Survivors of eternity: 100 years of solitude

If you don’t know Grégoire Bouchard, get ready to discover one of the masters of science fiction and Quebec comics in his latest album titled survivors of eternity and its moving plot, as dense and dense as the beautiful illustrations that adorn its pages.

In 2059, retired pilot Bob Leclerc, hero of the war against the Martians, visits his friend Caroline Montana, a woman in a wheelchair confined to her house in Longue-Pointe, a suburb of Montreal City. The latter spends his days restoring old films of a certain Jim Flash, a singer and actor of westerns whose popular character is the fearless horseman, hero of 1950s feature films such as The haunted canyon, fell into oblivion a century later. In love with this celluloid ghost, Caroline shared the treasures of her collection with Captain Leclerc, but the latter, now 157 years old thanks to the benefits of the liquid of Zorgha’s tears, once met Jim Flash , and the revelations he makes to the paraplegic. woman can change his life forever.

The album cover

Although it includes the character of Captain Bob Leclerc and refers to the war with the Martians depicted in The silver nightmare and Terminal, Earthit is not necessary to read Grégoire Bouchard’s previous albums to appreciate survivors of eternity because the story, completely independent, mainly describes the story of Jim Flash. Beyond his plan in the B series, from ancient Atlantis to 2059 Montreal, the author uses science fiction to address deep existentialist issues that have obsessed humans since time immemorial, such as the struggle of man against fate, world and matter, the need to belong to posterity, the fragile preservation of the past, the ephemeral nature of our bodies, traversing life at the speed of a shooting star, and the anguish of decay and death , of the individual as of all mankind.

Grégoire Bouchard describes a robust retro future, seemingly drawn directly from the imagination of the 1950s, and links Quebec culture to this vision, including Belmont Park, the Whippet club, or the mythical group Les Jaguars. He draws parallels between auto mechanics through Jim Flash’s racing career in his XP-49 racing car and body mechanics, with its operating rooms and doctor’s surgeries where men try to prolong their lives. existence through inventions and methods of all kinds. Its well-crafted sentences have literary value beyond the average comic strip, like this one for example: “Even the cemeteries have been moved. We mixed up the stiffs’ bones, including their nicotine-smelling dentures, their glass horns and their heart valves.

Two pages from the album

Grégoire Bouchard’s drawings are incredibly rich and delicate, and each illustration deserves a long minute to savor all its subtleties. Trinkets, frames, tapestries, magazines and books on the floor, fiction or period advertisements, each image is filled with objects and textures that provide sets. We also appreciate its fun retrofuturistic cities, inspired by the series The Jetsons with their flying cars driven by robots and their costumes reminiscent Flash Gordon where The U Ray. Like Charles Burns in Black hole, his characters, while realistic, have a strange aura, whether through their looks or facial expressions, as if they are aliens in human clothing. We are clearly in the presence of an illustrator of extraordinary talent.

It’s almost criminal that Grégoire Bouchard, who can easily be counted among the most gifted cartoonists in Quebec, is not better known to the general public. If you enjoy science fiction even a little bit, do yourself a favor and get one survivors of eternity, a true masterpiece of the genre. You won’t regret it.

survivors of eternity, by Gregoire Bouchard. Published by Moelle Graphik, 280 pages.

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