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Blueberry and the Ghost of the Goldmine

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After 43 years, Blueberry still outguns any other Wild West series in this deluxe reprint of a classic.

Born in 1963 from the minds of writer Jean-Michel Charlier and artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), Blueberry sprang from their desire to step away from the then traditional comic stories. By basing Mike S. Blueberry’s looks on French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charlier wanted to imbed his series in the larger cultural world. Inserting a reference to the avant garde counter culture was a means to an end, since Belmondo was seen as an outsider hero with an atypical look. Blueberry stepped away from the kids approach to comics. Not only through Charlier’s heavily documented action stories but also by Giraud’s cinematic way of telling a western story. This ‘realistic’ approach found more appeal among the radical student movement crowds than with the kids and started a revolution in comics, perfectly complementing the Seventies zeitgeist.

Blueberry the comic and titular character is dirty, besmirched and unhygienic. Just like later in Jodorowsky’s El Topo, the wild wild west has never looked so filthy and disheveled. From the start it steps away from the concept of the ‘clean’ hero, literally and figuratively.

The pinnacle of their collaboration, The Mine of Prosit and The Ghost of the Goldmine, has now been reissued in a beautiful over-sized hardcover by Sherpa. Published in English by Epic in 1991 as The Lost Dutchman's Mine, it is considered by Giraud himself as the high-mark of his career. It is a timeless tale putting central the themes of greed and insanity. This sweeping yet focused epic is full of betrayals, violence and tough men in tough situations. Through it all, Mike S. Blueberry needs to keep his head (literally) cool and is swept from crisis to crisis in a desperate race for a mythical goldmine in the middle of Apache land, one of the most inhospitable places in the world. The well worked out characters and the high octane script walk a razor edge balance between realism and comic book stylings, action adventure and poetry. As in the best of genre books, it is all about the road getting there and not the ending. It also brings to a close the full metamorphosis of Blueberry from the rather clean-shaven brawling hero to the full blown unshaven, rugged rascal and antihero he would remain from thereon.

Click on the image for a larger preview
 

Publisher Sherpa pays the perfect tribute to the perfect western. The black and white pages present the artwork crisply and clearly, effectively showcasing the detailed art of Giraud. Every bead of sweat, speck of dust, grime in the wrinkled faces of the players are visible. You open the page, knock back an illegally distilled whiskey, gaze through a heat haze with beady eyes upon the stranger riding into town... and the adventure begins. No Blueberry comics have been published in English since 1993; high time that someone picks up the colt and starts hitting the target!

Click on the image for a larger preview

Blueberry : The Mine of Prosit & The Ghost of the Goldmine is published by Sherpa. It is a black and white oversized hardcover with a 112 page count and retails for €49,95.


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