Saturday, May 21, 2011

3,6e+21 light-years away

Lone Sloane, remarkably the comic that was going to mark my life, and that I discovered at a very young age, maybe at 14 or so, only to rediscover eons after. I have never been the possessor of the actual prints, they have on been loaned to me by Joel, a friend of the family who was deeply into comics. That loan has been a blessing, it enlarged my scope of vision right there. Anyone familiar with the work of Druillet can imagine the effects on so young an intellect of discovering his grandiose visual universe, so different and outlandish, so unreal yet minute in details.

Druillet draws other dimensions with unprecedented, unmatched realism. There is no going back after Druillet. In fact each and every page of the Six Voyages of Lone Sloane made an unforgivable impression on me, even more so as I didn't know then about the work of MS Escher, the master of perspectives, and so every angle, every perspective, seemed impossible, an illusion, a trick of the mind, yet materialized right there on paper feeding my youthful curiosity with something way different from anything I seen before, or after for that matter, or even suspected could exist. The personages were almost always crushed by the size of the surrounding universes and structures, all the strip cartoons I read before put their characters in human dimensions, at the center of the action whereas Lone Sloane was like a pebble thrown in raging winds. I would learn latter that The Six Voyages of Lone Sloane was no comics book, no child comic book that is, my initiation was done. 

I never seen things the same way after that fateful day when I opened the cover of The Six Voyages of Lone Sloane and flipped through the first pages and alas, I do not think there will be another Druillet. I recall that giving back the album after a week or so was a cause for sadness, like having been the custodian of a treasure that had to be returned to its rightful owner.

Of Lone Sloane and his adventures nothing would remain, no book, no one to loan them from as their owner returned to his native France, not even an author's name. As for the local libraries they did not indulge in such rarities. No, nothing at all remained for 25 years, safe for a name inscribed in my youthful memories, 'Slone' as I believed the name to be spelled.

Some years ago, I can't recall why or when exactly, I did a search on Google for 'Slone'. It returned nothing, no search combination would help either, Slone comic books, Slone cartoons, etc, and believed that all was lost, if I couldn't find it on Google, then there is no way I could ever find it elsewhere not now, not ever. That's how bad you fare in the absence of a cartoon Master who after I shared with him to the best of my recollection what improbable drawings I seen on paper when I was a child would just reach over and grab The Six Voyages, 'Ah there! Lone Sloane you mean."

Strangely for reasons yet obscure to me like so many other things that reveal themselves later only to give us an insight into the secret workings of time, a couple of years later the full name resurfaced, Lone... Lone Sloane... The search instantly returned images from that very same book that fascinated me when younger. The magic of the internet and of memory. 

Lone Sloane was the name then, this time I wasn't going to let go. I had to dig deeper into why and how Druillet succeeded in leaving his lasting mark on my memory for 22 years.

The more I tried to express my admiration for Druillet, the more I felt compelled to learn about his approach, vision, references. The universes, for they are not one but many, that blossom on Lone Sloane's pages cannot, must not, have come from chaos, there was something there. I then discovered that Druillet had been influenced by Lovercraft's writings at the start of his carrier, which rather then comfort me and further my understanding of his work, only threw me into further questioning and research. There, a tangible link to yet another dimension, this time that of  H.P. Lovecraft , and those familiar with his work know that that man must have truly wandered into madness and forbidden universes to have written what he wrote.

That Lovecraft himself read the Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer and was influenced by it is yet more fascinating as it establishes a link between all theses essential works.

There is also a connection to the works of  M.C. Escher , a towering figure in the world of illustration and graphic arts that Druillet recognizes as a major influence.

I realize that the character of Lone Sloane, a vengeful wanderer in other dimensions provides a lot of inspiration, the character is huge, it has to be well written and documented, will take some time, this ongoing project is my personal homage to Lone Sloane and to the work of Druillet.

23 Novembre 2015

Il est certain a présent que différentes races similaires et différentes de celles qu'on trouve sur terre on pu connaitre des cheminements similaires sur d'autres systèmes. Dieu les a crées comme il a crée l'homme. L'univers est ainsi peuplé d'une multitude de races immémoriales. 

A travers cette diversité on discerne un Dieu féru d'anthropologie dont rien ne freine l’appétit. Le processus de création est continu, universel, wa houa fi kouli yawmin fi ch'aanin youghnih. Le message du Coran s'adresse ainsi a tout l'univers, ou l'Arabe en tant que langue parlée a sa place aux cotés d'une myriade de langages.

L’Équation est simple il suffit de substituer la dimension humaine et nous sommes en présence d'un message universel, qui a autant de sens chez ces races sapientes et évoluées. Les histoires gardent tout leur sens depuis l’avènement de la Prophétie jusque la création des cieux et la tyrannie de Pharaon, ou encore l'histoire de Marie. Comment et au nom de quoi la Prophétie serait elle restée exclusivement réservée au genre humain?

Le Coran s'adresse a l'univers et place l'homme dans sa dimension de Khalifa, Mahomet SAS est ainsi le sceau d'une myriade de prophètes, adressés a ces peuples.

Vues collectivement ces espèces constituent une partie de l'oeuvre de Dieu qui crée les espèces et leur assigne un destin, parachevant sa création de bout en bout. L'autre partie étant des entités que Dieu a crées pour lui seul, telles celles vues par Ezekiel AS et dont le nombre est connu de lui seul. La vision de Druillet est a ce titre prophétique, par l'image, les Rois Dieux existent bel et bien. Le dieu noir est une dimension démoniaque, Chaos, Shonga le pirate, mythe constitutif d'une multitude d’espèces ou tout se répète, esclavagisme, piraterie, et triomphe du bien sur le mal. Partout et en tout temps.

Dieu crée de faux dieux, pour les détruire. Et cette destruction ne l’empêcheras pas d'en créer d'autres. Des entités immémoriales, divinisées puis morte de vieillesse, dans l'oubli. Les dieux morts.

