Saturday, September 26, 2015

Valerian and Laureline : Jean-Claude Mezuieres - Pierre Christin


Jean-Claude Mezieres (born 23 September 1938) is a French comic strip artist and illustrator. Born and raised in Paris, he was introduced to drawing by his older brother and influenced by comics artists such as Herge, Andre Franquin and Morris and later by Jije and Jack Davis. Educated at the Institut des Arts Appliques, upon graduation he worked as an illustrator for books and magazines as well as in advertising.

Returning to France, Mezieres teamed up with his childhood friend, Pierre Christin, to create Valerian and Laureline, the popular, long-running science fiction comics series for which he is best known and which has proved to be influential to many science fiction and fantasy films, including Star Wars. Mezieres has also worked as a conceptual designer on several motion picture projects – most notably the 1997 Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element – as well as continuing to work as an illustrator for newspapers, magazines and in advertising. He has also taught courses on the production of comics at the University of Paris, Vincennes.


Christin was born at Saint-Mande in 1938.
After graduating from the Sorbonne, Christin pursued graduate studies in political science at SciencesPo and became a professor of French literature at the University of Utah,Salt Lake City. His first comics story, Le Rhum du Punch, illustrated by his childhood friend Jean-Claude Mezieres, was published in 1966 in Pilote magazine. Christin returned to France the following year to join the faculty of the University of Bordeaux. That year he again collaborated with Mezieres to create the science-fiction series Valerian and Laureline for Pilote. The first episode was Les Mauvais Reves (Bad Dreams).


Valerian and Laureline (French: Valerian et Laureline), also known as Valerian: Spatio-Temporal Agent (French: Valerian, agent spatio-temporel) or just Valerian, is a French science fiction comics series, created by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mezieres. First published in Pilote magazine in 1967, the final installment was published in 2010.


The original setting for the series was the 28th century.

Humanity has discovered the means of travelling instantaneously in time and space.

The capital of Earth, Galaxity, is the center of the vast Terran Galactic Empire.
Earth itself has become a virtual utopia with most of the population living a life of leisure in a virtual reality dream-state while ruled by the benign Technocrats of the First Circle.

The Spatio-Temporal Service protects the planets of the Terran Empire and guards against temporal paradoxes caused by rogue time-travellers.

Valerian and Laureline are two such spatio-temporal agents.

However, since the end of the story The Rage of Hypsis (Les Foudres d'Hypsis) in which Galaxity disappears from space-time as a result of a temporal paradox the pair have become freelance trouble-shooters travelling space and time offering their services to anyone willing to hire them while also searching for their lost home.

In the first two albums Valerian travels through time in a two-seater device, the XB27, which transports him to the various relay stations that Galaxity has hidden throughout time (e.g. in Bad Dreams (Les Mauvais Reves) the relay is hidden below a tavern).

In subsequent stories Valerian and Laureline use the saucer-shaped Astroship XB982 (which made its debut appearance in 1969 in the short story The Great Collector (Le Grand Collectionneur).

The astroship is able to travel anywhere using a spatio-temporal jump, a sort of hyperspace drive enabling near-instant transportation anywhere in space and time.


Valerian was born on Earth, in Galaxity, capital of the Terran Galactic Empire in the 28th century.

He joined the Spatio-Temporal Service in the year 2713. He has been trained to think that Galaxity is always right – even when he receives orders that go against his morals he will, reluctantly, follow them.

He much prefers to be a man of action than sitting around pondering what course to take next.

The early stories present Valerian as a typical square-jawed hero figure, who is strong and dependable (although an early running joke was that despite being a time-traveller he is always running late, especially when summoned by his boss).
However, as the series progresses, he is increasingly portrayed as somewhat knuckle-headed.

In World Without Stars (Le Pays sans etoile), he gets recklessly drunk on the colonists' home-made booze, in On the False Earths (Sur les terres truquees), the historian, Jadna, views him as useful only as cannon fodder and nothing else while in Heroes of the Equinox (Les Heros de l'Equinoxe), he comes across as woefully inadequate compared with the champions he is competing against.

Although devoted to Laureline, he has been led astray by other women, such as in Heroes of the Equinox and Brooklyn Station, Terminus Cosmos.

When Galaxity disappears in The Rage of Hypsis he contemplates following his fellows into oblivion, much to Laureline's horror. Even afterwards, he feels the loss of Galaxity much more than Laureline, as it is his birthplace.


Laureline is a peasant girl from 11th century France.
In the debut adventure, Bad Dreams, she rescues Valerian from the enchanted Forest of Arelaune.

When she accidentally discovers Valerian is a time-traveller, he is forced to bring her back with him to Galaxity where she is trained as a Spatio-Temporal Agent and assigned as his partner.

In the early stories Laureline generally sits in the background while Valerian saves the day in whatever situation the pair have found themselves in, but her position changes as the series develops.

World Without Stars, in which the two characters are separated for most of the adventure, allows Laureline to step out from under Valerian's shadow for the first time and she proves to be more than an equal to Valerian in ensuring that their mission succeeds.

N0 1. " Metro Chatelet - Direction Cassiopee "
@ Dargaud Edition 1980
Published in Greece : January 2004 by Mamouth Comix .

N0 2. " Brooklyn Station - Terminus Cosmos "
@ Dargaud Edition 1981
Published in Greece : November 2004

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