Rated as ‘near perfection’ by French readers and critics, Régis Loisel’s Peter Pan is a sumptuous and, by all accounts, beautifully scripted bande dessinee prequel of J.M. Barrie’s story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Far from a cute Disney rendering of Peter’s early life, Loisel presents a dark, adult narrative that subjects the lad’s innocent flightiness to the trials and traumas of a Neverland whose underbelly is plagued by evil and ugliness. Clochette (Tinkerbell) is something of a scheming vamp and Hook is a decidedly troubled man, while Neverland has never been more forbidding… apparently.
Like so many examples of the best of bande dessinee, the collected edition of Loisel’s Peter Pan is currently only available in French. As someone who would happily trade his entire superhero collection for an English version of L’Aigle sans Orteils, it saddens me that we can count on one hand how few of these superb examples of the comic art have been translated, if only because the Yanks could learn a thing or two from them. But John Anderson, that adventurous man at Soaring Penguin Press, is sticking head and shoulders over the fiscal cliff to raise the £8,000 needed to translate and publish Loisel’s masterpiece. Please support the venture here, and tell every comics fan you know to join in and dig deep.