Sparta attack! 1. In the Shadow of Heroes

“The question is not: ‘What should a Spartan, husband or king do?’ The question, my love, is: ‘What should a free man do?'” The duo Malgras – Jean Prieur provides an answer to King Leonidas from the movie 300 : the free man can have a good laugh thanks to this album where derision and humor are in order.

At the beginning of the 5th century BC, the kingdom of Sparta was powerful and its reputation was great around the Mediterranean basin. The brutal reputation of its warriors has crossed borders and terrorizes its potential adversaries. Nevertheless, the men of this polite do not all conform to the ideal type conveyed by word of mouth. They then find it difficult to find their place. This is what happens to Menthalos, Romeos, Gyros and Jean-Patrocle, four army reservists who dream of being like the other Spartans. To do this, they are ready for anything!

Popularized in the cinema by Zack Snyder, himself adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Sparta conveys many misconceptions and fantasies that antique dealers find it difficult to break. Never mind, since these prejudices about these soldiers become a formidable basis for developing universes of role-playing games, video games or comic strips. The film having already been able to make a large number of historians or enlightened amateurs of Antiquity laugh (or cry), facetious minds saw in it an undeniable comic potential. The screenwriter of this album was not mistaken. By choosing four anti-heroes, whose aim is to conform to the standards of the Lacedaemonian kingdom, he creates situations of discrepancy giving rise to an initial humorous effect, which is completed by the abundance of puns present in the titles or in the bubbles. In addition, some boards have the luxury of parodying the two starting media mentioned above, cinephile readers will appreciate. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say that this album is only a parody, since that would deny all the other registers of humor present inside, which can make sense to readers of all ages; in this, it is a fine performance. The author manages to evoke daily life, art and the importance of war for this city and the strong presence of religion, with “Gotlibian” deities.

This last objective is all found to make the transition to the visual aspect. The trait of Malgras borrows from the team oldschool of Glacial Fluid. The physiognomy of the characters is reminiscent of the genius Marcel Gotlib, who had a strong influence on the authors of Sparta attack!. This makes reading the album even more pleasant and sticks to the atmosphere of the different scenarios present. Each of the stories is separated by a gag in a board which is equally appreciable. Great respect to the soldier who knows how to remain stoic in the midst of all his beautiful women lying around him, lest the Persians return, but also to Zeus who knows how to make himself useful during barbecues on Olympus.

A rich and funny album to put in everyone’s hands while shouting “Ahou Ahou Ahou!”

Through J.Vergeraud

Sparta attack! 1. In the Shadow of Heroes