Thursday, 4 February 2016
Charly 9 by Richard Guerineau Review
Charles IX was King of France from 1560 to his death in 1574 and is best remembered for the mass killing of Huguenot (French Protestants) leaders that became known as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572.
Richard Guerineau’s comics adaptation of Jean Teule’s novel begins just as Charles is being emotionally blackmailed by his bloodthirsty mother Catherine de’Medici into ordering the massacre and then follows his descent into madness as the guilt becomes unbearable. Also, the comic was crap!
Charles was a gentle soul who happened to become King and, being only 22, was easily coerced by his family and elder council into ordering the shocking atrocity. Fine, but it’s not interesting to read. Nor is the way he deals with the guilt by going hunting, whoring, and being a bad friend. He just wasn’t that fascinating a person - barely anything happens for the duration of the book!
I had no idea that he was 22 when he ordered the massacre and then died a year and a half later, shortly before his 24th birthday – I found that out by reading up on him after finishing the comic which shows you how uninformative the book is despite being based on actual history. I feel like knowing that would’ve had an impact on the reader than the nothing there was instead. It reads like he lived for years after and died an older man rather than passing away so quickly - but then the comic is so, so boring that it maybe just felt like years because it took me so damn long to slog through!
I appreciate that Guerineau put a lot of effort into the art and it’s quite pretty to look at but the script and story stinks. Charly 9 is my first Delcourt comic (a French publisher) and it hasn’t made me at all eager to rush out and try more of their catalogue.