TURNING PAGES AT 360 KMPH
When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” In a movie with about two minutes of cumulative dialogue from the lead actor, Steve McQueen, these lines stand out. And were the driving force for artist Sandro Garbo and his team, responsible for the graphic novel Steve McQueen in Le Mans, an exceedingly well crafted, painstaking even, ode in graphic novel form. In production since 2013, it’s the result of a dream where McQueen asked the artist to immortalise the iconic 1971 film’s racing in frames per second, in panels per page. Thank God for lucid dreams.
The graphic novel is not necessarily a frame-forframe depiction, instead filling in dialogue in places where the film sometimes simply relied on McQueen’s piercing stare to establish plot points—as race driver Michael Delany, who returns to the Circuit la Sarthe for the 24 hours of Le Mans, after an accident that took the life of a competitor, the wife of whom turns out to be McQueen’s love interest. Plot aside, the real beauty of the illustration is in the depiction of details—every single one accurate and period-correct—from the fair-like atmosphere around the circuit down to the lug nuts on the wheels of McQueen’s Gulf-livery Porsche 917. Every high-speed turn, wheel-to-wheel overtake and crash of these prototype endurance machines comes to life with a sense of speed, of realism. It’s possibly more likely to induce nail biting than an actual Formula 1 telecast. With 64 pages of Le Mans in frozen technicolour, this is a coffee table staple for both racing fans and classic McQueen fans alike.