With Natacha, The Air Hostess (1970), François Walthéry and Gos created the first heroine of popular Franco-Belgian comics. The birth of this beauty is due as much to chance as to the talent of two authors, then almost unknown. Natacha and the Maharadja, the next album, upsets the cart even more. Walthéry develops a graphic style that will influence generations of designers. The secret of the Gos-Walthéry duo? Audacity, experience, a small part of recklessness, a hint of luck, great friendship and above all a lot of work! For the first time, the original art boards of these two founding albums of the legend “Natacha” are reproduced in facsimile, in the original format! This “Dupuis Artiste Édition” appears on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Natacha and the Maharadja (February 1972: end of publication in Spirou; December 1972: publication of the album).
- Dupuis, June 2022
- ISBN 9791034764495
- 374mm x 513mm (14.7″ x 20.2″), 120 pages, hardcover
- Order online: BDFugue, Amazon.fr
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.
This is a big book, almost twice-up, collecting the first two Natacha stories with an extraordinary amount of background and supplementary material. Along with the original art boards in their Spirou half-page format, A and B, we’re also treated to some colourist pages opposite the original art. It must be a North American thing to want the original art on the left and colourist pages on the right. A limited edition of 699 copies, mine was stamped in the book and the case sticker as 385.
The original art presents very well: all pages are clear and without issue. All art is present, including album covers and title pages. Every page consists of two parts taped together, with staples here and there. Production notes are minimal, with “59%” on all pages along with their page and part number. The art has aged very well, going from light tanning to a brown almost pink colour. Blacks show gradients.
The design is simple with its layout and colour choices and doesn’t get in the way of the material. A cloth spine with hot stamping, we only get pops of colour on the spine and endpapers. Excellent enlargements of original art throughout.
Production is outstanding: a sewn binding of heavy matte paper, perhaps 160gsm. The covers are exceptionally thick, perhaps the thickest I’ve encountered in an AE format book. The binding is a little tight and most pages opened fully when I smoothed the center. The book comes shrink-wrapped in a cardboard case with a sticker showing the cover and limited edition number. The cardboard case has four protective side bumpers instead of the usual three, and I struggle to get the book out, even with a thumb hole on the left side.
I had this pre-ordered and was thrilled to get it, but then life caught ahold of me and it took this long to review. In that time it’s become unavailable through many outlets, including Amazon, but BDFugue still has it available. Ah, if only there was North American distribution!
I wasn’t able to find any English translations of the material. Let’s hope Europe Comics or Cinebook can add Natacha!