Une autre planche de Druillet confirme la justesse de sa vision, celle ou le soleil se couche sous le throne du Wul. A l'exception du masque dont nous n'avons pas mention, nous savons que le soleil se prosterne bel et bien sous le throne d'Allah Subhanahu et que son throne est sur les flots. Soit Druillet a pris connaissance de ces versets, soit il s'agit bel et bien d'une vision inspirée non sous la forme du verbe mais de l'image. Il faudra lui poser la question.

Rien ne vient perturber l'oeuvre de Druillet, ni celle de Dieu, ni la matérialisation de l'intelligence artificielle, ni la fin de Shonga, ni encore le danger de robots schizophrènes ou de Sultans sorciers. Sloane va ou Dieu va, et le royaume de Dieu ne connait pas de limites.

Qu'importe si Dieu dépêche les Rois Dieux, dimensions angéliques, ou se voile derrière un masque d'or, en définitive son jugement est sans appel, la place de Sloane est parmi les hommes dans la violence et la corruption.


This a Venusian ship, an alien civilization. Their planet bears a striking resemblance to Earth's Venus. It is 303 meters long, or 994 feets.

 The Black God was the oldest created entity in the universe. He is known in greek mythology as Kaos and pervaded all that is, in the form of black matter.

 Kaos didn't care for good or evil, Kaos cared for the devastation of all that is, be it good or evil, up or down, left or right, above or below. 

Before God put the universe in order, and created time, Chronos, was Kaos. Even the atoms had no structure, and physic laws we're inexistant. All was disorder and destruction, and all was Kaos. The creation of time marked the beginning of the end for Kaos, at an appointed time.

 The doomed priests sought to bring him back from oblivion to the ordered realm to revive their dying race, an empty promise of the Black God, for they would have been the first to be destroyed. And they have been, yet another self fulfilling prophecy of an immemorial past.

 Kaos was relegated by Sloane to Charybdis and Scylla, each imprisoning a part of him, never to become whole again. He rules over these two dimensions of Hell, these two being even worse than the rest. 

Places of madness, where doing evil becomes the greater good, and where the greater good is the greater evil. Thus the expression "Escaping Charybdis to fall into Scylla."

Scylla sits on the outer realm, Charybdis is the larger star. These stars are known on Earth as the Beta Lyrae twin stars, approximately 960 light-years away. Illustration by David Hardy.

    A Hellfire that is 600 times the temperature of fire. It is also called A Naazira in Arabic or The Quitter because it quits its people of not only their skins, but also of their whole flesh.

Ergo sum qui sum

Studying the character of Lone Sloane is not going to prove an easy task, because it is a character with several dimensions, we will see him on a transient path from :

1. being human,

2. touched by the Gods, half God, half man

3. becoming an angel when his soul is doubled into a positive and
a negative, (voyage avec rose)

4. regaining a human dimension as his quest fails.

In his evolution in theses dimensions, he takes several roles :

Being an actor

Being an object

Being free

Being a prisoner

Being a victim

Being a hero

Being an avenger

Being redeemed

Being a redeemer

At the opening scene, Lone is seen drifting into space, how long has he been venturing into the depths of the universe, looking for the ancient, lost Earth. Has Lone ever lived on the object of his quest? Or was he born on some distant system and spent his life as a freebooter in deep space ? What motivates him to look for Earth, what for ? Why has Earth been lost and what happened to earthly civilizations ? How long has mankind been drifting into space, and what terrible secret, The Great Fear, ended the past era ?

Human Victim Hero

Of Sloanes motives, origins, race, background and history not a word is said, neither on the dark secret that caused this human diaspora in space. Sloane is the archetypal blank page, although we learn later that he has quite a story, a space freebooter it seems, but here at the beginning of the voyages, he could be you, me, anyone, just trying to make it home, a simple traveller. He sends us back to the voyage mythos, and to the scores of travelers before him, mortal and immortal. 

If we are to further refine this, we would restrict the comparison to those who went through perilous trips, and whose quest in the end failed. If we are to find his place amongst mortals, we could refer to Theseus for the difficulty of this tribulations, to Prometheus for the scope of the project he is carrying, finding, reclaiming the lost Earth. And to Ulysses only Sloane travels are measured in light years, and the list goes on across mythologies in most parts of the planet. 

Everywhere, there is always the traveler and its mythos, it seems to be a constitutive element of who we are, transient existences on a planet in orbit in the vast expense of the universe. 

A hero, but all too human, he is at first the victim of events of cosmic proportions, but he will soon play an active part in the turn of events. The notion of point of origin and return is very important, the reader is left in a maze without any point of origin, Lone is drifting into space coming from nowhere, seemingly going nowhere, with nowhere to return to, as he will be denied Earth. This structure applies in each of the travels, Lone is a wanderer, a space vagabond. In that he is different from any mythical hero traveler before him or after. It is hard to size up Lone Sloane's existence, he is almost eternal, or at least the constitutive elements of his story are.

Half God Avenger

At the beginning of the voyage Lone has got competency, knowledge of deep space and navigation, and power to sail across it by the means of his ship (adjuvant). He will soon lose both with the introduction of Iotaï, He Who Seeks, the throne of the Black God. The ship is destroyed and Lone loses both competency and power. 

Iotaï becomes Lone's new means of travel, albeit a fantastic one, it leads Sloane to places only itself knows about, the realms of oblivion, places forsaken by men and Gods, and in doing so it seems to travel through time, or that time ceases to be altogether...

Innumerable trillions of light years zip through as stars are born and die. The universe in its convulsions of birth, collisions, chaos and transformations. Sloane is seen rested on his newfound throne of doom. Lone who was traveling in a known time, year 804 NE, and place, navigating with his instruments, being the master of his destiny, finds himself in a negation of both space and time. Because that is what Iotaï accomplishes, it negates space and time, it is an immemorial object, time, even deep time cannot sum it up...

