Michel Vaillant: Le Pilote Sans Visage Première Édition

Michel Vaillant is about to race during the Monaco F1 Grand-Prix, aboard a Vaillante. We discover that a mysterious driver is testing on the Francorchamps circuit. Nobody saw his face, which he needs the name of the driver without a face, but what is certain is that his car is the fastest on the circuit. B&W large format edition.

  • Dupuis, October 2015
  • ISBN 9782800166223
  • 408mm x 307mm (16.5″ x 11.75″), 80 pages, hardcover
  • 99,00 €
  • Order online: Amazon.fr
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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.

Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 1
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 2
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 3
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 4

The second Michel Vaillant album, collecting the original pages from Tintin magazine and presenting in a deluxe hardcover, limited to 1000 and hand-numbered. Along with an extensive introduction covering the publishing, creator and era, this contains all the original art except for four pages. As noted:

This edition presents the original plates by Jean Graton with the exception of plates 27, 30, 49, and 62 which have not been found. They are reproduced here identically, in facsimiles. Only a few spelling corrections have been made to make it easier to read.

The introductory material by Renouil is quite detailed, even for my Google translate reading. Some excellent images accompany it, including magazine covers and old photos.

Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 5
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 6
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 7
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 8
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 9

The scan quality is excellent: all original art is clear and without issue. All blacks show gradients. All pages have aged to a light yellow and are quite consistent, leading one to think they have been stored together. Very little in the way of correction fluid, paste-ups, or margin notes. Pencil can be seen extensively in the word balloons. Graton signed every page along the bottom right.

Another excellent presentation from Dupuis and Ghielmetti. Pages display well, and excellent use of primary colours throughout. I love the cloth spine. The white paper choice throughout makes the original art pop.

Production is also excellent: a sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The paper may have some coating; I couldn’t be completely sure. The book comes shrinkwrapped.

Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 10
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 11
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 12
Michel Vaillant Le Pilote Sans Visage interior 13

This style of art was what I always thought of when I heard bande desinée: detailed, naturalistic and just a bit stiff. It’s incredible how polished Graton was with his art and how the inked boards look like the published pages. Which is not great for those of us who want to see the original art in a “warts and all” kind of way, with pencils, correction fluid, paste-ups, and a production mess.