Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Foreign Favorites: Barbarella

In 1962 the French publication,V-Magazine, was intoduced to a new sexy astronaut who traveled the universe righting wrongs and chasing all the handsome males from the planets she encountered. Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella was an instant hit with fans, but failed to find any favor with the French authorities, who in the later years banned her saucy reprint book versions. As an early forerunner to space-heroines in comics, Barbarella had numerous bizarre adventures that often left her skin-tight spacesuit in pieces, whether fighting off villains like the sadistic hunter Strikno, or using her ray gun on weird, gelatinous creatures. One thing though was for certain, Forest's elegant fine line drawings helped set the mood for the haunting and evocative romantic exploits she had with both man or machine. When the campy film adaptation starring Jane Fonda in the title role arrived on the silver screen in 1968, Forest tried desperatly to revive the feature in both France and Italy. It was not until years later in 1981, when the strip resurfaced in the pages of L'Echo des Savanes with Jaen-Claude now just providing scripts and Daniel Billon the illustration, but unfortunately the liberated heroine tales did not survive long.

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