Uncovered: the French graphic novel adaptation of John Wyndham’s “The Day of the Triffids”

English language comic strip versions of John Wyndham’s work may have a chequered past – and some mystery, too, as our recent item on a version of The Day of the Triffids drawn by Arthur Ranson testifies. But author and publisher Phil Harbottle has provided downthetubes with details of a French adaptation of the classic post apocalypse story.

This superb French adaptation, published as Revolté des Triffides, the title used as the basis for several international editions from the 1950s onwards, appeared in two successive 1977 Issues (62 and 63) of Aredit/Artima’s 1997 comics pocket series of Sideral.

These two editions were the final releases in the title’s second series, published from November 1968 to March 1977, many strips drawn by Raoul Giordan, but many contributors to the title remain unidentified. (The first series, published between 1958 and 1960, largely consisted for reprints of American comics material).

Sideral Issue 62 - Day of the Triffids Issue (French)
Cover by Chaco Pino Fabre
Sideral Issue 63 - Day of the Triffids Issue (French)
Cover by Carlos Prunes

“The same publisher also had a companion series, Anticipation,” says Phil. “Both featured well drawn, detailed, faithful graphic novel versions of dozens of the 1950s science fiction novels that had appeared in the “Anticipation” paperback book series, published by Flueve Noir Press, in Paris.

“This was a mostly French novel series, but Anticipation also included translations of some English and American SF novels — mostly those of John Russell Fearn’s Vargo Statten novels. They also included a couple of novels by E.C. Tubb, mostly notably Star-Ship (aka The Space Born), which led to it being picked up and filmed for French TV.

“More particularly, they also translated and published Day of the Triffids in 1956.”

The Day of the Triffids aside, the Aredit/Artima graphic novel series of scores of these books series is quite unique and of superb quality, Phil feels – and like other issues, deserving of English language publication.

Sideral and Anticipation ran 132-160 pages, and published their free adaptation of the novel complete, of about 100 – 120 pages, with a back-up short story and articles.

“However, from time to time, when they adjudged the novel was especially outstanding, they asked their artist and scripter to spread it over two issues,” Phil explains, “and to not abridge anything!

“John Russell Fearn had several of his novels done in unabridged double volumes, and Wyndham’s novel was so honoured.

The superior quality of the Vargo Statten titles leads to their being translated around the world
The Avenging Martian by Vargo Statten (John Russell Fearn) - cover by Ron Turner
The Avenging Martian by Vargo Statten (John Russell Fearn) – cover by Ron Turner

“I’ve recently shot my latest 1950s British Science Fiction video, Episode 12, which discusses this graphic series, as well as the original Fleuve Noir books, using Fearn’s Vargo Statten novel The Avenging Martian as an exemplar.” Phil reveals.

“Fearn had nearly a score of novels done as comics, and I have a complete collection. Unsold copies of the original comic books were rebound, two issues together, with a new cover, as “Recueil” issues.

“I have a full Fearn and Tubb set of these also, but along the way I also picked up the ‘Recueil’ edition of The Day of the Triffids.”

Phil would love to see an English publisher reprint the John Russell Fearn graphic novels, perhaps in colour, but as yet, there have been no takers, despite the obvious high quality of the work.

it would appear that in France, Editions Douin has reprinted many of Artima’s publications in massive collections, but as yet, collections encompassing the second series of Sideral have yet to be published.

Perhaps this item, and Phil’s coverage of these French comic stories for 1950s British Science Fiction, will attract the attention of a publisher. Time will hopefully tell!

Episode 12 of 1950s British Science Fiction will be released shortly – subscribe to the videocasts here

WEB LINKS

The French graphic novels were titled in the style of other editions of John Wyndham’s novel, which was published as “Revolt of the Triffids as a Popular Library title (Number 411), in 1952. Cover art by Earle Bergey
The French graphic novels were titled in the style of other editions of John Wyndham’s novel, which was published as “Revolt of the Triffids as a Popular Library title (Number 411), in 1952. Cover art by Earle Bergey

A short guide to the Rise and Fall of publisher Artima, in French

Comics VF – Sideral Volume One Checklist

Comics VF – Sideral Volume Two Checklist

A guide to artist Raoul Giordan, a major contributor to Sideral (in French)

bedetheque.com Sideral Volume Three Checklist

Dan Dare Info: a list of all comic titles published in France that contained science fiction stories at one time or another

ABOUT THE 1950s BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION CHANNEL

1950s British Science Fiction Episode 11 – Phil’s candid rubbish alert for all 1950’s Science Fiction collectors!

Phil Harbottle is a life-long science fiction fan, regarded as a world authority on the works of John Russell Fearn, whose credits encompass writing “Garth” for the Daily Mirror, and the “Golden Amazon” for Spaceship Away (adapting Fearn’s stories). He’s also very kindly contributed a number of synopses of early “Garth” stories to downthetubes, which we are adding as time permits.

Back in the 1950s, he adapted some of the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio shows into comics at a young age – the only record of some of these tales known to exist, since very few recordings survive.

• Subscribe to 1950s British Science Fiction YouTube Channel here

• Check out books written or edited by Philip Harbottle on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

• Buy an edition of The Whispering Gorilla & Return of the Whispering Gorilla published by Armchair Fiction and Music in 2014 (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)

DOWNTHETUBES NEWS ITEMS

• John Russell Fearn’s SF, including Golden Amazon stories, back in print

• Dan Dare Fan Fiction – from the 1950s! | Revealed – The Dan Dare Radio Luxembourg Comic Strips by Philip Harbottle

Garth: Character Profile and Story Synopses

With thanks to Phil Harbottle, and David Roach for cover artist information

Avatar

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Bande Dessines - Translated, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, SF Comics

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Not being a common surname, on seeing the name John Russell Fearn as an author, I phoned a friend whose husband had been a John Fearn (he died recently)- to see if they had known of JRF. The answer was no, but his widow this morning had been going through a chest, and had come across a book by an Ian Fearn called First of the new way. I had a look online, but found nothing.

  2. Philip has an unparalleled collection of Sci-fi material and is about as passionate as anyone could be about it. Like my own comic collection Phil is hoping to see that his collection ends up in the hands of an institution to be preserved ans accessible in years to come. I sincerely hope so John! Two Geordies saving Sci-fi and British comics histories, and not another person in the ball park! Haway the lads!! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: