Both a rip-roaring adventure series set in pre-World War I Paris and a parody of same, Adèle Blanc-Sec has been enchanting, thrilling, and puzzling readers worldwide through four decades.
With various American attempts to publish Adèle having dribbled into nothing decades ago, Fantagraphics Books, fresh from its triumphs with Tardi’s West Coast Blues, You Are There, and It Was the War of the Trenches, launches a spectacular, newly retranslated, hardcover series that intends to collect every one of its nine (soon ten) volumes.
In this premiere installment, Adèle becomes involved in an interlocking series of mysteries that involve a revived pterodactyl, a frightful on-stage murder, a looming execution by guillotine, and a demon from the depths of hell — plus of course moronic gendarmes, loyal (or perhaps traitorous?) henchmen, and a climax atop the Eiffel Tower.
In 2010, Adèle Blanc-Sec was adapted into a feature film by the renowned action director Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element), bringing this quirky, very French series to a new worldwide audience.
"...Plot twists aplenty, including a murder or two, as well as a parade of mysterious characters and double-crosses... In crisp drawings with just the right combination of caricature and architectural precision, Tardi wonderfully captures turn-of-the-century Paris."
– Publishers Weekly
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt (2.7 MB) with the beginning pages of each story.
After establishing the world of the prickly heroine with the first two episodes
of this classic series (combined in Fantagraphics’ The Extraordinary Adventures
of Adèle Blanc-Sec Volume 1), Jacques Tardi plunges us back into Belle-Époque
Paris for another double dosage of heroic derring-do, evil and crazy malefactors, mad actresses (yes, "Clara Benhardt" makes a return appearance) and monsters!
In “The Mad Scientist” the science that brought us revived dinosaurs now
results in a pithecanthrope stalking the streets of the City of Light, climaxing
in an amazing car chase involving a foe from the previous volume. Will the
perpetually inept Inspector Caponi just make things worse? Probably. Then in
the second episode, “Mummies on Parade,” the mummy glimpsed in Adèle’s
apartment in previous episodes comes alive! The volume concludes with the sudden startling (and delightful) incursion
of some characters familiar to Tardi fans, and a shocking climax that leaves the future of both Adèle and this series in
doubt as World War I erupts. (It’s the only story in the entire series not to feature an “in our next episode” teaser.)
The Extraordinary Adventure of Adèle Blanc-Sec Volume 2 is the lucky seventh book in Fantagraphics’ acclaimed series
of Tardi reprints, showcasing the rich variety of graphic novels from one of France’s greatest living cartoonists.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt (2.1 MB) with the beginning pages of each story.
"Tardi's art well deserves the praise that he's a grandmaster of comics. It's detailed, expressive, authentic, and distinctive. His world-building is thorough, the setting established through both background art and scene selection. Frequent recaps keep the reader up to speed, while emphasizing how amusingly convoluted everything quickly becomes. Tardi knows the conventions of this kind of rollicking, complicated adventure, and the story points out how ridiculous they are at the same time it's engaging in them." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The mysteries are compelling enough, but the best is
what’s found around the edges: elements that spice up the proceedings by parodying disloyal henchmen,
inept gendarmes, and talky exposition; the meticulously rendered belle epoque settings (the confrontation
with the cult leader takes place, naturally, atop the Eiffel Tower); and Adèle herself, who, at least at this
early stage, is an intriguing cipher. But the main attraction is Tardi’s gorgeous visuals, with their supple
line work and elegant compositions."
– Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"Several artists have the ability to capture some physical element of a city or a time; Tardi summons all of that with a fealty to detail and a consistency that eventually yields a more rounded, complete experience. Go all in, and by [Vol. 1]'s final 20 pages one can feel the air hit people in the face when they stumble out of doors, sense the temperature, smell the panoply of city-borne scents.... I could personally read 10,000 pages of this material, stopping to stare at the prettier parts, returning to such a book over an entire summer.... It's a rare work that makes you like it and wish others would, too, that's for sure." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"The stories are romping adventures that would appeal to a young-adult crowd, but have plenty of edge and playfulness for grown readers; they function both as an evocation and sly satire of classic adventure stories like Tintin. The clever stories, with hidden meaning always skirting around their simplicity, are perfectly complemented by Tardi’s art; readers familiar with one of the greatest names in French comics will need no introduction, but newcomers will be blown away by his mixture of clean lines and rough edges, and his absolute mastery of mood as he delivers some of the finest illustrations of Paris ever crafted. [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club