How to describe The Adventures of Jodelle? A political satire, certainly; a watershed moment in the history of graphic story telling, without question; a salacious exploration of mid-century innuendo, most definitely. To do it justice, however, you have to be quick and to the point: guns; sex; monsters; death; motorcycles. We should all be grateful that a young Guy Peelaert dropped advertising to indulge his interest in comics. The result was an artefact that has impacted far beyond the boundaries of genre, a comic book whose influence in the history of fine art and popular culture is not now widely enough recognised.
Fantagraphics's re-editioning of the work may go some way to addressing that. The book consists of a remastered and digitally recoloured version of the comic, accompanied by a new, even more idiomatic translation (“baby”). Following this is an essay — The Jodelle Style — by Pierre Sterckx, alongside a considerable biography of the artist’s career illustrated with both finished and in-process materials from the artist’s estate (It’s fascinating to discover that on a 1964 excursion to New York the artist spent time with Warhol and had a mysterious meeting with Push Pin Studios). A concerted attempt to fix both Peelaert and Jodelle back in the firmament, the publication has been produced with real care, both in regards to the treatment of the art work and its art historical contextulising.