Lucky Luke: Phil Defer Première Édition

Lucky Luke Phil Defer cover

This eighth album in the Lucky Luke series, released in 1956, is a story with a harder, more cynical and violent tone than the others. Death is suggested there many times, even though censorship formally forbids it since the French law of July 16, 1949, on works intended for young people. The consequences are not long in coming: for the first time, a story of Lucky Luke is not published in the newspaper Spirou, because it is considered too violent. It was then published in Le Moustique, a magazine published by Dupuis intended for an older, family audience.

  • Dupuis, January 2016
  • ISBN 9782884713689
  • 42cm x 30cm (16.5″ x 11.75″), 56 pages, hardcover
  • 99,00 €
  • Order online:
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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.

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The eighth Lucky Luke album provided in its entirety of original art. Also included are five essays on the material, dealing with the material, American influence, censorship, caricature, and the cover. All the original art is present here, but there’s no indication of what size the original art is, and if this volume is reducing the art. This is a hand-numbered edition of 3000.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the title of this book is. The cover says Lucky Luke: Phil Defer, while the title page shows Lucky Luke VIII Phil Defer “Le Faucheux”. This volume contains two complete stories: Lucky Luke et Phil Defer Le Faucheaux, and Lucky Luke et Pilule. The colophon provides no title but does indicate this is a Dupuis Première Édition, of which I couldn’t locate any more so not sure what became of this series. Not differentiating this book’s title from the original published work is one of the stumbling blocks I encounter when searching out foreign AE format books.

Lucky Luke Phil Defer interior 5
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Scan quality is excellent. A few spots I thought the scan was soft but it was the ink fading in the panels. Gradients are visible in the inks throughout the book. The art here is quite polished, with no pencils and very little correction fluid. Zip-A-Tone gets some play, as does a blue wash. As is usual for material destined for Spirou, the art pages are in two pieces and taped together for the album, with each bearing the page number and “A” or “B”.

A well-organized design, with thought applied to layout and material. I found it odd that the original art had aged to a grey, and even more odd grey was chosen as the borders around the original art. The majority of the book uses this grey paper and then switches to white paper for the essays. Some excellent art blowups on these pages. The brown cloth spine only says Lucky Luke and makes one think this Dupuis Première Édition features one album only per character.

A sewn binding of heavy uncoated paper stock in a hardcover format. I had a production issue as evidenced in the photos and my trying to smooth the pages out in the video. When the book was fully opened there was a crease in the center on the left side. The book otherwise lays flat when the center is smoothed, and the crease only happened when the book was opened flat. No cardboard case for this volume, but it does come shrink-wrapped.

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Thankfully this material has been translated into English by Cinebook as Lucky Luke Vol 40: Phil Wire. I followed along the French original art with the English volume on my iPad.