REVIEW: Michel Vaillant Short Story Classics (2022)

A Graphic Novel by Jean Graton

VROOOMM!

Being a total novice to Michel Vaillant comics, I jumped headfirst into volume one of the relaunched series a while back and quite enjoyed it. For someone like me that really isn’t into racing, cars, or anything having to do with the title, It was surprisingly good and made me want to read more. I think I remarked that I wanted to possibly read some of the older material from Tintin Magazine, to which Europe Comics seems to have obliged. The original comics by Jean Graton ran from 1957 to the late 70’s and were collected in an absurd number of the volumes (albums to those across the pond). This comic is a mere hint of that original material, spanning just a handful of the character’s earliest stories.

“In 1957, Jean Graton created the legendary race car driver Michel Vaillant, who was featured in a series of short stories published in Tintin magazine. These stories marked the beginning of a long-running adventure saga that continues to this day. This collection includes seven early stories that brought Vaillant onto the scene and made him what he is today. A fascinating look into the origins of a classic, with a vibrant retro style.”

This is more of a collection for comic historians (or perhaps older people that grew up with these comics), as the stories are very much aged at this point. The artwork has been cleaned up and retouches, and it appears that the coloring has either been corrected or entirely redone digitally, but in a way that preserves the old look. Most of the stories lack the drama for our modern sensibilities, and are resolved very quickly, much in the same way a Speed Racer episode would go.

I found it somewhat amusing to see what old-timers in the 1950’s saw as loathsome youth culture, as Michel seemingly partakes in the utter chaos of sneaking out to play trumpet in a jazz band at one point. Truthfully, he was actually sneaking out to engineer an entirely new fuel-injection engine in his spare time, much to his father’s dismay. Comics were silly back then. Luckily, these are not insanely questionable reads like many other comics from this era, reading things like Superman from the same time period is always somewhat rough when old sensibilities creep in.

Overall, I’m glad I read this comic even though I do definitely prefer the newer run that Europe Comics has been publishing. If this is a test run to see how well received a relaunch of older editions would be, I’m all for it. Not only is it important to preserve older comics for future generations, but seeing a characters progression through time is always a plus. if anything this makes me want to read more of the newer comics now that they have released quite a few.

For more information on this book, click HERE

NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.

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