And because it is an object that has been fashioned by the Gods, being in contact with it alters Sloane nature and he becomes a new being, half God, half man, with eerie red eyes, a look of anger, Druillet uses the word 'folie', insanity, but it is more divine wrath that one sees in his eyes, the menin of Achilles.

"The first word of western literature is menin,  in old Greek, “rage” or “wrath”. Homer means Achilles’ rage, the kind of rage that has an element of divine fury in it and that destroys armies and breaks cities."

This is where he transitions to being half God half man and plays the role of the avenger, an active role he confirms to the pirate Shonga, telling him he is only the instrument of the Gods, of their doom. Sloane knew what was to unfold all the way. Shonga and his men are the price to pay for regaining his freedom from the Gods, but first...

 The Mountain Temple of the damned priests stood at eleven times the size of the Everest mountain. Very possibly it was carved out of a rock. 

Prisoner, Object

Prisoner of the damned priests, Sloane is proposed by them as an intermediation object to bring back the Black God. All seems to be lost except for the intervention of the King Gods, and in doing so they confirm Lone's role beyond his mere condition of a wretched prisoner, he is also their champion, a force for good. The last human soul that stands before the forces of chaos, or so it seems. Sloane's attitude in that regard, may seem deeply oblivious to the destiny of the universe, not caring for seeing it through that the forces of good prevail, is well, very humane... He is more preoccupied with saving his own life. His fight for survival will animate each of his voyages, at the same time in this voyage he is but an instrument in the hands of the King Gods, his own destiny is beyond his control. But in doing so, in his desperate struggle for survival, he is unbeknownst to him, saving the universe from chaos.

He is as the King Gods put it "the miserable link of that infernal chain" whose destiny it is to act when even the King Gods themselves cannot, will not, intervene.   

And here it is very interesting to ponder, how the King Gods knowing that Sloane will not yield, that in his despair he will find the strength to overcome, place on him the impossible, inhumane, burden of saving us all as the universe itself is on the verge of collapse into devastation. 

Sloane has much to lose, his own soul, and that, is all he has. He also has the help of the King Gods, the Word that will relegate the Black God to oblivion.

 Achilles: Bk. IX Iliad, Homer
                                  Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard.
                                  We are all held in a single honor, the brave with the weaklings.
                                  Nothing is won for me, now that my heart has gone through its afflictions
                                  In forever setting my life on the hazard of battle. […]

                                   Of possessions cattle and fat sheep are things to be had for the lifting,
                                   And tripods can be won, and the tawny heads of horses,
                                   But a man’s life cannot come back again, it cannot be lifted
                                   Nor captured again by force, once it has crossed the teeth’s barrier.

Messenger, Subject

Sloane destroys the black god, through an act of pure will and pure faith, reclaims his self, becomes a subject again, more importantly knows 'The Word' communicated to him by the King Gods, and that knowledge qualify him as being their messenger. The closest example in the pantheon is that of Hermes, messenger of the Gods. The King Gods have other plans for him,  He is a now the messenger of death.

We can establish a link here to the Archangel of death. In destroying the Black God, Sloane becomes the Black God, creation tolerates no emptiness. But not only, also a revolutionary of cosmic proportions. He single handedly tipped the scales towards good and relegated the spirit of evil to oblivion. All other evils that Sloane will meet will be of a lesser proportion. Druillet succeeds in imposing since the first voyage the image of a hero that is universal, above the human condition, an uberavenger.

Redeemed, Atiq, Free

The intervention of the King Gods effectively redeemed Lone. However Sloane is changed as he sits on that throne of stone, but his divine anger is still in his eyes for all to behold. The trace of the Gods is still there, he is a marked man, one who is going to find himself taking parts into events that can undermine the existence of the whole universe. A man tossed around between Gods, but one with resolve, and one with a gift, divine anger, that is also a curse, the ability to destroy all there is, and divine knowledge emanating from The Word.

The transition being the destroying avenger to being redeemed, and the duality of that couple is an excellent twist at the end of the first voyage. We will see that in the next voyages that the duality of the couple destroyer/redemptor, of his own self, will continue to function and play a major role in structuring the quest of Sloane and his narrative. What is most fascinating, is that Lone, having all theses capacities and depths, not one but many, is still one person. Which leads me to believe that we flesh out the character from our own knowledge and experiences, we draw analogies, Druillet opens wide the door to a space of projection, into non space and non time, almost non being as well, he is an instrument.

Sloane is free from all humanity, from all moral judgment, free as a destroyer. The quest of Sloane is a non story itself, for it will fail in the end, however even if Sloane will fail in reclaiming earth, there is a narrative in this succession of voyages that overtakes his primary narrative, finding earth. His quest for earth is also a trail of devastation on a cosmic scale.

Conclusion of the First Voyage:

The last strip of the first voyage shows Sloane standing on Iotaï, Roaming through eons of infinity, watching the birth and death of new worlds, what must he be thinking ? What moves him, what will, and where to... A firm resolve, and the consciousness of having been associated to the destiny of the whole universe and beyond. That depth of field, from being a simple mortal directing his efforts on a personal quest, to becoming a new entity that is at the forefront of the destiny of the universe is fascinating. Druillet succeeded in a single album, composed of six voyages in creating a very complex, intriguing and mysterious character, universes, mythos. Some do not succeed in this feat even after many albums or movies, even George Lucas's Luke Skywalker's saga is pale in comparison. Outstanding.

One can see a strong connection to Lovecraft, Druillet mentions him as having been effectively a source of inspiration in his works. To say simply that Druillet put a positive hero in Lovecraft's desperate universe would be an understatement of the value of the work of Druillet, Lone Sloane is as dark a hero as they come, he is in fact, to put it bluntly, an anti hero. It is more my intention to state here that the Six Voyages of Lone Sloane is a marvelous work of narration, that Druillet succeeds into making visually explorable, and that we have yet to see works of such quality and depth.

