24th Jul2015

Graphic Novel Review: ‘The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane Vol. 1’

by Dean Fuller

Written and Drawn by Phillipe Druillet | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Hardback, 72pp


Before reading this edition of ‘6 Voyages..’  I had been aware of Philippe Druillet as a personality, but not any of his work. He has been very influential in European art circles since the 1970’s, (the hero of this volume Lone Sloane first appeared in 1966), his stylistic signature being one of visual flamboyance, of meshing together many different influences and styles. His Lone Sloane adventures have previously been published in English in both Cheval Noir (Dark Horse Comics) and Heavy Metal magazine. Titan Comics have again picked a winner it seems.

The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane collects together, rather unsurprisingly, six of his adventures previously published separately, and originally published in 1972.  From the readers point of view this is great, as we get six wildly differing stories. Like robots? they are in here. How about space pirates? Yep, got those too. Alternate dimensions? Oh, go on then. Druillet is clearly having a whale of a time, throwing everything he likes into the mix, adding his amazing visual panache, and serving up a feast.

Lone Sloane is a tragic hero of sorts, granted great power by a god-like being but forced to wander the space ways and constantly getting drawn into all sorts of situations. Some friends, more foes, his adventures have a real mythological feel to them, just transplanted to space. The writing throughout is fair, though translation from French to English may have weakened some of Druillet’s intentions somewhat. I got the distinct feeling that his plotting and ideas were better than his actual scripting, and that often he wrote something in purely so he could then illustrate it in his magnificent over-the-top style.

Ah, the art. Some of the full page spreads, and layouts are just incredible. Visually stunning, inventive, clever, even thought provoking. The level of detail Druillet puts into some of his pages is just incredible. Psychedelic pages drenched in vivid colours, (Some Steranko style touches in there I thought) Lovecraft inspired horror motifs rendered in greys and blood reds, ancient Babylonian style gods in murky browns….every location has its own visual cue, its own feel. Very powerful art rendered in stunning detail gives an ok script a big push, making the whole feel a lot better than perhaps some of the scripting deserves. I often found myself spending 20 seconds skimming the dialogue, then several minutes studying the imagery on the page., it’s that good.

So, is it worth picking up for the modern reader, seeing as how it is over 40 years old? A resounding yes from me. The central hero Lone Sloane is fine, the adventures are fine, and a sometimes spotty script is unimportant when art this good is on show.

Where else could you enjoy some good old Lovecraftian style sci-fi?

**** 4/5  (for the art!)

The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane: Volume 1 is out now from Titan Comics.


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