Éditions Soleil inaugurate a new collection entitled " Revolutions Which will deal with the dates considered to be pivotal in the history of France: 1358, 1940 and to begin with 1799 with the coup d'etat of General Bonaparte which ended the Directory and established the Consulate. A beautiful project which unfortunately does not live up to our expectations.
A historical comic strip?
New arrival on the market, this "Revolutions" collection, subtitled "When the History of France has rocked", is sure to attract the attention of history lovers! On the cover, a duel between two men, the Parisian capital as a backdrop and of course the guardian figure of Bonaparte, his hand in the waistcoat and his sharp gaze. Another good point a priori, the comic displays a recommendation from the magazine "Guerre & Histoire". At first glance, this comic could pass for a historical comic, allowing you to get a little general knowledge about the coup d'etat of 18 and 19 Brumaire ... But it is not! Les Editions Soleil classifies this series in their adventure collection.
And it is true that this comic will not allow the neophyte to understand how the coup d'etat unfolded. He will have to be satisfied with an entertainment staging the competition between Fouché and Talleyrand, and the duel between a soldier of the Egyptian army returned (we do not know how) before his general and a royalist agent responsible for eliminating Joubert then Bonaparte… In the end, the scenario a little wobbly and the dialogues a little heavy can only be forgotten if the graphics fill our eyes! Unfortunately, this is not the case ...
A botched research job
How sad to see cartoonists and screenwriters attempting to recreate historical environments that they have not bothered to study properly. Also from plank to plank we keep going from the very approximate to the totally anachronistic! We are under the Directory, in 1799, and yet ... The army is organized in regiments (it should be in demi-brigade) which raise a French flag such as it will be used only in 1812, the soldiers of line carry schakos whereas this was the case only from 1806 and the latter (like the teddy bear hat plates or the necklaces) are struck with the Imperial Eagle… Three political regimes of shift! The soldiers carry strange swords, the bayonets are placed in a totally improbable and ineffective way since they are placed right in the line of sight ... It quickly becomes obvious that the designer has no knowledge of the weaponry and the equipment of the period (which poses a problem when we permanently represent soldiers) and this is confirmed from page to page: duel with an unarmed flintlock pistol without flint, use of totally anachronistic percussion weapons… What to say of a royalist wearing the Legion of Honor (created in 1802) in 1799, of General Bonaparte distributing Crosses of Saint-Louis which no longer even existed at the time or sappers of the Guard (in fanciful colors) who did not yet exist?
When the historical setting collapses, everything collapses, and the grotesque wins out in the eyes of the history lover. This is a great pity because the history of Napoleon has no shortage of books that allow us to properly study content and form to produce quality work. There is also no shortage of fans, who may experience eye pain while leafing through this comic.
Revolutions - When the History of France changed - 18 Brumaire. by Jean-Pierre Pécau (Author), Facio (Author), Antonio Marinetti (Illustrations). Editions Soleil, 2018.