Bandes dessinées in focus: “Les Tours de Bois-Maury” by Hermann

The Towers of Bois-Maury (“Les Tours de Bois-Maury”) is a series of historical graphic novels begun in 1984 by Belgian comic creator Hermann, published in colour in French by Glenat.

Set in 11th century Europe, the series centres on the efforts of the wandering noble Sir Aymar de Bois-Maury, a knight, to reclaim his ancestral home, Bois-Maury. Less focused on action than the other series of Hermann (like Jeremiah), Les Tours de Bois-Maury deals more with human thoughts and considerations.

“Les Tours de Bois-Maury” ran for 11 volumes in French, the series re-titled simply “Bois Maury” from Volume 12, running for a further three volumes, the last published in 2012, followed by various re-releases and one “side story”, L’Homme à la hache (“The Man with the Axe”), published in both regular and large formats 2021.

An original page of art by Hermann for 1985’s “Les tours de Bois-Maury - Eloïse de Montgri” - with thanks to Colin Smith
An original page of art by Hermann for 1985’s “Les tours de Bois-Maury – Eloïse de Montgri” – with thanks to Colin Smith

Sadly, it’s a series that has never gotten the proper English reprint it deserves, despite several attempts by various publishers, including Titan Books, to introduce it to British and American audiences.

The first few albums were published by different companies, all of them under the series title, “The Towers of Bois-Maury”, initially by Titan Books, way back in 1985 – possibly one of the first bandes dessinées I read in translation, apart from Asterix and Tintin.

Titan Books collections of The Towers of Bois Maury
Titan Books collections of The Towers of Bois Maury | Via eBay

The British publisher released two volumes in the series, Babette, reprinted with different cover in 1989, and Eloise de Montgri, also in 1989. Around that time, during an interview for a press assistant job at TItan, I recall being told there was every intention to continue the series, but clearly, sales argued otherwise.

You can find them on eBay fairly easily, and AmazonUK, too.

Catalan Communications published its edition of Germain in 1990, and Dark Horse Comics released hardcovers of Rodrigo in 2001 and Babette and Eloise de Montgri in 2002. Heavy Metal also featured one volume, Alda, in its July, 1990 (Vol. 14 No. 3) issue.

While initially published in colour, in 2013, Glenat released a stunning “Integrale” edition, publishing the first ten volumes in black and white, presenting Hermann’s amazing line work in style.

  • Les Tours de Bois-Maury - Intégrale noir et blanc
  • Les Tours de Bois-Maury - Intégrale noir et blanc
  • Les Tours de Bois-Maury - Intégrale noir et blanc

Art and by Hermann – illustrations and pages – are a staple of the regular International Catawiki Comic Art Auction, with no less than four items in this week’s offering.

“Les Tours de Bois-Maury” published by Glenat

Check out the series in French here

1 – Babette (reprinted in English by TItan Books and Dark Horse Comics)
2- Eloise de Montgri (reprinted by TItan Books and Dark Horse Comics)
3 – Germain (reprinted by Catalan Communications)
4 – Reinhardt
5 – Alda (featured in Heavy Metal magazine’s July, 1990, Vol. 14 No. 3)
6 – Sigurd
7 – William
8 – Le seldjouki
9 – Khaled
10 – Olivier

“Bois-Maury”

11 – Assunta
12 – Rodrigo (reprinted by Dark Horse Comics)
13 – Dulle Griet
14 – Vassya
15 – OEil de ciel

“Side Stories”

L’Homme à la hache

With thanks to Colin Smith and others for this downthetubes item

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. 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 "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



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