For several years now, French science fiction has established itself as a place for the blossoming of formidable graphic crossbreeding. The saga Bolchoi Arena continues to shine a light on Aseyn’s brilliant talent, as the handsome Shangri-La, in 2016, had installed the impressive qualities of Mathieu Bablet, confirmed last year by Carbon and Silicon. When French manga publishers never stop drowning in bland house productions with their noses glued to the codes of Japan, a handful of authors shine in graphic acculturation: under their features, Japanese influences mingle with those of the great Americans dissolve and recompose themselves to the point of giving rise to another path. Plump and disturbing at Bablet, aerial and dynamic at Aseyn.
Amaury Bündgen’s first book, Ion Mud, fits naturally into that space. With such an obvious influence that it seemed legitimate to assume it on the cover of the book: Blame ! by Tsutomu Nihei, a monument of feverish techno-SF with terrifying opacity where the young Japanese hid his apprenticeship in comics under liters of black ink. It is indeed difficult not to find an echo in the cathedrals-tombs of Nihei in Noah’s ark, stranded on the edge of the world that Lupo, the hero ofIon Mud. We find the same feeling of verticality and claustrophobia as in Nihei, especially as the drawing, which evolves over the course of the work, first bathes in the same waters as those of the Japanese. More surprisingly, Amaury Bündgen lets on several occasions the story unfold through long silent sequences, which denotes a confidence in the graphic narration and the mastery of sequentiality rather rare for a first book, and gives birth to the most inspiring passages. of the book.
However, the nebulous odyssey of this bald little man never turns into fan-fiction. The drawing of Bündgen, 48, is also nourished by the comic book (we feel that he spent time looking at the hyperrealistic work of Travis Charest), while its cut, more calm, betrays a more European heritage. Inevitably, this pavement bears the mark of a first work and we feel the design change over the pages and time, gradually losing darkness, even if it means sometimes lacking a little weight. But there is something exciting to see the French-speaking landscape thus enriched with a new work of science fiction which seems freed from the legacy of the years. Screaming metal, without being hostile to it. All the more amusing as, by a strange twist of fate, Japanese heritage works appear in France, under the heavy influence of Druillet and company (one thinks in particular of the beautiful and Violence & Peace by Shinobu Kaze, in selection at Angoulême).
Amaury Bündgen Ion Mud Casterman, 296 pp, 25 €. In bookstores January 20.