June 21st, 2016

train, tintin, leuven

Chooz, by Santi-Bucquoy

Second frame of third page:

Tomorrow we'll have the third round of the presidential election. Schmoll out.
I thought that this was the third in Chroniques de Fin de Siècle, a series of graphic novels by Jacques Santi and Jan Bucquoy which started with Autonomes in 1985 and continued with Mourir à Creys-Malville in 1986. But in fact this is belied by the back cover, which lists Autonomes and Mourir à Creys-Malville as fourth and fifth of a five-book series, Chooz (published in 1988) as third and gives the first two books in the series as Campe de Reforme B and No Man's Land. To add further confusion, while I do find that Campe de Reforme B is available, there seems to be no book called No Man's Land by Santi and Bucquoy; instead, the other book available from them is called Au Dolle Mol. A number of on-line sources list Campe de Reforme B and Au Dolle Mol, both published in 1982, as the only two volumes of the adventures of subversive hero Gérard Craan (the chap making a clandestine broadcast in the picture above). The fact is that Chooz features further adventures of Gérard Craan rather than of Gérard Mordant, the hero of Autonomes and Mourir à Creys-Malville. I speculate that Chooz was never meant to be part of the Chroniques de Fin de Siècle sequence but a third volume of the Gerard Craan adventures. The internal chronology doesn't fit the Chroniques de Fin de Siècle at all - Wallonia has not been annexed by France, and several plot elements are simply repeated. So basically, it's a bit of a mess.

I can't recommend it at all. Gérard Craan is a deeply unpleasant chap who enjoys nothing more than a good punchup combined with smashing the system. He allies with an even more unpleasant gang leader whose girlfriend takes a fancy to Gérard and ends up pregnant with twins by both of them (see front cover, below). They attempt to bring the system to its knees by sabotaging the Chooz nuclear reactor to prevent it further poisoning Wallonia. But there is no liberating politics other than overthrowing the caricatures of Chirac and Le Pen who rule this version of 1990s France, and one doubts that the followers of Craan and his allies are any better off for having followed them; those who are still alive at the end of the book, that is. The book was published as co-author Santi was dying in 1988; I wonder if there is a story behind that.