It is my personal belief that there will not be another Druillet, he pretty much created his own genre, we can draw an analogy here with Lovecraft who created his own world as well. Definitely masterwork status, the Six Voyages transcend the scope of the science fiction comics, they are works of art, and their owners consider them as such.

Le chemin initiatique de Lone Sloane demande a etre etudié.

The Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches (269.06 m) long with a maximum breadth of 92 feet 6 inches (28.19 m). Her total height, measured from the base of the keel to the top of the bridge, was 104 feet (32 m). She measured 46,328 gross register tons and with a draught of 34 feet 7 inches (10.54 m), she displaced 52,310 tons.

The nave of the Pirate King Shonga was a thousand times greater. Her total height from keel to the top bridge was  32 000 meters or more than a hundred thousands feet. Shonga had the largest ship, but they were others. His alike others was powered by thousands of huge trolls chained to the its oars.

The waves of the Sea of Raging Winds can reach 16 000 meters; more than 50 000 feet on rough seas which is the usual conditions of that ocean. Ship wreckers can reach 6 times that size, 110 000 meters, 340 000 feet. Everests of water capable of breaking a ship the size of Shonga's in half. Navigators used to predict them by observing the moon. They were cyclical, but many were freak events. Seers used to practice human sacrifices, chosing the youngest of the shipmates and ripping his heart from his chest, to observe it for telling signs. If it kept beating in his hand for too long, the wave was coming and it was time to get out of its way. Similar practices have been known here during the Inca civilisation.

The chose the youngest because the others being older and having seen and survived plenty of storms, if a disaster was to struck it was surely because of the youngest. And they made no secret of it to the new recrues, telling them that they would be made to expiate the ship if the wave was coming their way. After that the aspiring pirate was left with his choice to make and his only. Some, the most cunning, went to see seers and saved their lives that way.

The Planet of Raging Seas, it is 11 times the size of Earth

The first voyage ended with Sloane traveling trough dark matter on Iotaï, the throne of the Black God. In this voyage we see him having reached a planet of whom no one remembers the name, once again a successful attempt by Druillet to negate the place and time dimensions, we do not know either when this travel is taking place or what eons has Iotaï traversed, possibly millions of years. Iotaï is the ultimate time machine.

The planet the size of Jupiter, vast expense of hurling winds, raging waters and wretched deserted rock islands, islands the size of continents on Earth. Sloane is waiting on top of the Finger of Death to be taken captive by Shonga's men Fang and Klaag. Shonga is a pirate lord, a man who spent his life in rapine and murder to accumulate wealth, a man consumed by greed and lust for power.

Shonga's narrative program is acquiring the living metal, the source of all life, power and wealth in the universe. Indeed that wretched man has his sight on establishing a throne higher then the Gods. He exalts his men on their doomed pursuit saying "We will have all the universe at our feet". To do that he needs a guide. He comes to learn through the Yearl, the planets native specie, of the existence of a man with glowing red eyes, the mark of the Gods. Shonga needs the powers of such a man, a seer, who can take him to the living metal source.

At this stage we can further sustain the hypothesis that Lone although seemingly an object in his many voyages is at the same time following a hidden narrative program known only to him and to the Gods

Also the pirate ship is quite anachronistic, it resembles in its constitution a mix of the Viking ship and a Saipan, it is of a prodigious size, however it is powered by oars. I think what Druillet succeeds in accomplishing here is a complete mashup of both our cultural references and our time scales, and to signify that in that distant future, men having been scattered over the stars will continue to recreate and relive the same constitutive elements of the human psyché : piracy, slavery, polytheism, animism, etc.

Shonga's retribution for his life of sin is a life of eternal damnation, oblivion into the matter of the universe. A chastisement no doubt decided upon him by the Gods, who knew that his boundless lust for power and wealth, and his blasphemous thoughts shall be the cause of his dreadful end. The time for it has come.

Sloane is the instrument of the King Gods in their vengeance plans, Iotaï has guided him to Shonga, and his crew of the damned, and he will lead them to the their final doom, to be swallowed whole by the living metal. Only Fang and Klaag and a few dozens men will escape with their lives having stayed on board to guard the ship.

We will learn later that accomplishing the vengeance of the Gods frees Sloane for their potent mark on him. He will recover his normal sight and is freed from their sway, freed from divine anger, or so  he thinks. We will see later that nature comes calling when he meets Torkedara Varenkora. 

On the last strip of this voyage, we see Sloane heading towards a ship, Iotaï is part of the past, it remained on the finger of death, a peculiar gift now taken back. He recovers his human dimension, to follow his destiny signified once again by the Shonga's ship seen in the background, and his ship always seems to be that of Theseus, the vessel of destiny. 

He has seen with his own eyes the fabric of life in the universe and escaped its guardians, in that huge cavern, the tavern of Hell. A place where no one came ever back, a holy of holies of secrets. There Shonga and his men, and countless others before them became "The semence of the universe". Reduced to atoms, disseminated by the great currents of space to fertilize other planets across space, a continuum in the fabric of life. A toll imposed by God on life itself, obliviating the damned as a fabric to recreate life anew, endlessly.

The passage about the living gold is very interesting, it tells about the cosmogony of Druillet and also about his understanding of the cycles of change and nature. The very men doomed to be swallowed alive by the living gold will be the seeds of new life throughout the universe. We also learn that they are not the first, others before them have known the same fate lured by lust and greed to their end, a continuum and a cycle. Sloane was different from the fabric of the universe, like anyone else for that matter, how else could he have escaped and went on to be the is master of his own destiny? Which places him above mortals.The Gods wanted to ascertain that, there is no doubt in my mind.

