Yragaël & Urm the Madman HC
Publisher: Titan Comics (Statix Press)
Release Date: September 5, 2018
Price: $34.99
Creator(s): Michael Demuth (writer), Philippe Druillet (artist)
Format: 80 pgs., Full-Color, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-7858-6421-6
Age Rating: Mature
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

For its intended audience, this is a brilliant reprint of a classic of French graphic literature for adults.  Originally published in 1972, the format was designed as much to cause the reader to spend hours looking at the artwork as it is simply something to read.  As a result, don’t expect the story to be as striking and impressive as the art.  Demuth is a very good writer, but telling a story that has Druillet as the artist is sort of like trying to write a narrative to go with a series of Van Gogh paintings mixed with 70s album covers.

That said, there will be readers who are not fond of his art style in terms of storytelling, but there will be others who are not normally readers of graphic novels who will want the book just to look at the artwork.  Druillet and his compatriots were very influential in the style used in things like Heavy Metal, and his adaptations of stories by fantasy writers like Michael Moorcock have set a high bar for other such artists.

Do not expect the story to make perfect sense, because madness is at its very heart.  One title character is a godlike humanoid, the other a deformed madman, but the story could not reach its resolution without both.  Readers will find themselves re-reading the first half over again, just to spend extra time with the oversized images in that mythic part of the story.  The second half, focusing more on Urm, is more "standard" in terms of comic illustration, and is a somewhat more straightforward story.  Think "Hunchback of Notre Dame" as written by Kafka, and you’d be close.

The book is intended for adults, due to style and contents, including nudity and a sort of cosmic sex scene.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.