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Tandra Page 1511, June 18, 2017

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This commentary is titled; VALERIAN

I saw the cardboard display when I went to see Wonder Woman on opening day. I don’t go to movies on opening day, but this was Wonder Woman. This was Gal Gadot. This was Miss Israel, so I made the exception.

When I saw the cardboard display, I immediately thought of what this movie might be about. The graphics looked right, but it has been a long time since I had any exposure to Valerian, the French sci-fi comic feature. I was working in New York City at the Marvel Comics Office (long story, don’t ask) when I became aware of French Comic Magazines and Feature Albums. Here’s the deal; Pilote (one of the foremost of these mags) came out weekly and was a multi feature magazine. The thing was full colour and contained general interest write-ups as well as comics. The comics ran a double page spread, two pages per week. There were some half a dozen comics series featured in each issue. There was a funny story, primarily a very popular feature titled “Asterix”. There was a western feature. There was a spy tale and there was “Valerian”, a sci-fi feature. Other types of tales rounded out the selections.

Stories typically ran some forty plus pages after which they were collected into hardbound comic book format and sold as individual releases. These were called “Graphic Albums”. I was fascinated. I purchased the four Valerian Graphic Albums available at the time. As it happened, Valerian came to be part of the inspiration for what became Tandra. (There were also other inspirations. I did not steal from only one source.)

But time has passed and I could not be certain the cardboard display I saw at the theatre was for a movie adapted from the sci-fi series I remembered. When I arrived home, I connected to the Internet and my hopes were confirmed. “Valerian, the Movie” opens in theatres on July 21 and the movie is indeed adapted from the comics series. A movie can go either way. There have been spectacular disasters from excellent source material. Valerian is a French comic, not geared to the American audience. Tintin, the most popular comic in the world with sales that make anything released through Marvel or DC look absolutely pathetic, cannot grab market share in the US. Even Speilberg and Jackson could not gain audience attention with a CGI animated feature. Asterix, the second most popular world wide comic has never found an audience in this country. Marvel made a half hearted attempt to interest American audiences in the French produced western, Blueberry, to no effect.

So Valerian, even with excellent source material and superior production is no slam dunk. On the other hand, there are good people involved with this project including one Luc Besson as director. He has a track record of successful American releases. He is also a life long fan of the series.

The production people are also doing something neither Marvel nor DC has tried which is to use the film to promote the graphic albums and to use the books to promote the film. This I have not seen from an American comics related release. It is as though Marvel and DC are ashamed of their source material. (They know their product better than I.)

The publishers of Valerian are releasing an all new Complete Collection of Valerian in deluxe editions for American audiences, including previously unpublished material. We shall see how this venture turns out.

I may even take a chance and go see Valerian on opening day.

Next Week; The President’s Team have a suspect upon which to pin the murder of the First Son. Will they find him in time or will the suspect escape? To where can he possibly run? Don’t fail to read Tandra Page 1512. Check in beginning Monday, June 19, 2017. Experience the continuing story updated every day at

“Even God can’t please everyone, so I don’t try very hard.” - Traditional


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