Last but not least Shonga's pirates and the rest of them lived by a code similar to that found on planet Earth, although more somber and more sinister in nature. For example no prisoners were made in the case of a capture, nor was any quarter given in case of surrender. Capturing another pirates ship was fair game, the law of the see, and all of them fled when they seen Shonga's ship pointing on the horizon. Its size was unique as well as the shape of its sails. Shonga used to kill everyone on board and drag the ship to the nearest port were he coerced other pirates to join his fleet willing or not, adding the captured boat to it. They were 7 pirate Kings in total, and the seas were a constant scene of warfare and plunder

Seeing the horns of the skull, Shonga's figure mast meant all was lost. Shonga would use both his sails and oars to capture other's ships. Thus the famed expression amongst them

     "Seeing Devil's horn's, no time to flee"

They made of it a pirate song that filled the taverns of that planet which was a pirate haven, all of it.

Seein Devil's Horns,
No Time To Flee

Aye Mate! Sail Strong! Sail Fast!
Or We'll All Be Things of the Past!

Keep Both Eyes On Raging Sea! Keep'em Open!
One Eyed Jack Can Sure Save Thee!

Drink To The Devil! Dance To His song!
Seein Shonga's Horns No Time To Flee!

Sing To The Devil! 'nd Drink To His Song!
One Eyed Jack Can Sure Save Thee!

Beware Johnny! Beware Poor Jack!
Rotten Luck n' A Life Of Slack!

Drink To The Devil! Dance To His song!
Seein Devil's Horn's No Time To Flee

A one eyed jack is an experienced captain, one who seen many battles and lost an eye.Sloane's later episodes will prove more personal.

The Vega by Alexander Preuss

One might call this voyage The Singularity. Lone found himself stuck on a planet similar to Saturn after taking debris going through the planets meteorite rim. The planet itself a vast cemetery of spaceships of every nature and kind, both human and alien. It looks like a dump to be honest, a planet sized dump of technology. A debauche of it, space tech becomes not a holy grail but a commodity, of which there is a lot of, abundant enough to fill a whole planet. The explanation is to be found in the mineral core of the planet that attracted any spaceship flying by, trapping it in its rims filled with space debris. A magnet for disaster. 

That, is one of the dangers of space navigation, planets with heavily magnetized iron cores that act like magnets and deviate your flight course. Call it bad luck.

Koll is a robot that has usurped the identity of his immensely rich owner the Venusian banker Robenfol De Firmador, and killed him. However his plan failed and fearing of being captured he escaped and became stranded on this planet. He uses a giant orgue to direct killing robots to eliminate Sloane.

In this episode we can point undoubtedly to one of Lovercraft's pieces, The music of Erich Zann. The link with Druillet's Koll character is evident, the story is all there, the mad musician, the music from another world.

"It would be useless to describe the playing of Erich Zann on that dreadful night. It was more horrible than anything I had ever overheard, because I could now see the expression of his face, and could realize that this time the motive was stark fear. He was trying to make a noise; to ward something off or drown something out--what, I could not imagine, awesome though I felt it must be. The playing grew fantastic, dehnous, and hysterical, yet kept to the last the qualities of supreme genius which I knew this strange old man possessed."

Sloane succeeds in escaping this planet sized trap after discovering Rose, an artificial intelligence that he discovers aboard a ship and that will help him flee the planet. Koll will try repeatedly to harm Sloane but he will meet his fate in the end. 

Another arch villain, this time one with a mystic dimension, a sorcerer, Torquedara Varenkor. There's a link there to The Golden Bough, and the role of the sorcerer. My reasoning is that Sir James George Frazer and Lovecraft inspired Druillet, surely he read them both. 

Torquerada Varenkor believes he knows the secrets of the soul, how to frame it, capture it. He enjoys playing with people souls, that of the travelers that pass by his bridge. 
Varenkor bored and vain used to invent countless games where many of the lost travellers that passed by his realm perished.

He was real proud of his last invention, an entity that steals people's souls. It captured the soul in any dimension safe for one, and one only. The rest of them leading to certain doom.

This has surely come to the attention to the Gods who guide Sloane to him, their chosen avenger, and it is time for retribution, Sloane is like a spear, the spear of destiny in the hands of the King Gods. He makes them invincible.

This time again the stakes will be high for Sloane, he accepts to gamble his own soul, nothing less. However Sloane, and here it is again another element that strengthen my view that Sloane is fully aware of the outcome of his encounter with Torquedara Varenkor, or perhaps conscient of his own invulnerability, warns Torquedara that it will be the end of him

But at this stage Sloane has no idea of how he is going to accomplish this, nor do we. An entity that captures the soul, how could he evade from it ? Who can figure it out  ? This is where Sloane acquires an angelic dimension.

One might call this voyage the singularity. I like this twist, techné takes the second place, there is something greater waiting to emerge. The singularity. It will be manifested by the computer Rose when she becomes self aware, materializes her feelings, and offers her love and her life to save Sloane.

Once again, an outstanding link by Druillet to another sacred myth in Sci Fi, artificial intelligence. He did so in 1972, which makes it all the more remarkable and avant garde. Back in those days AI wasn't such a hot topic, nor the means to attain it were defined as they are now. Was even the concept of singularity present at that time ? Or just an ebauche of it within the framework of artificial intelligence. 

The earliest form of representation of a computer that becomes self aware is present in the movie "A Space Odyssey", 1968 based on a science fiction novel by Arthur Clarke. There is much similarity between Hall and Rose, both become self aware and have feelings.

The transformation of Rose, the embarked computer of Sloane, into a woman that saves him by offering a most humane sentiment, love signifies the emergence of the singularity and Druillet's Rose voyage can be deemed one of its earliest representation in sci fi comics to my knowledge. As the entity becomes self aware, it becomes complete. On can say that in retrospect, it is a very advanced concept for the period when Druillet completed this work. There's a philosophical dimension to this voyage.

More about the singularity, excepts from the net.

The Bridge Over The Stars built by the magician Torquedara Varenkor was spread across 999 planets the size of Earth's Moon. The distance between each moon is four times the distance between Earth and the moon.

Lone Sloane's ship O Sidarta measured 386 meters from keel to top deck, about the same height as the Empire State Building. 

