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Spotlight: Balkans Arena (Softcover Edition)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Balkans Arena
Story by Philippe Thirault, Art by Jorge Miguel

Ex-soldier, and widower, Frank Sokol must face the ghosts of the past when he returns to his native Croatia with his Canadian-born 11-year-old son, Ben. But when Ben is kidnapped, Frank will be forced to mend deep-seated familial wounds, and resort to his military training to get him back. Nothing will prepare him for what his search for his boy will uncover…

Quick Facts about Balkans Arena:
• Based on an original concept by Darko Macan, writer of Star Wars, Grendel Tales: Devils & Deaths (Dark Horse), Hellblazer (DC Comics/Vertigo) and Soldier X (Marvel).
• While the story's characters and circumstances are fictional, it was inspired by real events. 
• Hardcover edition was listed as one of Paul Gravett's Books to Read: Best Graphic Novels when it released in 2015.
Philippe Thirault is the prolific French author of numerous books including: Miss: Better Living Through Crime, The Hounds of Hell, Mandalay, and Thousand Faces

"Balkans Arena provides a much-needed look at some very dark subject matter, and represents fine work by Thirault, Miguel and Macan. A grim reminder than no fictional monstrosity can match the depravity of  the real world, and that there are no horrors greater than those human beings inflict on one another." -- Garth Ennis (writer, Preacher, Punisher, Crossed)

"Thirault and Miguel have crafted something special in BALKANS ARENA.
Aside from beautiful art, the story feels timely and relevant. It's brutal, but the whole package is treated with a humanity and respect that sets it apart. Stunning.'"— Jock (artist, BatmanWytches, and concept designer on Dredd and Ex Machina

Available below is the desktop wallpaper of Balkans Arena. Click the picture to choose your resolution

Balkans Arena arrives in stores November 1, 2016 with an MSRP of $19.95/£13.99

Tags: Spotlight

Valentin Sécher draws the Metabaron (Videos)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Check out some the following videos below to see Valentin Sécher draw The Metabaron (and Tonto!) as part of his work on this week's release of The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron from the team of Alexandro Jodorowsky, Jerry Frissen, and Valentin Sécher

Tags: Making Of

The Metabaron: Process of a Page

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Check out a step-by-step process of a page for The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron from artist, Valentin Sécher

Step 1 : Draft

Step 2 : Sketch

Step 3 : Inking

Step 4 : Coloring

The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron arrives in bookshops on October 18/19, 2016 with an MSRP of $29.95/£20.99

Tags: Making Of

Interview: Valentin Sécher on The Metabaron

Friday, October 7, 2016

The following interview was conducted during the creation of The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron. Thanks to Valentin Sécher for answering a few questions. 


The Metabarons is a classic of the science fiction genre. How did you jump into this revered universe created by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Gimenez?

I had to find a balance between respecting the visual style established by Gimenez and my personal take on the universe. That way, the readers will find both a new universe, and places and characters with which they are familiar. But they'll also often be able to enjoy a new style of drawing, modeled on Meta-Bunker but completely reworked. 

This new book is subtitled "The Techno-Admiral and The Anti-Baron". Techno-Admiral is also the name of the new enemy of Metabaron. 

Wilhelm-100 is the character which I needed to pay the most attention to when making this first volume, above all because of his gigantic size and his mechanical prosthetics, which had to be believable. Therefore, I chose to portray him moving about like a gorilla, giving him a striking appearance and providing the reader with an image with which they can identify unconsciously. 

Incidentally, this new series will involve 3 artists. Can you tell us a little bit about this collaboration?

Each artist is in charge of a different diptych. Personally, drawing the first book (Book 1: The Techno-Admiral and the Anti-Baron) put me up against the exciting challenge of redefining the Metabarons universe in my own way, and to set the tone for the continuation of the saga, by reworking the appearance of the planets or the vehicles, for example. I also work constantly with Niko Henrichon; the artist of the second book (Book 2: The Techno-Cardinal and The Transhuman available March 2017). We exchange plates and each of us draws inspiration from the other's work in order to bring this universe to life as the fruit of our two visions. In fact, I even drew some parts of the first volume by looking at his sketches, which were themselves inspired by some of mine! 


It seems that you had to rush a bit to draw the second half of Book 1, how did you take on this new challenge?

Just like the first one. The difference this time is that I made the storyboard first and that I had to go a lot faster, particularly on the coloring process. This way of working made things easier for (co-writer) Jerry Frissen and I to focus more on the narrative, to improve the reading experience and to make the layout of the album smoother. I had less time to fine-tune it compared to the first volume, but this second album is more polished. The perk of doing the storyboard all at the same time and not bit by bit is that I can take a step back from the album, look at it from a distance, and know where to concentrate my efforts. For example, I could anticipate the combat scene. I knew that drawing the background and the armor would take me a while and that I would need to save time with the pages that came before.
Was the combat scene the most difficult one to create then?

It was the most difficult, but at the same time it was one of the most interesting scenes to do! The least enjoyable scene to do was the parliament scene. It had lots of characters, a quite restrictive design and lots of straight lines. That's not the kind of drawing I enjoy.

But are the spaceships not very geometrical as well? 

Yeah, in theory they're very geometrical but I give them more of an organic feel. I tried to draw spaceships with insect heads. The more I draw, the less I like straight lines!


Did you change the way you work, compared to the first album?

The biggest change on the second album is the way I use the ink. I use a lot more black now, which lets me save some time when I have to add color, because the black areas are in shadow, so you don't really have to go back to them. Sometimes I go back to them when I put the color on top, a bit like I would do traditionally with paint. And having a darker inking also allows me to create more contrasting moods. At the start of the album, Tetanus is depressed. He goes outside, he's crying and there is a very dark mood. The background serves as a metaphor for his feelings and the state of mind of the characters. I try to adapt my colors to show that.

How did you prepare yourself to allow Niko Henrichon the responsibility of drawing Book 2: The Techno-Cardinal and The Transhuman? 

Each time I send my pages to the publisher, I give Niko a copy, and vice-versa. We send each other notes. In general, since I've done it before him, he bases his designs on the ones that I did in the first book, but often I'm inspired by what he does because his work is brilliant. We exchange a lot, and he's someone I get along with very well.

What's coming after The Metabaron Book 1? 

Well, Les Humanoïdes Associés have just asked me to make Book 3! The Metabaron universe is one in which I feel comfortable and which I'm starting to master. I've loved doing Book 1; I'm starting to feel at home, which is really cool!

The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron arrives in bookshops on October 18/19, 2016 with an MSRP of $29.95/£20.99

Tags: Interview