Hermann: Le Naturaliste De La Bande Dessinee

Hermann Le Naturaliste De La Bande Dessinee cover

From the 1960s with the screenwriter Michel Greg, on the Bernard Prince and Comanche series then alone on Jeremiah and Les Tours de Bois-Maury, today with Yves H. on many one-shots, Hermann multiplies the drawing techniques, goes from black and white to colour and spreads in very diverse genres. But whether he works in adventure comics, westerns, anticipation or history, Hermann always treats his subjects at the height of a man, without camouflage or pretense. He’s the comic book naturalist.

This 128-page catalogue contains all the texts of the exhibition presented during the Angoulême Festival. It presents more than a hundred reproductions of original boards, scanned in very high definition, the testimonies of several comic book authors, as well as numerous extracts from interviews carried out with Hermann between July and November 2017.

  • 9e Art+ éditions, 2018
  • ISBN 978-2-9536902-1-7
  • 160 pages, 25 x 35 cm (9.9″ x 13.8″), hardcover
  • € 29.00
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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

Hermann Le Naturaliste De La Bande Dessinee interior 1
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A career retrospective done through an exhibition of original art at Angouleme, this is a catalogue of that exhibit.

The book is divided into eight chapters, each dealing with a period of his career or genre. Also throughout are thoughts about Hermann from other creators. Accompanying the art is the year, book, page, publication, publisher, and then information about the work from the authors and frequently from Hermann himself. Closing it out is a complete bibliography.

It’s well presented, with what appears to be a keen collection of essays and information. Unfortunately it’s all in French and I can’t read it, so this is going to focus on the art and its presentation.

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The scans are clear and without issue. A lot of the pages are watercolour, but everything presents beautifully. Gradients in the blacks. No sign of correction fluid: I don’t know if that’s the way Hermann worked or it’s the pages chosen. A lot of the pages are two pieces taped together.

The design is clean and engaging. The red from the cover carries through as the accent colour and it really pops. No table of contents but most pages have a chapter name and page number along the bottom, slightly offset.

Production is excellent: a sewn binding of a medium semi-gloss paper. Looking at the photos here bleedthrough occurs, but when reading the book it’s barely noticeable and isn’t distracting.

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Being a non-French speaker, I’m here only for the art. And as such I would have liked to see more full page art. Using Google translate on my phone to read Hermann’s insights into is work is wonderful to see.

Reading the bibliography shows how few of Hermann’s works have been translated into English.

This appears to be only available directly from the Angouleme store. There is only one shipping option to North America and it’s ridiculously expensive. I received the book to my home in Canada in three days, but would have gladly waited three weeks and paid significantly less for shipping. To make it worthwhile I ordered five books, so expect to see more in the coming months.