I first became aware of Yves Chaland when 'Le Testament de Godefroid de Bouillon' appeared in Heavy Metal magazine in 1987 and I was swept away by his mastery of the clear line and the quirky but adventurous plot, not to mention the fact that Lombard bore more than a passing resemblance to Tintin! On my recent Paris trip I purchased volume 1 of the Chaland collection, and soon learning the books had been translated, I found volume 2.
The second collection contains two stories, 'Holiday in Budapest', set during the Hungarian revolution, and 'F.52', which takes place aboard an atomic super-plane on its way from Paris to Melbourne. Chaland's artwork is beautiful and he really loves to play with the reader, you just don't know where the story is going to turn next. The first strip mixes tight comedy with some quite black moments, including the suicide of an AVO officer, but a little bit of sex also creeps into the stories in a subtle way - just right. 'F.52' is the stronger tale, and is really quite remarkable. It echoes Hergé's idea that he wanted to do a Tintin story set entirely in an airport. Chaland goes a step further and places the action entirely on an aeroplane. Many authors might make the spy strand of this story the main element, but Chaland keeps this just about bubbling away in the background, turning our main attention to the mix up of two little girls and a particularly scary couple who seem to live in a demented world of their own. The scene where the father releases the ramp and the golden sun streams onto him is fantastic.
Yves Chaland's artwork looks as though it was created in the 1950s as it exudes the look of an idealised version of that time period, the one that women advertising domestic products and men advertising Cadillacs inhabited. Actually they were created in the 1980s, and Chaland himself died in a car crash at the age of only 33 in 1990.