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End time comedian “Simon of the river”: Between character and apocalypse

A tall younger gentleman with lengthy blond hair and a darkish beard is going for walks as a result of a enormous, snow-protected mountain variety. Only his brown fur jacket protects him from the cold. When a team of horsemen instantly appears, they seize him and choose him to their village. But Simon – that is the title of the wanderer – was lucky, because he arrived throughout the clan of the Centaurs, a tranquil multi-ethnic group of nomads who, like North American indigenous peoples, dwell from hunting and dwell in tents.

Simon’s bonds will soon be untied. He is approved by the clan, takes part in their rituals. The authentic enemies from the so-called “centres” are militarily nicely-armed and will shortly be capturing at the peaceful clan with futuristic planes and tanks…

Archaic and western backdrops satisfy science fiction – the French illustrator Claude Auclair (1943-1990) developed the collection “Simon vom Fluss” from 1973 for the Belgian comedian journal “Tintin”. In Germany it was also posted less than the title “Simon – witness to the future”.

A site from the initially episodes of “Simon of the River” which have been introduced in black and white.
© Cross Cult

Elevated close to the Atlantic coast in Brittany, younger Auclair designed a solid really like of nature. A several a long time later on, the continue to unknown artist experimented with his hand at the science fiction style and released his very first brief comics in French fanzines these as “Comics 130”, “Underground Comix” or “Fiction”.

But it was only with “Simon vom Fluss” that he located his possess reasonable design and style of drawing and, above all, his standard, haunting narrative tone, which was to characterize the series till its conclusion in 1989.

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A new edition from the Cross Cult publishing dwelling is now bringing out the adventures of Simon from the river completely in German for the initially time. Mainly because the very first story “The Ballad of the Redhead”, which, in distinction to the afterwards coloration albums, was built as a black-and-white publication, was not published for a extended time due to a authorized dispute.

A scene from the third anthology of
A scene from the 3rd anthology of “Simon of the River”.
© Cross Cult

The story, which was impressed by a novel by the writer Jean Giono (“The Music of the World”), is presently an really effective tale, introducing Simon who life by a nameless river.

The early orphaned loner – optically reminiscent of the youthful Robert Redford in his western function of “Jeremiah Johnson” from 1972 – soon blossoms into a selfless, but not superhumanly heroic fighter for justice in an archaic environment, which is significantly from civilization owing to global conflicts has fallen driving.

Claude Auclair:
Claude Auclair: “Simon vom Fluss”, translated by Andreas C. Knigge and Paul Derouet, Cross Cult, volumes 1 and 2 just about every 192 web pages, €35, Volume 3: 240 pages, €40
© Cross Cult

In what is still left of a former town, an aristocratic caste identified as the “Lords” rule more than the peasantry, led by a youthful redhead to revolution. In “The Slaves” (the 3rd album, the comply with-up tale of the “Clan der Centaurs”), no cost-residing peoples like the Centaurs are enslaved and compelled to do tough actual physical labor in steel mills for a totalitarian point out ability (the “Centers”) that at first remains nameless.

The war scenes as perfectly as the scenes in the steelworks thrive Auclair extremely impressively and are reminiscent of the upheavals of the 20th century as perfectly as the present-day war in Ukraine.

It is no coincidence that the slaves in the metal mill look like victims of the Holocaust with their emaciated bodies and shaved heads. Claude Auclair was shaped by the write-up-war and 1968 era. In a four-webpage flashback in the “Clan of the Centaurs” he has a modern day witness retell the enhancement of the previous a long time: The protests against the Vietnam War ended up adopted by the oil crisis and global armed conflicts that made a new planet buy – and with it new injustices.

At the time of their generation, Claude Auclair’s comics in the children’s and younger people’s journal “Tintin” marked a turning issue toward additional critical, additional grownup stories. The tales about “Simon vom Fluss” are even now touching right now by way of their dense narrative design, the drawings, which are plausible in their realism, and as a result of their timeless humanistic concept for a much more tranquil planet.

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