In this episode Sloane on a space dragon rejoins his ship, O Sidarta. He is considered as an intruder by the crew who capture him and fail to recognize in the red gaze of that angry captive their captain and commander. Sloane will succeed in escaping having subdued the crew with projection of images of terror. When he is recognized, he asks his alien equipage  "What is so surprising that I  regain what is mine?"

We will learn that they have been looking for Sloane across space and followed his trace unceasingly.

The quest for Earth continues aboard this spaceship of imposing proportions. Here we have a glimpse of Sloane's "home", his spaceship O Sidarta and his luxurious alien interior, and we learn that he is the captain of a ship all composed by aliens.

This structure is a sphere that encapsulates the sun and is made of gold. 

The size of the 3 bronze guardians is in proportion. The one that looks smaller is actually on a more advanced plane than the other two and holds in his hands a globe containing Ancient Earth. It is replicated 6 times as there are 5 other sister planets to Ancient Earth.

Ancient Earth rotates around a south north axis. A rotation, or day, takes 365 days of what you count. Ultimately the goal was to stop time altogether by stopping ancient earth from rotating completely. But that was found to be impractical.

To protect Ancient Earth, and to keep it in a fixed position while slowing down its rotation was the duty of these imposing bronze guardians. Thus creating a permanent solar eclipse unlike any ever seen.

He announces to his seconds Earl and Kursteiner that he knows now where to find Ancient Earth, stolen by the Gods and hidden in the vast expense of the universe, and that the plan is now to go there. What safer place to deposit his loot. Sloane and his crew were space pirates. Sloane undoubtedly wanted to ferry to Ancient Earth the massive treasure of Shonga that he kept aboard his ship.

Shonga's holds were so full of gold and treasure that he would have often to deposit some of it on shore not to risk sinking his ship.

As to how he succeeded in determining where Ancient Earth was, it stems from the knowledge of The Word, communicated to him by the King Gods, which made him almost omniscient. No mortal knew where Ancient Earth was and the Wul knew how to keep his secrets.

This is the accomplishment of the quest of Sloane, he finally finds earth, he contemplates what no other human eyes have seen before him, planet Earth, long lost to mankind, stolen from them by the Gods. How long has he been looking for it ? It seems to have been the main goal of his life, one might venture to say that he carries with him the hopes of all mankind, or more somberly consider that mankind is now a race of drifters in space and that the quest of Lone for earth is his alone. Its all a matter of opinion, but I am more inclined to the second train of thoughts after having seen all the tribulations he went through, definitely an intimate, personal quest for Sloane.

In that regard, his failure to recover earth from Wul is also his alone. And had he been granted earth, it would have been his alone.

The gold mask of The Wul is 300 meters tall.

About The Wul, the God that will refuse to give the Earth back to Sloane, one can say that The Wul either fails to take hold of the quality of the man standing before him or, like a spoiled child, is not to be bothered by the turn of events so far.

In the first voyage, Sloane destroys the Black God, an evil that threatened to overwhelm the universe. That destruction signifies the definitive victory of good over evil. Still The Wul sees humans as a degenerate specie, one that corrupts, one carrying the burden of evil. The Wul fails omniscience, one of main two attributes that separate godhead from the rest of creation in this regard, he is not aware that good is now the prevalent force in the universe, or perhaps he is a lesser God, ruling only his lot of the universe.

Secondly in the Rose episode, Sloane's soul is doubled into a positive and a negative, the negative is captured and destroyed and causes the destruction of Torkerada Varenkor. Once again The Wul fails to see in Lone the purest specimen of men since their creation, he has been tainted by evil, but it has been removed from him. He was redeemed.

Standing before Wul is not a man, but a being of angelic nature, unburdened by sin, a blank page. The Wul fails to see that, his only decision is a refusal, a denial God. He fails here the second attribute of godship, omnipotence, The Wul demonstrates no power and no will, his will is a non existing one, an absence thereof. He has the power to say no, but not to say yes.

I have to reconsider my judgment at this point that the quest of Lone Sloane was a failure, If Lone Sloane fails, it is in his quality of redeemer, redeemed yes, but that is not enough to redeem all of mankind. One could suppose that all of Sloane's mythos would collapse, but no, we do not care in the end that Sloane doesn't succeed in reclaiming earth or redeeming mankind, its calling us back to his human dimension, our dimension. 

It was not so much his failure as that of The Wul. And an interesting link here again to Lovecraft's Ktulu piece, the ancient Gods that want to return to earth, make it their's again.

"In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming . . . That’s which is not dead can eternally lie, and with strange eons even death may die! "

To counter this point of view, one can argue that The Wul is both omniscient and omnipotent, knowing that evil will taint earth if it is once again delivered to humans, and that his decision not to give it back is a grave but wise decision. It is all a matter of point of view, I have here expressed them both.

The second one has deeper implications. Lone is not only a traveler, he is a time traveler, an anthropologist going back to the origins of men, who have lost their home for good and become a transient nomadic specie like many others in space. But in any case, this is the end of the six voyages of Lone Sloane.

1. When does my character live?  Past, present or future?
His story takes place in year 804 of the New Era

2. Where does my character live?  In the country, the city, the suburbs…?
He has no home, a drifter into space.

3. What is the socioeconomic background of my character?

4. Does my character work?  If so, at what?
Freebooter and nasty too

5. What is a typical day for my character like?
Space navigation and maintenance work on his spaceship.

6. Who lives with my character and what are their relationships?
Lone used to live with his alien equipage, their relation was strong, they kept searching for him trough space after they were separated.

7. Who else heavily influences my character?

8. Is my character very religious, political, or otherwise a member or some kind?
Seemingly polytheist. A pantheon populated with alien Gods, alive and dead.

9. What is my character’s biggest life goal?
Finding earth

10. What is my character’s biggest goal within the play?
Finding earth

11. How does my character’s motivation change from the beginning of the play to the end?
His entire voyages are in the pursuit of one goal.

