Châtelet Station, Direction Cassiopeia is the 9th volume of the adventures of Valerian. Published in the French magazine Pilote Mensuel in 1980, it’s the beginning of a sumptuous diptych where Pierre Christin will deploy all of his talents as a scriptwriter to take us from the Earth to the Moon to Cassiopeia through a complex and delightful plot. It’s also the first volume of the series where the action is taking place exactly in the same period as it was written: the 80’s; this allows us to all the more appreciate Jean-Claude Mézières’ incredible talent for the art of narration and drawing. Halfway between the end of the 30-year post-war boom and the problems on planet Zomuk, the Adventure is back, for our greatest pleasure!
- Éditions Caurette, November 2017
- ISBN 979-10-96315-04-8
- 35 x 47 cm (13.7″ x 18.5″), 80 pages, hardcover, 170 gsm
- 195,00 €
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.
Éditions Caurette is not simply presenting a tirage de luxe but a complete experience. We’re presented with the complete story in its original art boards, all but five, along with a comprehensive interview with the creators, a facsimile of an original art board, and a facsimile folder of the complete script. A limited edition of 499, signed by both creators.
And like any luxury item, you pay for the experience. At 195,00 € for 80 pages, it’s enough to make you pause. But for fans of Valerian, this is as good as it gets outside of owning the original art.
Of the eighty pages, forty-six are the original art boards. The interview is twelve pages, followed by fourteen pages of panel enlargements. The scans are excellent with nary a blur. The image above provides on the left one of the pages that isn’t original art, and the publisher did as good a job as possible.
The design is quite engaging. I haven’t seen a signature page being an endpaper, but it works well here with the signatures in metallic silver. There’s not much that can be done with the original art pages, but the book’s page number runs along the bottom center. The interview is filled with original art, photos, and a yellow border. I was very impressed with the pages of panel enlargements. At first, I dismissed these as page fillers, but they are all very clear and showcase Mézières’ art so well. No text on the cover; everything is hot stamped on the cloth spine.
Then there are the extras. The facsimile artboard is folded and the back shows the tape and Dargaud stamp. It’s a wonderful addition, giving us the look and feel of the originals. It’s also full size and allows us to see how much the book’s art has been reduced. Also included is a facsimile dossier containing Christin’s thirty-five paged typed script with notes and corrections. Not only do we get all the original art but also the script, putting us right into the creative process.
Production is superb: a sewn binding of 170 gsm matte paper. The book comes in a cardboard box with tissue paper around the book and extras. The dossier is shrink-wrapped. The sticker on the box is excellent, providing the name, ISBN and limited edition number. The great part is that it wraps around over the spine of the box giving all the pertinent information for those who store their books in the box.
I ordered this and Brooklyn Station Terminus Cosmos at the beginning of 2022. I had just finished reading the Complete Valerian hardcovers from Cinebook and to me, these were the two best stories. Caurette was on the last copies of Métro Châtelet Direction Cassiopée at the time and has since sold out. You may be able to locate it from some online retailers or small shops.