With " Alice's Rabbit ", Galandon and Hamo begin the second cycle of the series" L’Envolée Sauvage "devoted to the destinies of young people Jewish children during World War II. This third opus invites us to follow Ada and Lucja, two young sisters separated from their parents after thea roundup of the Vel d'Hiv in July 1942.
In this clandestine life where they are never safe, the little girls continue to create a world where tangible reality and their fertile imaginations are mixed with children's stories. It is this atypical way of approaching these dark hours that makes this scenario so original and so poignant.
In 1942, Ada and Lucja, two young sisters of the Jewish faith, found themselves rounded up with their families by the French police and militia. Parked in the winter velodrome (the Vel d'Hiv '), they owe their escape only to the intervention of their aunt, involved in the resistance networks. Separation from their parents is in itself a traumatic event to which is added the complete upheaval imposed on them by their saviors to escape the relentless hunt for Jews launched by the German occupier, with the support of part of the population. The two young children must rebuild an identity, keep no outward signs of their faith, take Christian names, learn the basics of Catholic rites, create a new identity and be forgotten by a foster family in the countryside. That's a lot, especially for the youngest Lucja (renamed Alice) who is only five years old. The little girl, always accompanied by her plush "Monsieur Lapin", captures only part of the reality of the world around her, in a mixture of mature insight, immersion and total self-identification in the world of children's stories. Who should you be most afraid of: German soldiers or the old bonesetter who houses them and who looks like a witch just trying to fatten them up to eat them? The
danger does not necessarily come from where we think it is, and while the new arrivals become part of village life, in an atmosphere which is not unlike that of "The war of the buttons", collaborators and resistance fighters are waging a secret war on which their fate will depend ...
Galandon's screenplays become a guarantee of quality in the comic book world (see: The Guilty Innocents, For a little happiness, The lineage ...), and the Wild Flight confirms this state of affairs. The theme of the Vel d'Hiv roundup and the hunt for Jews during World War II is hardly original in itself. Indeed, it is a theme that has been widely exploited in recent years, especially in the cinema with, for example, "The Roundup" by Roselyne Bosch. However, Galandon manages to innovate by presenting the situation through the prism of these kids, through their carefree, unconscious gaze, constantly mixing the real world and the world of storytelling. The result is a tragicomic situation in which the behavior of children is as amusing as it is worrying. It should also be noted that Hamo's drawing and coloring fully support this atmosphere with a style in perfect harmony with the way of approaching the subject (the style draws from a childish universe where one does not have to look for the minute details, in the armament in particular). The result is a catchy comic, strong in emotions, playing a lot on the emotional chord by quickly making the two heroines very endearing. The reader's heart can only vibrate at their frantic flight, at the sword of Damocles which weighs incessantly on them ...
From a historical point of view, we could regret the absence of a file at the end of the comic, as the Wide Angle editions often do. Indeed, it would have been possible to evoke the roundup of the Vel d'Hiv ', the networks set up clandestinely to hide the Jews, or even more generally the origin of anti-Semitism of the 20th century. However, the comic book speaks for itself on the historical background with well-exploited details such as period cinema releases ("The Well-Digger's Daughter", one of the few films made during the German invasion of 1940).
To conclude, Envolée Sauvage is a breathtaking comic, original in its approach to a subject that you think you know well, a comic that will not leave you indifferent ...
"The Wild Flight"
- The White Lady
- The Goshawks
- Alice's Rabbit
Screenplay: Laurent Galandon
Design & Colors: Hamo
Editions: Wide Angle
See also the trailer of this comic