Sapiens or how man became the master of the world

LA CASE BD – David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave have adapted Yuval Noah Harari’s essay on the history of humanity into comics, which has sold ten million copies. An excellent revisited version, selected in Angoulême, of which the screenwriter gives us the strings.

What makes us different from animals? How from insignificant beings have we become the masters of the world? … So many questions that torment us to which Yuval Noah Harari tried to answer in his daring essay with great success, Sapiens, a brief history of humanity. It was in 2015.

Five years later, David Vandermeulen on the screenplay and Daniel Casanave on the drawing, had the brilliant idea of ​​making a comic book adaptation. Mixing humor and scientific comments, the tandem offers a tasty and exciting album. We follow the peregrinations of Yuval Noah Harari, meeting scientists from all over the world to answer the questions he asks himself about the birth of humanity.

Pastiché police investigation, creations of characters from pop culture, cultural references from Chaplin to Michelangelo … The authors did not skimp on the means to make a theoretical text of 500 pages as attractive and captivating as a story adventures. The proof in pictures…

The BD box: decryption of David Vandermeulen

To make the concepts of the original book more fun and accessible, the authors drew their references from pop culture and introduced a certain dose of humor. Albin Michel

“This plate illustrates one of the book’s most striking passages. She talks about fiction, this ability in humans to create common myths that have allowed her to come together and form large groups. Here, the character talks about religion but he could just as well have talked about ideologies or political doctrines such as communism. This passage can almost sum up in itself our work of adapting Yuri Noah Harari’s theoretical text into a comic strip. The challenge was to embody his words with characters to transpose it in the form of dialogue. There, in this case, we created Daniel and I, the doctor fiction character, a kind of queer superhero, who is not quite sure if it’s a woman or a man. This find of a character representing gender neutrality to tell all types of fictions works quite well. To make the concepts of the original book more fun and accessible, we drew our references from pop culture and introduced a certain dose of humor.

“The challenge was to find understandable cultural references for the greatest number”

David Vandermeulen

To evoke God, we looked as much in the first gods of the Bible as Zeus. There is also Robert Crumb as well as a nod to Michelangelo. The challenge was to find understandable cultural references for the greatest number, knowing that the album will be distributed in more than sixty countries. We have also given ourselves the constraint of distilling information into each box without the reader having the feeling of following a lecture but rather a story of adventures.

Graphically, the rather loose and free line of Daniel Casanave allows a large place for his imagination and evocation. Rhythmic and dynamic, its design is efficient and straight to the point, avoiding readers to dwell on unnecessary details. “

Sapiens, The birth of humanity, Yuval Noah Harai, Daniel Casanave and David Vandermeulen, Albin Michel editions, 22.90 euros.

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