one of the main­stays of the Marvel Age, Yves Cha­land was not killed in a car ac­ci­dent in 1990 at the age of 33 but con­tin­ued chron­i­cling the ad­ven­tures of his Tintin‑alike Freddy Lom­bard.

Back in our uni­verse, Hu­manoids is is­su­ing a beau­ti­ful 240-page hard­cover col­lec­tion of all five Freddy Lom­bard sto­ries. Con­sid­er­ing they were cre­ated and orig­i­nally pub­lished in the 1980s, they have a cu­ri­ously retro flavour in many re­spects – and, fair warn­ing, mod­ern read­ers may take is­sue with as­pects of the por­trayal of Africans in the sec­ond story, The Ele­phant

Grave­yard (dodgy even in 1984). In the af­ter­word, Jean-Luc Fro­men­tal ad­vo­cates the view that Cha­land’s art is evolv­ing back­wards, so to speak, to­wards a purer ligne claire style like that of Hergé at his 1950s peak. But if you come to Freddy Lom­bard with fresh eyes, you can ap­pre­ci­ate the flu­id­ity of Cha­land’s ear­lier, more car­toony art, which goes a long way to rec­on­cil­ing the two com­pet­ing schools of ban­des

dess­inées and has a dy­namic qual­ity akin to the best of Jaime Her­nan­dez or Dar­wyn Cooke. De­spite the ob­vi­ous sim­i­lar­i­ties to Tintin, Freddy is a much less strait-laced char­ac­ter and Cha­land’s work, even in its ques­tion­able mo­ments, can be much more vi­brant than Hergé’s.

Whether you love Tintin or han­ker for some­thing more gutsy, this sump­tu­ous col­lec­tion is a real treat and a fit­ting mon­u­ment to its tal­ented cre­ator.

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