Elke Raaf Pikt (Le Vol du Corbeau)

By Gibrat

I first came across Gibrat’s wonderful painting when I visited Dupuis’ website looking for newly appeared albums. There was also a new section with wallpapers, and the cover of Elke Raaf Pikt was amongst them.

  • Author: Gibrat
  • Title: Elke Raaf Pikt (Le Vol du Corbeau)
  • Pages: 56
  • Published: 2002
  • Publisher: Dupuis (http:/www.dupuis.com)
  • ISBN: 90-314-2404-8

So I went to my local comics shop, and ordered the hardback album. Elke Raaf Pikt is publised in the ‘Vrije Vlucht’ series (Aire Libre), which is where Dupuis places its arty bandes dessinées.

Quite often, those bandes dessinées seem to consist of equal proportions of nasty violence and worse sex. This one is different. It is a beautifully rendered, slowly moving story about two people, one a cracksman, the other a girl in the resistance, who meet in gaol in Paris, in 1943. They escape and spend the rest of the album together.

Rare for a bande dessinée, most of the story development is character interaction and character development. And that development has been very well executed. The repulsion and attraction between Jeanne and Francois is very believable, and very human.

As for the graphic part of this novel — I would like to call it a novel because of the character development — parts of it are excellent. Gibrat excells in colour, and in close-ups. When he has to execute a human figure on a small scale, he often fails. Likewise, the human perspective is plain wrong, sometimes. And sometimes, the mouth of his men and children doesn’t work at all.

But those are niggles (another niggle: a girl who spends a night on the rooftops of Paris won’t have spic-and-span make-up including rouge, lipstick and eyeliner, and her gloves won’t be white) in a stunning album. Part two will arrive in 2004, I’m told. I’m waiting with bated breath.