The Palace of Champions
Afterword and interview by Mathieu Beauséjour
Translation by Peter Dubé
9×14 inches, 64 pages
full colour, hardcover, $25
Henriette Valium has been called the greatest French-Canadian cartoonist of all time. He’s one of underground comic’s elder statesmen. Over the past three decades his creations have been widely dispersed in numerous anthologies, fanzines, self-published oversized silkscreened comics, and various mixed-media collaborations. He’s become a regular in almost every independent zine, compilation and catalogue in North America and Europe. Yet he has never had an original graphic novel published in English, until now!
The heavy black lines and psychotic detailing of
Valium’s comics demand attention, weeding out any casual readers. His style is like the bastard love child of S. Clay Wilson and Derf Backderf as raised by French avant-garde collective Le Dernier Cri.
In his peculiar way, Valium explores decay, as in the rotting urban environments he obsessively renders, and his fascination with the various corruptions of the human body and mind, our illness and madness. His comics rant on subjects like “Science” or “Crisis,” horrifically, sometimes nonsensically, often hilariously exposing our culture’s fears and hypocrisies.
The Palace of Champions is a historical document, finally bringing to light this underground legend. It includes an introduction and interview to give context for Valium’s long career and expansive body of work.