Ensconced in the avant-garde of the extraordinary social and cultural upheavals that were drawing 1960s Europe into the building wave of postmodernism, a Belgian advertising dropout, fed up with the corporate world, conceived the first "adult comic book" virtually off the top of his head.
By creating The Adventures of Jodelle, a deluxe comics album that wore its revolutionary Pop sensibility on its sleeve, Guy Peellaert obliterated the conventions of what had up to that point been a minor, childish medium. Ironically appropriating the face and body of the teen idol Sylvie Vartan, he fashioned a new kind of heroine, a sensual, parodically beautiful spy. For his setting he chose a defiantly anachronistic Roman Empire, into which irrupted the most flamboyant symbols of a conquering America, the originator of all fantasies.
Every page of this fascinating saga features a flood of topical references and in-jokes, operating playfully on the border that separated so-called "high" and "low" cultures. Peellaert drew from the most exciting stimuli of his time, subjecting them to his powerful formal innovations: Pop Art, extreme fashions, strident advertising, shock graphics, and cinematic techniques all collided in virtuoso compositions of extreme sophistication, whose inspirations ranged from classical paintings to Gottlieb pinball machines.
Published to thunderous acclaim in France in 1966 and then throughout Europe and in the U.S., Jodelle was an instant classic, whose influence would spread far beyond the confines of comics. It also triggered Guy Peellaert's "Pop Period," a creative whirlwind marked by his 1967 creation of PRAVDA, an unforgettable character that has since been acknowledged as a major component of the European Pop movement.
Completely remastered and featuring a new translation, this long-awaited reprinting of The Adventures of Jodelle is accompanied by an 80-page, lushly-illustrated textual supplement created in partnership with the artist's estate which traces the creative path travelled by this maverick artist, who multiplied his chosen means of expression, skipping from comics to cinema and moving through fashion, periodicals, and television, including collaborations with many of the great figures of mythical 1960s-era Paris, from Serge Gainsbourg to Yves Saint Laurent.
"Guy Peellaert was to Europe what Andy Warhol was to America — except Guy had more talent!" – Jim Steranko
"Peellaert's comic strips were the literature of intelligence, imagination and romanticism." – Federico Fellini
"Lusciously designed flat color patterns and a dizzying forced perspective reminiscent of Matisse and Japanese prints. Graphically, Jodelle sets a new record in comic-strip sophistication." – New York magazine
"Peellaert's contribution to comics was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. It was he who brought Pop Art into the Ninth Art. Intensity and velocity, these would be the core principles of this unclassifiable, extraordinary artist." – Pierre Sterckx
"The artist seems to perpetually reinvent the comics form anew, without carrying the weight of any previous tradition." – Thierry Groensteen
"As an art student in the Swinging Sixties, I discovered the first adult-oriented comics, like Barbarella and Guy Peellaert's The Adventures of Jodelle. At that very moment a whole new universe opened up to me. Having grown up in a home where comics were banned and considered mindless, that discovery was really one of adulthood and maturity." – Milo Manara