Originally serialized between 1996 and 1999, Blutch’s comic Mitchum plays host to the legendary French cartoonist’s virtuosic range. Modulating from harried pen work on one page to lush, blocky tableaux on the next, he sorts through the surreal stew of his subconscious in dreamlike episodes, mixing in bits of American pop culture along the way—including, at one point, a sinister, lascivious Jimmy Stewart lurking in the shroud of a detective’s trench coat. “Mitchum was my laboratory at a certain point,” Blutch said in a 2016 interview with the journalist Paul Gravett. “Every kind of experiment was permitted. Their success or failure were secondary.” This week, New York Review Comics released the first complete English translation of Mitchum. An excerpt appears below.
Blutch (born Christian Hincker) is an award-winning, highly influential French cartoonist. He has published almost two dozen books since his 1988 debut in the legendary avant-garde magazine Fluide Glacial, including Le petit Christian, So Long, Silver Screen, and Peplum. His illustrations have appeared in Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, and The New Yorker.
From Mitchum, by Blutch, translated from the French by Matt Madden, English lettering by Dean Sudarsky. Images courtesy of New York Review Comics.