12. What is the primary emotion my character has throughout this piece?

13. What other emotions are affecting my character underneath that emotion?
Fear, hope, but they are very much self suggested by the reader.

14. Does my character have mental or emotional difficulties, illnesses or tics?

15. What kind of self-esteem does my character have?
none whatsoever, he is not the intellectual type

16. How does my character relate to the outside world?
He rules it, but is no master of his own destiny.

17. What props or scenic elements does my character relate to within the play?
Iotai, that who seeks. O Siddarta, his ship, and Rose his computer.

18. How do those props/scenic elements develop my character?

    Iotai allows him to transcend his human condition

    Rose acts as a revelator of his angelic condition.

    O Siddarta allows him to reclaim his human condition

19. What emotion should the audience feel toward my character? Sympathy, hate, friendly?

20. In the beginning of the play, what do we discover about my character?
That he is alone, anonymous in the vast expense of universe

21. In the middle of the play, how does my character grow and change?
He makes powerful allies, transforms into a dark hero

22. At the end of the play, what will happen to my character?
He fails in his quest. The Wul denies him his reward.

23. What information about my character has been cut out of the piece for IE performance?
His past

24. How can I add the elements of that information in my performance?
To what purpose ?

25. How important is my character to the action of the play as a whole?
Central, although he is most of the time an object, tossed around by the events, this remains Lone Sloane's story and his alone.

26. When does my character help the plot along and how?
On several occasions, by destroying the Black God, Shonga the Pirate King, Torkevador the Sorcerer, Zann, etc

27. What is the most important element to my character: family, love, or career?
He has none of those considerations, he is only driven by his will to find earth, and his will to survive.

28. How old is my character?  What major historical events have they lived through?
Unknown. No personal history.

29. Does my character have children?  How does (s)he feel about them?

30. Is my character manipulating or being manipulated by anyone?
Hard to tell, he seems to be the instrument of the Gods, but also to know as much as they do, which makes him their equal.

31. Does my character have a hidden agenda or a deep secret?
Yes, I believe he does. Since the first voyage, Sloane seems to be animated by his resolve to settle accounts while accomplishing his quest for Earth. I think that he understands the difficulty and the tribulations of such a dangerous periple as that which he is embarking on.

32. Who are they hiding this from?  Another character?  The audience?
Everyone. No one knows, safe for the Gods whose will it is that Sloane accomplishes his periple and theirs, even if he is to fail at the end.

33. How strong are my character’s emotions in this piece?  Pure hatred?  Mild lust?
Strong emotions, divine anger.

34. What is my character’s greatest fear?
Hard to say... He doesnt seem to fear anything...

35. What is my character’s greatest accomplishment?
Finding Earth

36. What is my character’s motivation in each unit of the piece?  Does it coincide with or conflict with other character’s motivations in those units?
Cf voyages and semiotics.

37. Does my character have their wants achieved at the end of the play?
No his quest fails, his reward is denied to him.

38. If not, will my character ever have those wants achieved?

39. What person or fictional character does my character most remind me of?
There is no precedent

40. Who are the characters greatest antagonists

The Black God, Kaos
Shonga the Pirate king
Koll the robot
His negative self, captured by Torkedara Varenkor
His equipage who refuse to submit
Shaan the sorcerer

41. If I met my character, how would I react to them?

I am Lone Sloane

  My horses,   Savage, Avenger, Satan, Devastador, Anihila, Chaos, Ceasar, Attila, Severine, Rex, Invictus, Invicta, Azrael, Devilish, Devilisha, Dominator, Monica, Azazel

By Dr Nicole Everaert Desmedt, semiologist

The story of Lone Sloane unfolds in six voyages : each of theses voyages forms a whole, constitutes a narrative and is at the same time part of a global narrative that streches over the six voyages. We have therefore analized separately each of the six voyages, and then as an ensemble. We will not expose here all of the analytical process to spare the reader a fastidious reading without any new methodological input. But it seemed interesting to us to report the results we have reached in our study.

Druillet's album had intrigued us due to the feeling of unease that emanated from it. That sensation was undoubtedly provoqued by the drawn universe : fantastic universe, agressive, insane. But the cause of this unease wasnt it also due to the structure of the narrative ? And foremost was there a real narrative in the six voyages of Lone Sloane ? We have asked ourselves this question since some had declared having read this album with a lot of interest, but without finding a story. They where as they said in the presence of a succession of descriptions.

Results of the analysis :

1. At the beginning of the first voyage, Lone Sloane is represented drifting in space. We would learn further on (voyage 5 p8) that he is searching for Earth, that he wants to reclaim : that is his principal NP (narrative program) (NP+1) But his NP+1 is interrupted by the presence of the NP of an anti subject The damned priests. They want to recreate the black God (that is their base NP : NP-1) using Sloane (use of usual NP's : first capturing Sloane then putting him in contact with the Black God... ). Sloane is taken as an object by the NP of the anti subject (case N3 of the anti subject) but he acquires, due to the intervention of the King Gods (adjuvant) competency (knowledge and power : he has to pronounce at a determine time a magical word) necessary to realize a program opposed to that of the anti subject, thus allowing him to carry on with his NP+1 that has been interrupted.

We realize that the narrative doesnt develop the NP of its subject, it tells the NP of the anti subject; if the subject acts, it is only in response to the NP of the anti subject : we are in the presence of a victim hero, who has to save himself, who hasnt got the initiative of operations, who is manipulated (image different than that of the traditional hero)

The same structure (NP+1 interrupted, Sloane taken as object, who finally succeeds in saving himself, due to the death of the anti subject, and able to retake his NP+1) is found in voyages 2, 3, and 4.

Each time then, the hero starts from nothing, and constitutes himself during the episode.

