TURN­ING PAGES AT 360 KMPH

India Today - - LEISURE - —Sim­ran Ras­togi

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.

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