Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Comics
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
by Blutch, translated from the French by Edward Gauvin
The man known as Blutch is one of the giants of contemporary comics, and Peplum may be his masterpiece: a grand, strange dream of ancient Rome. At the edge of the empire, a gang of bandits discovers the body of a beautiful woman in a cave; she is encased in ice but may still be alive. One of the bandits, bearing a stolen name and with the frozen maiden in tow, makes his way toward Rome—seeking power, or maybe just survival, as the world unravels.
Thrilling and hallucinatory, vast in scope yet unnervingly intimate, Peplum weaves together threads from Shakespeare and the Satyricon along with Blutch’s own distinctive vision. His hypnotic storytelling and stark, gorgeous art pull us into one of the great works of graphic literature, translated into English for the first time.
This NYRC edition features new English hand-lettering and is an oversized paperback with French flaps and extra-thick paper.
Click to enlarge images
Blutch . . . conjures a whole world—bodies have heft, clothes texture, shadows depth, and visages the mileage of years. With simple, elegant lines, Blutch composes scenes as striking as they are refined, and what at points becomes nightmare for its characters never ceases to be a dream for readers.
—Shea Hennum, The AV Club’s '25 Best Comics of the 2010s'
Famous in his native France and nearly unknown here, the cartoonist who goes by Blutch (real name: Christian Hincker) has a magnificently expressive line, so bold and ragged that it often looks as if he’s snapped his brush in half and is mashing its splintered end into the drawing board.
—Douglas Wolk, The New York Times Book Review
Blutch’s art is truly exquisite, rendering battles, orgies, and conversations in dense, inky lines akin to Mattotti, but completely his own and completely haunting. . . . The book requires rereading to grasp the scope of storytelling and linework, which is effortless enough to make the greatest American cartoonists jealous.
Peplum challenges and confounds with its unorthodox story and brutalist graphical style . . . Blutch's line work compels the use of physical descriptors: it seizes, forces, clutches and crams.
—Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
Blutch works in scratchy black: his lines are elemental and start and his frames hefty . . . His story, too, has an epic quality . . . Haunting and ambiguous, this is a brutal tale not only of endurance, betrayal and mistaken love, but also of a realm whose centre can no longer hold.
—Rachel Cooke, The Observer (UK)
Blutch . . . slings ink with lusty and furious brio, sketching out a quest that's part myth, part nightmare and part sorrowful romance.
—Sean Rogers, The Globe and Mail
Blutch's chiaroscuro style is breathtaking.
—Robert Boyd, The Comics Journal
This book isn’t so much a book as a procession of images to be beheld, a sensual spectacle to be felt. It’s the fervour and rush, seething and surging off Blutch’s pages, which leaves the most savage impression.
—Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly
Blutch is a master. No other cartoonist renders with such casual virtuosity. It’s long overdue for his books to be translated into English.
One of our greatest artists.
In the hands of the amazing Mr. Hincker (who uses the pseudonym Blutch), a simple pencil takes on the qualities of a magic wand.
—The New York Times
One of the greatest living cartoonists (and if you don’t think Blutch fits this bill you really, really need to read more Blutch).
—The Comics Reporter
One of the most important European cartoonists of the past 20 years.