Tag Archives: Julien Blondel

The Dreaming City

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Dreaming City [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, and Julien Telo, foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet, vol 4 of the Elric series.

Blondel Cano Telo The Dreaming City Elric

This newly-released (in English) fourth volume completes the “first cycle” of Julien Blondel’s bandes dessinées adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. Blondel takes a lot of liberties with the original texts–something on the level of a typical cinematic adaptation of a novel–but his choices are generally very good and have reportedly met with Moorcock’s own approval. One of the biggest changes was introduced at the end of the third volume and is central to this one. . . . . . . . [hover over to reveal spoilers] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I like the gloomy, shadow-heavy art by Telo in this book, but some of the compositions are hard to “read” in narrative terms, especially during the climactic confrontation among Elric, Cymoril, and Yrkoon. In some panels for example, I didn’t know which of the rune-swords is being shown: is that Stormbringer or Mournblade? These stumbles “work” impressionistically, reflecting Elric’s own confusion, but they are still a little frustrating for the reader.

The foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet (co-founder of Métal hurlant, who asks that you read his essay after The Dreaming City to which it is prefaced) is the least of these in the series, but like the others it contains some piquant autobiographical reflections and musings on international culture and the role of fantasy. It does include one amusing double-translation through French: the Moorcock novel “Here’s the Man” (i.e. Behold the Man, which is the biblical ecce homo).

The claim to have finished a cycle of the larger saga is a fair one here. Most of the story threads have been tied off, if not ruthlessly cut and burned, by this point. The issuance of these volumes has been at a pretty leisurely pace, and I hope that they continue without an even longer intermission than the ones before.

The White Wolf

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol 3: The White Wolf by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, Julien Telo, and Robin Recht.

Moorcock Blondel Cano Recht Telo Elric The White Wolf

Elric: The White Wolf is the third of the 21st-century French comics adaptations of Michael Moorcock’s anti-heroic sword-and-sorcery saga. The first two came out within a year of each other–at least their English translations did, in 2014 and 2015. But there was a wait of more than three years between the second and the third. I had been deeply impressed by the first two, and I’m happy to report that the third measures up nicely.

This volume does lack a foreword (the first two had them from Moorcock and Alan Moore) and for some inexplicable reason, publisher Titan Comics changed the design of the hardcover spine, so that it is not uniform with the earlier volumes. I’m very glad that the publisher is keeping these in a large page-format, rather than attempting to reduce them to American comics-sized pages.

The art is still highly imaginative and effective, and the writing continues to reinvent the Elric story in ways that depart from Moorcock’s original telling while only intensifying its underlying spirit. For anyone familiar with the original books, this volume of the graphic series will deliver a real sucker punch of a surprise ending! I hope that whatever trouble delayed this third number has been resolved, and that the fourth will follow apace.