If you found out that you have less than a year to live: what would you do with your life? This is the subject of this comic book in which a cursed family sees each generation the eldest dying in his thirty-third year. The opportunity for the screenwriter to follow four generations throughout the 20th century: 1937, 1954, 1973 and 1994. The first volume plunges us into the interwar period, in the midst of the rise of regimes fascists, as part of the war in Spain.
1855 : adventurer Aimable Brossart returns from an expedition to South America. In the holds of his ship he brings back a pre-Columbian idol from the Muisca culture found on his 33rd birthday during his archaeological excavations. During the return trip to France the ship is battered by storms, the sailors accuse the strange statue of being the cause. But Aimable refuses to get rid of him, yet a strange evil exhausts him and ends up getting the better of him ...
1883 : Joseph Brossard, son of Aimable, is run over by a cab in Paris. He succumbs: 33 years old.
1914 : Lieutenant Jacques Brossard dies on the field of honor: 33 years old.
1937 : Antonin Brossard, son of Jacques, buries his mother. He then meets his uncle who reveals to him the strange curse hanging over the family. Not very superstitious Antonin does not seem to pay much attention to the rantings of the old fool. But doubt and a difficult family context push him to leave wife and child to go fight with his mistress of Spanish origin in the international brigades which oppose the phalangists in the civil war which is tearing Spain apart.
Without being a communist, or even an anarchist, Antonin finds himself in the ranks of a republican army full of great libertarian and community ideals, fighting nationalists depicted as bloodthirsty and without mercy. The reality of this war will lead him from disillusionment to disillusionment, first in the Republicans' methods, whether it be the summary executions or the dishonorable motives of certain fighters. But also disillusionment with his mistress, a fierce Republican when she was in Paris, but who now thinks only of deserting ... And this is not the last of the disillusions, but we leave a little suspense for the reader.
The curse (real or fantasized) of an ancient statuette torn from its land is a great classic of the novel, and even of the comics from "Tintin and the broken ear" to "Tintin and the seven crystal balls" to repeat than the best known… However, it is a good way to introduce the two principles of this series: firstly to link four sections at different times, secondly to highlight four destinies facing the imminent end of death. The opportunity to describe passionate profiles, which are given with the energy of one who has nothing to lose, in a varied historical context.
The first volume "Antonin 1937" plunges us right into the war that tore Spain from 1936 to 1939 between "republicans" and "nationalists" and which saw the latter's victory and the establishment of the Franco dictatorship. In the tense context of the rise of European fascisms (Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy), the height of communist ideology and heightened political tensions, the war in Spain appears to be a great repetition before the Second world War. The screenwriter has endeavored to render this context well, by ensuring through Antonin a constant promiscuity with the European volunteers who left themselves to help the Republicans abandoned by the neighboring governments. There is a pure communism of the 1930s, full of internationalist values, but also deeply anti-bourgeois and anticlerical to the point of becoming inhuman. To this is superimposed the love story with this young Parisian of Spanish origin, a nurse by profession, who dreams of being an actress and who constantly questions the reader on the order of priority to be given between political ideals, romantic feelings, the chosen lifestyle and professional opportunities… On the border between commitment and opportunism.
The scenario is a bit simple, but it is perfectly understandable by the format chosen for this saga. Each volume is independent, it forms a story, a scenario, with its own ending. The plot must therefore be completed in 48 boards. So we can say that this side, given this constraint, the scenario manages perfectly to deal with its part of the "lineage" and to discover the Spanish Civil War.
The drawing is realistic, the result of preliminary research (the style of the statuette, for example, corresponds well to the Muisca culture), faithful to the period represented (no obvious anachronism) but unfortunately not very precise. This last point is particularly noticeable when it comes to weaponry, especially rifles and rifles. The most concrete case is with lever action rifles, they were indeed very present on the Spanish front and in particular with the Winchester 94, but in this comic they are all too often reduced to a butt followed by two brown rectangles for wood and gray for metal… When these colors are well placed… We sometimes find the hammer of the weapon above a wooden part… In other words the rifles are very stylized and so to speak unidentifiable, much to the disappointment of fans.
In the end, “the lineage” is a comic strip which, due to its short and tragic scenario, directed towards imminent death, is very cinematographic, fully in line with the editorial line of the Grand Angle editions. The choice of the period, 1937, and the context, the Spanish Civil War, is very original for the comic book world. A good opportunity to give an overview of this conflict sometimes forgotten by the general public because overshadowed by the historiographical impact of the Second World War.
- Antonin 1937
- Marius 1954
- Maxime 1973
- Diane & Davide 1994
Screenplay: Olivier Berlion, Jérôme Félix, Laurent Galandon, Damien Marie.
Drawings: Olivier Berlion.
Colors: Scarlett Smulkowski
Editions: Wide Angle