09 April 2013

FWS Topics: The Free Forever (Libre A Jamais) Graphic Novels

One of the first 'real' FWS blogpost was about the much forgotten about The Forever War: Volume One graphic novel published in 1990 by NBM with art by Marvano and adopted from the MSF classic novel. These were original published in French by Dargaud, then translated and released in the United States via NBM. Since that time, the book's author, Joe Haldeman, wrote Forever Free in 1999, and the original Belgian publisher, Dargaud, again contracted Marvano for a three volume graphic novel series that also encompassed the Joe Haldeman's short story A Separate War, which is about Marygay Potter's experience when she and William were separated. FWS has been attempting to be THE source for all things The Forever War: Graphic Novels on the internet, and I decided to craft a blogpost on these French language only comics that continued the story and art laid down by these two masters. This blogpost will not be terribly informative since I do not speak French, (despite my Swiss roots), but this will be one of the only English informational entries on this unknown series. If you speak French, you can buy these at Amazon or bedetheque.com for about twenty US dollars. In the near future, FWS will be posting a full Forgotten Classics entry on the other two English language The Forever War graphic novels. While I was able to get my hands on Volume III, I could not find Volume II for less than $50. However, the Forever War graphic novels were serialized in Dark Horse's Cheval Noirs.

Clearing Up the Confusion
On the the Forever War Graphic Novel wiki page, a sequel is mentioned by the name of 'A New Beginning', and it give the impression to the reader that these were published in English for a North American audience. As far as I can research, these did not and possibly, never existed. There was one book sequel published by the author, Forever Free and short-story about Marygay Potter called  A Separate War (sometimes called 'A War Apart'). Dargaud did published a combination three volume graphic novel set covering these two works, however, this were never made available to American audiences via an English translation or distributor. Making matters worse, was that only volume one of the original graphic novel appears on back issue sites. Volume three is rare (which I have), but volume two seems to be the most rare, with it going for hundreds of dollars on Amazon...which I don't have to spend on a comic book...I guess I gotta start stripping again...sigh.

Volume One: 'Another War' (Une Autre Guerre)
According the badly translated French-to-English by Google, the fist volume of Free Forever is called 'Another War' and tells the story of Marygay Potter and her mission Aleph-10, the end of the war, and the galaxy being divided among the two cloned species, the Taurans and the Humans. This leaves out the remains of the non-cloned humans, who feel as alien as the Taurans did. Now, the remains of the non-cloned humans, isolated on Medius (Middle Finger in the books) attempt to find a new home where they can breed in the old ways...the fun ways.

Volume Two: 'Exodus' (Exode)
The Eternal War is over, and the hard peace is in effect. To make friends with the Taurans, and avoid another interstellar war, the Taurans want us to adopt their breeding habits, meaning clones and form a new species called 'man' and are attempting to make an hegemony with the aliens through genetics. With soldiers that served in the Eternal War coming back, and composed of different eras of humans, the terms of the peace accords with the alien-clones render these people has genetic marooned, and are isolated on the planet Medius (called Middle Finger in the books). Some will be used for genetic stock, others will be modified and allowed to join the cloned ranks of the new humanity, but the bulk will be sterilized. These remains of the old humanity, who are military trained, decide to take a ship by force and head out to make their own destiny...hence the title, 'Exodus'.    

Volume Three: 'Revelation' (Revelation
The remains of vets from the Enternal War, launches themselves into space, to use time dilation to get themselves beyond the current situation, where the current crisis will be an old, maybe forgotten memory. However, the ship starts to lose anti-matter fuel, forcing the crew to abandon ship back to planet Medius. 24 years have passed since the launch of the ship, and Medius is depopulated with the remains of clothing, but no bodies, and some new strangle animals and plants. At some point, the members of old man return to Earth to find some sort of shape-shifting beings and a child-like God. No shit...a god-child. The few reviews I could I find on volume three were negative, often citing the massive Deus ex Machina ending, and seem to be inline with the negative elements of the novel.

My Two Cents on Libre A Jamais
Since coming across this three-volume set, I've wondered why NBM didn't publish these in English, like The Forever War? Was it the subject matter? Was NBM not even interested in the material or thought it wouldn't sell? I can tell you, while I loved The Forever War novel and graphic novel, I've never read Forever Free novel and nor intend to reading the graphic novel, save for the first volume, due to it's connection to the A Seperate War short story (that is excellent). While it would be interesting to have them for the art, the story with the child-god figure is just too weak. Sorry, Mr. Haldeman, but I wished the story was something different. The aspect of these veterans from the Eternal War and trapped in alien time would be interesting, the rest of the central story is too much deus ex machina for me. It never seemed, to me, that The Forever War didn't need a sequel. If Haldeman just wanted to write in the world of the Forever War, than taking the POV of another soldier involved in the Eternal War that was from a different generation would be a book worth writing and reading.

More Art Panels from Libre A Jamais


  1. This looks really cool! You totally beat me to the coverage of french comics :). Until 6 months ago, I lived exclusively in Quebec, so french comics aren't all that foreign to me. My french is rusty, but it's good enough to read comics, so I keep meaning to cover some of them on the site. The cool thing about living here is that most libraries have a big selection of french comics. Anyways, this series looks awesome. As with most french sci-fi, I love the art. I wish North American comics had the same tradition of covering sci-fi as they do in France.

  2. I totally agree, being that the majority of my DNA is Swiss, and that French was spoken widely in my family. II used to work with a Frenchman Social Worker, and when he traveled home, he brought me back the same cigarettes has were in BLADE RUNNER! I wouldn't smoke'em...my weak American lungs would be killed by that rich French smoke!
    I discovered the Forever Free comics by mistake...googling...but it needed a place on the blog. That would be a cool angle for Xenomorphosis! Dark French Science Fiction comics?! Totally badass!

  3. All three volumes have been scanned at http://mycomicpost.com/?p=92112
    No telling how long they'll remain.
    I've read the original novel -- and swore off Haldeman for years thereafter. TWO separate "rabbits out of a hat" completely collapsed "suspension of disbelief".

  4. I just checked that out! Very cool! Thanks for the heads up. This graphic novel got graphic in some parts...and stupid at the end. I would have liked to seen a different sequel to the Forever War.