Article Information
TitleThe C of Andreas. Cromwell Stone, Cythraul and Cyrrus
AuthorMat Schifferstein (Sherpa)
Context Information
Magazine PublicationZozoLala (1984, number 18)
Article Contents
from the article "The C of Andreas. Cromwell Stone, Cythraul and Cyrrus (1984)":
The reader of Passages will not only be impressed by the drawing art of Andreas but also the the quality of his stories: what surprised me above all was how Andreas made the characters of his first album reappear, and how he managed the tie all loose ends together in the final episode. In Passages many events of Fragments are reflected, but in a more meaningful way. Those of you who want to know how Rork continues need to purchase Super Tintin/Kuifje 18: Cosmos (1982) now. This will now enlighten you much, however, because after this first part of a new cycle Rork was not allowed to come back.
Cromwell Stone
After a mutiny thirteen passengers of the "Leviticus" were put overboard in a lifeboat without food or water. As by miracle the shipwrecked were saved; since then they hold a yearly reunion. For ten years each year one of them disappears ...
Just before the latest reunion Cromwell Stone receives a letter from one of the reunionists, offering him to stay over at his place, so they can visit the reunion together.
The letter doesn't comfort Stone entirely, and as he wanders through the abandoned town late at night he imagines that he is being spied upon (see our frontplate). His fear gets bigger and bigger and overcomes him, in the end, in front of a house, as he collapses unconsciously.
Next morning it becomes clear that he has slept at the address where he was supposed to be; the house is for rent, however, and an old neighbour cannot remember the person Stone is looking for ever having lived there. Stone decides to rent the house, which starts a series of fateful events.
Leaving the story for what it is, as not to give away to many details, I can delve briefly into the drawing. It's hard not to be impressed by the care with which Andreas thinks of every detail of his world and works it out in his drawings. But if this story, that was prepublished in 1982 and 1983 in Le Journal Illustré (le plus grande du monde) is published in A4 format in black-and-white as well, the weaknesses in Andreas' approach become clear: Andreas always wants to put every detail of his inventively created worlds on paper. To put it simple, he completely fills all his pictures; in the case of Cromwell Stone one can even say its crammed, because Andreas not only draws every object, but also the materials out of which they are created, and the shadows they cast on eachother.
The drawings of Cromwell Stone are masterpieces of technique each on their own, but fail in the point of view of 'readability'. The story demands an edition in color (by means of color the elements of a drawing can be separated, important details can be put up front, minor details can go to the background) and on a larger format than A4. But anyone who has seen Le Lombard's edition of Passages knows what (some) publishers are capable of. If the album is translated at all.
On the rocky coast of Brittany Cythraul sails into a cave. Behind him the entrance collapses. He discovers a subterranean world and starts a search. The ones he meets do not give him a direct answer, but do ask him what he hides in the package he carries under his arm.
La caverne du souvenir appeared in 1983 and 1984 in Tintin/Hello BD (fr); Kuifje (nl). The story is kept quite simple; the number of events is small. The symbolic layer of events makes the story less transparent: the reader can't get around the question what the reason of the events is.
In the pictures Cythraul's experiences are separated from his memories by respectively thick and thin borders. The pictures have been kept 'empty', the pages are laid out spaciously. The rather undifferentiated use of color, the odd angles of view and the, by the use of lines, realistic expression of charicatural characters yet make the comic not very clear.
A young man is reading a paper in a room. Their is a knocking on the door. He opens the door: "Hello! I'm your mother. ?.. Yes, that's right! I remember! Come in, madam !... Please sit down!"
The young man and the woman sit down at a large table. Both place a hand on the tabletop, the largest part of which does not show the structure of wood, but a drawing of a large labyrinth. In the graybrown space the yellow colored laryrinth glows strangely.
End of dream.
In this new story, wherein a young archeologist, Cyrrus Foxe, is the main character, Andreas tells several stories at once: time and space change all the time and the connection between the various fragments only gradually becomes clearer.
So it's a complex story that asks the full attention of the reader. But in the meanwhile Andreas has perfected his technical abilities: the layout has become more quiet, the contrast of the drawings has increased (still using a lot of detail!), as is the use of color, thereby reaching new heights.
More than Cromwell Stone and La caverne du souvenir is Cyrrus a worthy successor to Rork.
Cromwell Stone will appear according to planning this year at Deligne (Michel), Cythraul and Cyrrus we can expect in an album at Le Lombard and Humanoïdes Associés. Let's hope that in particular the last one will be translated into Dutch.
User contributed notes

Peter   (22 September 2010, 15:30)

You could add "the C of Capricornus" here. :-)