Let it be said, Michel Vaillant is not about to slow down. The comic strip hero, imagined by Jean Graton in 1956, is living an already rich year 2022 with an adventure across the United States (Cannonball, published at the end of June in Season 2) in a supercar, but the driver everything is about to make a comeback at full speed through several new products.
Jean-Louis Dauger, Brand and Development Director of Michel Vaillant, is on all fronts. “Since the start of Season 2 (in 2012), we have sought to maintain a regularity with one album per yearhe explains. In 2021, it was « Pikes Peak », in 2022, the Cannonball, to get out of the frame of the race a little. In 2023, it will be Le Mans, that is close to our hearts”he reveals.
Indeed, Michel Vaillant’s team was present during the last 24 Hours of Le Mans in order to carry out scouting there which will be fundamental in the writing and design of the album, planned for the first half of 2023, before the Le Mans test.
“2023 will be synonymous with the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but for us it will also be about celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Graton, the creator of Michel Vaillant. (disappeared in 2021. Editor’s note). When he was 14, he went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his parents on a motorcycle. It was there that he discovered his passion for motorsport. This is the reason why, a few years later, Jean Graton had located a good number of adventures of Michel Vaillant in Le Mans”. says Jean-Louis Dauger.
In the drawing of the people we will find Marc Bourgne, back in the Vaillante team since the album « Cannonball ». Benjamin Bénéteau will design the cars and the decor. He took advantage of the opening of the circuit to the public, the day before the race, to cycle the track for three hours and take a large number of photos, “what we had never been able to do until now”, continues Jean-Louis Dauger. With the benefit of increased realism, which is what Michel Vaillant’s readers are looking for.
Precisely, comic book lovers will be able to tick the date of September 23, 2022. On that day, it is not one but two works stamped Michel Vaillant which will land in bookstores. On the one hand, volume 16 of the “Dossier Michel Vaillant” series will endeavor to trace the history of the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours over 128 pages. Unpublished short stories will embark Michel Vaillant and his sidekick Steve Warson on the track that hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France between 1991 and 2008.
“The axis given on the files is given on the mythical circuits. Last year, we celebrated Paul-Ricard’s 50th anniversary with a Dossier. Next year, in partnership with Ouest-France, we will publish a Dossier on Le Mans. »
But here’s the best for last: a brand new concept called « Michel Vaillant Légende » also available on September 23! “We wanted to go back in time with Michel Vaillantjustifies Jean-Louis Dauger. This has never been done because Michel Vaillant has always been the driver of his time. In the 50s he fought against Juan Manuel Fangio, in 2020 he faced Lewis Hamilton in a Renault. With “Michel Vaillant Légende”, our hero will relive races from the past, with an educational perspective. »
The first stop was set at Indianapolis, to attend the 1966 500 Miles. The race was won by Graham Hill, who would later become the only driver to obtain the Triple Crown (victory at Le Mans, Indianapolis and the Monaco Grand Prix) . “We called on a specific designer for this series, Vincent Dutreuil. He has his hands on everything: cars, characters, sets. The idea is for the drawing to be vintage, the reader will be projected into a style of the 60s and 70s, as at the time of the works created by Jean Graton. » This should delight Michel Vaillant’s most loyal readers.