A SF “bande dessinée” Review: Enki Bilal’s La Foire aux immortels (trans. The Carnival of Immortals) (1980), vol. 1 of The Nikopol Trilogy (1980-2005)

Collated Rating: 4/5 (Good)

Art: 5/5 (Masterpiece) + Story: 3/5 (Average)

Enki Bilal’s La Foire aux immortels (trans. The Carnival of Immortals) (1980) is the first volume in The Nikopol Trilogy. All three bande dessinée received a 2016 single-volume English translation by Titan Comics. Due to the limited chronological reach of my site, I’ve chosen to only review the 1st volume as the sequels, Le Femme Piège (trans. The Woman Trap) and Froid Equateur  (trans. Equator Cold), were published in 2005.

Of the SF graphic novels I’ve read, The Carnival of Immortals proved by far the most successful. Bilal blends his terrifying depictions of decadence and decay with an oblique, if a bit clunky, story that hints at surrealism and otherworldliness. For what I’m comparing Bilal’s vision to, check out Howard V. Chaykin and Samuel R. Delany’s Empire (1978), Paul Gillon’s La survivante (1985), and Gene Day’s collection Future Day (1979).

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