Blueberry I – Chihuahua Pearl by Charlier & Moebius, 1989 Epic Comics oversized trade paper
the 52nd in my series of forgotten books
In the first volume of a series, set in America of the late 1800s by a French artist/writer team, U.S. cavalry officer Lieutenant Mike Blueberry stumbles upon the secret of a lost fortune in Confederate gold and a conspiracy to finance a new Civil War. Drummed out of the Army in order to work as a spy, Blueberry enters Mexico, hoping to locate a former Confederate officer who supposedly knows the location of the stash.
The core of Charlier’s story of espionage in the Old West, an unusual treatment for a western when this first appeared in a French magazine in 1970, will seem familiar to contemporary readers. But his ability to complicate the plot, unexpectedly adding new conspirators, infuses the narrative with fresh blood. Although grittier than his science fiction work, which is better known in the U.S. – the best known example of which may be The Airtight Garage – “Moebius” Giraud’s drawings here display his deep artistic talent, especially for line work.
Highly detailed, the work here may put fans of 21st century graphic novels off at first, but you will soon come to appreciate the beautiful line work and framing of each panel. The episodic tale continues in Blueberry 2-5, which I also have.
Chronologically, these stories come late in the career of Mike Blueberry, but this series of graphic story collections, published in France in the early 1970s and in these editions in 1989 by Epic Comics are the few translated into English and available in the U.S. Blueberry I and succeeding volumes are something different and worthy of your attention, especially fans of the western.
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Series organizer Patti Abbott has all the FFB goods on her blog, Pattinase,
with a list of this week’s participating blogs and, in a day or two, a summary.