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You may not have heard Jean-Claude Fores t's name. He's not exactly a legend in American comics circles. But you know his most famous creation. Love her or hate her, you've heard of her. Maybe you haven't read the comic. Maybe you haven't even seen the movie. But you've seen colorful posters of Jane Fonda looking flawless in a variety of impeccably styled costumes that put a sci-fi spin on burlesque. Or is it a burlesque spin on sci-fi? Either way, that's Barbarella.
He was still in school when he created his first comic strip, The Black Arrow. Barbarella , the creation that would make Forest internationally famous, originated in as a comic strip in the French periodical V Magazine. It was first collected into a book in , and was a huge success, exported and translated all over the world. Barbarella was controversial in the US, where it was widely discussed as the first adult comic book, although that wasn't precisely true.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis and director Roger Vadim adapted it into a film that was released in , guaranteeing Forest's creation's immortality. Sure, she loses her clothes a lot, but the gaze applied to her by Forest never feels particularly lascivious.
It's not even lingering, and Forest's sketchy art style, combined with the two-color art, doesn't always make it obvious just how naked anyone is. The most sexual thing about Barbarella is her willingness to have sex.
She has encounters of varying magnitude throughout the book with men, women, and robots, all quite tastefully portrayed, with everything explicit hidden between panels.
The issues of consent sometimes feel a little murky, as is too often the case in fiction from this time period, but Barbarella's enjoyment of these encounters is never in doubt. Jean-Claude Forest regarded his creation as the futuristic extrapolation of the modern, free-love-practicing, empowered woman. And Barbarella is never punished for this, which somehow still feels refreshing.
If you first encountered Barbarella through the psychedelically colorful film, as most do, the simplicity of Forest's art can feel a little jarring. But when you get used to his style, you find that his imagination is as boundless as Barbarella's curiosity, always building new worlds and giving them unique populations and rules.
And interestingly, Forest served as a design consultant on the Barbarella film, so he had a hand in the striking visuals that are such a big part of making it a classic. Barbarella remains highly influential, and through it Jean-Claude Forest's legacy lives on. Many later characters owe a debt to Barbarella, and not just the obvious ones like Vampirella. There have been attempts for years to get a new Barbarella movie or TV show off the ground, and it seems inevitable that such a thing will happen eventually.
Whether a modern adaptation can capture the free spirit of Forest's Barbarella is another question, but some don't think that Vadim and Fonda succeeded either. Filed Under: barbarella , jean-claude forest.
Categories: Anniversaries , Sci-Fi. Back To Top.
Barbarella is a fictional heroine in a French science fiction comic book created by Jean-Claude Forest. The book caused a scandal and became known as the first "adult" pornographic comic book, though its eroticism was slight and the American erotic comic books known as " Tijuana bibles " had long predated it. For her creator, the character embodied the modern, emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation, and as a result, this literary work has come to be associated with the midth century sexual revolution. Barbarella was relaunched as an ongoing series by American publisher Dynamite Entertainment in December An updated adaptation of Book 1 is being released by Humanoids Publishing  on September 24; this new adaptation has been done by Kelly Sue DeConnick. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. French science fiction comic book series.
Where No Comic Had Gone Before: Celebrating Jean-Claude Forest And ‘Barbarella’
RSS Feed. Barbarella was a truly liberating creation, not only for her creator, Jean-Claude Forest but also for French and international comics as a whole. The quality, and sheer quantity, of graphic novels have been rising year-on-year for over 12 years, stabilizing with only a small dip to over 5, new titles published in But it was not always like this.
Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella: