Worlds of Aldebaran by Léo

Aldebaran: The Catastrophe / The Blond
by Léo
Cinebook, 2008

An intriguing one, this. The long-running French science fiction comic series Les Mondes d’Aldébaran by Brazilian artist Léo is gradually being translated and published in English in modest paperbacks by Cinebook. The world portrayed in the Aldebaran Cycle is an earth-like autocracy populated by human colonists, under the thumb of an oppressive government and religion, and frequently menaced by bizarre human-faced creatures who emerge from the forest and sea. Like a Hayao Miyazaki film (without the sense of childlike wonder), it’s an immersive atmosphere with plenty of wandering about to look at things, although the model-based artwork is somewhat ’90s and the stilted translation does the text no favours.

The hero of the first volume is 17 year-old fisherman Marc, although his pesky shadow Kim becomes more important in future volumes and stars in the next series, the Betelgeuse Cycle. You can see the elements of a long-form sci-fi story being set into place, except the graphic novel format means the books can be epic without being physically chunky. Initially I wasn’t expecting too much of this, but I’ll track down the other volumes with interest.

Unfortunately, like many other Cinebook translations, the original artwork has been censored (apparently by strategically drawing underwear on the women), a great way of not upsetting their “more sensitive readers” by pissing off the other 95% who don’t exactly read French comics for their existential insights.


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