Perspectives on Cinema and Comics

Adapting Feature Films into French-Language Comics Serials during the Post-war Years

in European Comic Art
Alain BoillatUniversite de Lausanne

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This article focuses on the relatively little-known editorial context of children’s French-language comics serials at a time when they constituted the main distribution channel of the bande dessinée medium (before the album became the dominant format), from the immediate post-war years to the mid-1950s. I examine the importance given to the adaptation of films into bande dessinée by studying the editorial strategy to which this practice of adaptation contributes (focusing on the magazine L’Intrépide [The dare-devil], which, at the time, specialised in adaptation) and the narrative and figurative aspects of the adapters’ approaches. I show in particular how bandes dessinées are inscribed in genres that structure the periodical publications, where these were previously established in the cinematographic domain such as the swashbuckler and the western. The processes of condensation or amplification of the narrative, as well as the use of the feuilleton, are at the centre of the case studies.

Contributor Notes

Alain Boillat is a professor in the Section d’histoire et esthétique du cinéma at the University of Lausanne and dean of the Faculté des lettres. His teaching, publications and research interests focus on scriptwriting practices, the theorisation of the importance of voice (and, more broadly, orality) in audiovisual media, early cinema, the history of comic art, the links between film and comic art, and, more generally, questions of narration and fiction in media texts. Part of his research is within the framework of the Groupe d’étude sur la bande dessinée (GrEBD), which he founded in February 2014 ( He is the author of more than sixty articles and several theoretical monographs, most recently two co-edited books about the history of comic books: BD-US: Les comics en Europe and Case, strip, action! Les Feuilletons en bandes dessinées dans les magazines pour la jeunesse (1946–1959).

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