Sunday, July 30, 2023

"There Would Be No 'Star Wars' Without This Wild French Comic From the '60s"

From Thrillist, July 19:;webp=auto;jpeg_quality=60;progressive.jpg

In 1969, a French comic book took readers to the stars. Eight years later, Star Wars took everyone else on the same ride.

That book was Valerian and Laureline. In it, "temporal agent" Valerian and his partner Laureline travel in a ship that looks just a little like the Millennium Falcon, the spacecraft introduced in the original 1977 Star Wars. In the 1971 volume Empire of a Thousand Planets, Valerian and Laureline scuttle through an ice world, a jungle world, a desert world, and the Death Star-like industrial bowels of the planet "Stryte the Magnificent." They encounter bog creatures and villains who wear masks to protect their radiation burnt faces. At one point, Valerian becomes encased in a hard resin that would remind any Empire Strikes Back fan of Han Solo's carbonite prison. In the next volume, The World Without Stars, Valerian rescues Laureline from an overweight criminal emperor, who forced her to wear a metal bikini, just as the mobster's floating barge explodes. The adventure On the False Earths involves the dup getting swept up in a war of... clone armies....