The Extraordinary Adventures of Adéle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris / The Eiffel Tower Demon (Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-SEC) Hardcover – 28 Jul 2011
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Jacques Tardi. Comics god. I love Tardi's work so much I have even tried reading some of it in French, and my French isn't very good, but dammit, this work was so good I wanted it. Tardi is a master, who can turn his hand to any and all subjects. --Forbidden Planet International
About the Author
Jacques Tardi is a pioneering European cartoonist. His Adele Blanc-Sec series was adapted into a feature by Luc Besson, and he was behind the recent animated film April and the Extraordinary World. His comics are award winning (including the U.S.'s Eisners). He lives in Paris with his wife, the singer Dominique Grange, and their cats.
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When I first read this album - maybe 25 years ago - I was blown away. After re-reading this album I must say that time has taken nothing away from it. It still holds. I would definitely recommend this album.
If you do not like a lot of text in your comics this is not for you, but if you do and have a taste for quirkiness The Extra-Ordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec is a real treat.
I was intrigued by these books after watching the Luc Besson film which merges the stories from volumes 1 and 4 of the Adele Blanc - Sec series. The comments about the characters looking similar in the other review is a fair one although not insurmountable and I was reading this in French. Small wonder I got confused! However, other than this observation, I would have to disagree as the the whole point of the book is that Tardi was being ironic and his tongue was firmly against his cheek when he produced the wonderful illustrations and the cool melodrama of the narrative.
The amazing thing about the books is how Besson seemed completely dedicated to recreating so many of the frames within his film. I think he also improved the story somewhat by merging two volumes of Adele Blanc-Sec's adventures and dispensed with the storyline about the stolen case full of money taken from a bank which I found confusing - more due to the standard of my French that anything else. This element of the book, however, does follow through into the second volume. Tardi's depiction of the Paris and especially Lyon (a city I am very familiar with) are very accurate from the illustrations and the book is peppered with pictures of vintage cars and paraphenalia from the turn of the last century which add to the appeal. Anything with a dinosaur in always grabs my attention aand whilst the story is daft, it is far more entertaing than the other reviewer would have you believe.
These stories do have a certain charm about them and Adele Blanc-Sec is almost an anti- heroine, not entirely on the side of the law and with disdain and contempt for the young men in the comics who fall for her. She is very much the anti-thesis of American comic book heroes who I find to be boring and tiring and ultimately of now interest. Tardi's work is well considered on the other side of the Channel and Adele Blanc-Sec is exactly the kind of enigmatic character that appeals to the French. Granted that Luc Besson has very much fleshed out her personality in his film in a manner that the 48-page first volume of the story cannot acheive (the English version of this comic includes the first two stories combined) and added to sly sense of humour that is missing from the book, but I felt that the stories were entertaining and a refreshing change to feature someone who doesn't come from the other side of the Atlantic.
Over-intricate plotting with double crosses, disguises, plot twists within twists. Constant flicking backward and forward required.
Everybody seems to wear black with moustaches and hats, adding to the confusion.
Much enjoyment to be had despite the plotting though. Very immersive with period clothes, vehicles and buildings, superbly realised.
Ends in the middle. Book 2 needed Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Vol. 2.(supposedly clearer plot)
Not as funny or quirky as the Luc Besson movie The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec [DVD], but entertaining and fun.
You can get 1+2 and 3+4 in English, after that there's promise of translations, or you can stumble through the French versions.
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