Last year, Fantagraphics began publishing new translations of the work of legendary French cartoonist Jacques Tardi—mostly recently, two installments of his long-running serial The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec have been tarted up and repackaged.
The first story in the two-part volume, "Pterror over Paris" (an improvement over the title's literal translation, "Adele and the Beast"), opens in 1911 in Paris' Museum of Natural History, as a fossilized egg begins to crack... Soon an eye appears, followed by the whole head of a pterodactyl—but when the baby dino tries to take flight, it promptly smacks into the glass of the display case. It's a gag that sets the tone for outrageously silly events to come, as the pterodactyl becomes the terror of the Paris night sky, prompting a citywide frenzy and rewards for its capture. The titular Adele is swept up in the dino-furor, though her own shadowy motivations involve a bank robbery, multiple murders, and a mysterious machine she's determined to get her hands on.
Adele Blanc-Sec is a sort of high-minded literary camp (the second story is a lizard-cult murder mystery featuring the barely disguised actors "Antoine Artaud" and "Clara Benhardt"), with elegant art, goofy penny-dreadful storylines, and a heroine who's far better at getting into trouble than getting out of it. Fantagraphics puts out some of the best-looking books around, and this beautifully colored series—which will eventually collect all of Tardi's Adele stories—is no exception.