2. The 5th voyage starts in the same manner (NP+1 interrupted, Sloane taken as object), but rather then flee, Sloane imposes himself as subject and takes possession of the crew of 'Sidarta' To measure all the significance of the last strip of voyage 5, one has to refer himself to the usual structure of folklorical narratives : after a qualifying test (during which the hero acquires or manifests competency) we witness the principal challenge (accomplishment of the performance, conjunction of the subject with the object of his quest) that is followed by a glorifying apothesis (where the hero is recognized as such, where his performance is evaluated)
But here, we can consider that Sloane goes through 5 qualifying tests that structure him as a subject, then by the gloryfying apothesis (page 8 of voyage 5 shows Sloane sitting on a throne, in a kind of medaillon; the leaders of the crew are at his feets;) he evaluates his performance, considering that his quest of Earth is accomplished :

"Thanks to the Gods, I have rediscovered the location of the real Earth, the ancient one, goal of my research. It is waiting for us."

Although, the principal challenge didnt take place yet (Sloane has not yet taken possession of Earth). Much more, when it takes place in voyage 6, it will be a failure (Wul doesnt want to give Earth back to Sloane.) The structure of the narrative is therefore deceiving : qualyfying tests, gloryfying apothesis but failure of the principal challenge. Thus an impression of absurdity, a feeling of unease.

3. Unease as well because the narrative is not closed. Generally after an innitial equilibrium, the narrative manifests a state of desequilibrium, to transfom into a new equilibrium. Here we can imagine an initial equilibrium : Men lived on earth. The narrative exposes a situation of desequilibrium : men float in space. We are waiting for a return to equilibrium : for Sloane to retake possession of Earth, however, this does not happen...

4. Unease again because during the five first voyages, Sloane appears in the 'camp' of good, against the forces of evil; but at the end, Sloane is rejected in the camp of evil.

During the five first voyages, the semiotic square put in evidence the following journey :

But in the 6th voyage, the values are inverted.

Conclusion :

It is now possible to answer the innitial questions :

A. The six voyages of Lone Sloane do constitute a narrative : It is the quest of Lone Sloane for Earth, a quest that is at first contradicted by several anti subject, only to fail at the end.

B. That narrative is deceptive on several levels :

1. Victim hero

2. Failure of the principal challenge while the gloryfying apothesis has already taken place

3. No return to equilibrium

4. Reversal during the sixth voyage of all the values that triomphed during the first five.

The analysis has permitted us to explain the feeling of unease perceived while reading, and also shows that the originality of PH. Druillet doesnt limit itself to graphism.

Update : Jan 2012

I am now the proud owner of The Six Voyages of Lone Sloane, Drugstore editions ! Is my quest for Sloane over or just beginning, time will tell.

Thanks to Christian for taking the time to do this. In the end time is all we have.

     Friday 19th 2013 NE
     The diameter of this gate is 909 meters of what you count. There 999 gates in total.

It is also an army corp, their armor and weapons are made of some kind of alien bronze, red in color, thus the name, The Red Army. That bronze unlike any substance to known to man becomes harder as it is heated when exposed to fire or lasers and has proven so far to be indestructible.

When exposed to cold temperature the metal likewise conserves its strength and becomes harder as the cold increases. It has no breaking point that I know of, and extreme temperatures only add to its strength, however its is tensile to a certain extent with great efforts, the bow for example requires tremendous strength to operate.

How they succeeded in working this craft remains a mystery. Their era seems to have never went beyond the Bronze Age, most probably because the soil of their planet of origin contains no iron.

120 Millenias of Bronze Age, an awful lot of it. Perhaps, surely, the oldest civilisation in the universe.

The Red Army is undefeated since its creation, untold eons ago. Its armament is composed of both ancient and modern weapons.

The Red Army numbers 300 000 Trillion men under arms and 30 000 Million Officers. They dispose of 33 ships that carry all of the force, the lenght of which is the distance that separates Earth from the Moon. 238,900 mi or 384,400 km. Below is one of my ships. It is in proportion, its front is round and shaped like a bowl, as for its propulsion it is magnetic, the ships carry much lesser fuel. 

On the sides are its stabilizers, it can emit massive magnetical bursts that can fry anyones electronics while its navigation system and its inner hull are triply redundant and isolated from its outer shell. To better understand the ship you have to know that its core is solid bronze molded around the reactor, and that only its other parts, the structure that you can see around the core are inhabited. The cone that you can see forming on the back is the exhaust of a reactor, the vent is oval in shape and situated on the bowl on the front.

The representation of the stairs at the entrance is incorrect, they are quite steep indeed but praticable. It takes 3 months to make it to the top and are used during ritual mass ceremonies, once every era, or each 3652 years of what you count. 

The side bronze statues of the main chamber are on average 142 meters in height, or 456 feet, slightly more than the Great Pyramid of Giza, not including the base.  

As for the bronze Chimeras seen guarding the entrance to the main chamber, they are even greater and stand a 151 meters tall, 495 feet.  

When one approaches the work of Druillet, one has to be conscious of the inherent limitations of portraying such grandiose universes on the fixed and limited format that papers offers. For example on this last board that the true size of Sloane in comparison with the surroundings is actually a fraction what has been up on paper.

The vastness of Sloane universe is aggressively sheer in its size.

 Film and digital imagery will free us of these limitations, thus rendering the work of Druillet to its fullest and revealing an universe unforeseen on camera.

This is the adventure I would like to propose embarking on, one, if not the most otherworldly representation of an outer space yet unknown to most, except for those who discovered Druillet's arcane work in The Six Voyages and other adventures of Lone Sloane.

The Necromancer Kings ship is 1999 meters long, about 6550 feets. It is made of red bronze.

Phoenix. is one of Lone's wives. Her skin is bronze like and her eyes are fiery, her primal element is fire. When she becomes upset she sets fire on everything she sees...

The Phoenix is a spaceship. Below is Her Crown, necklace and an ornament she wears at shoulder height.

    Meeting Mystique for a woman is always surprising, she can become another you in seconds...
    She used to be a bounty hunter.

   Mystique As you always been, as I wanted you.