Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Luminae by Bengal

I find it very difficult to write articles about artists I admire. Mostly due to the fear of becoming a gushy fangirl and having my article reduced to a pile of unreadable rambles. I can't guarantee that's not going to happen whenever I try to write about someone like Moebius. Subsequently, I can't guarantee it's not going to happen when I attempt to write about the work of the French artist Bengal.

For many people living in North America, purchasing his work wasn't always easy to achieve. Until recently with the printed releases from Magnetic Press, you were lucky if you could grab a variant cover from DC or Marvel (which btw you will be able to grab when the Bengal Variant cover for Batgirl #37 comes out this month). Magnetic Press has been bringing North American fans Bengal's work for a few years now with the releases of Meka, Naja (Bengal & J.D. Morvan) and now Luminae.

Luminae is the first graphic novel which takes place in a unique universe both written and illustrated by Bengal. It centers around a group of six warrior women who have formed a sisterhood to protect Luminae. She's a being of pure light doomed to be expunged from the planet by the powers of darkness. The six women must save her from this fate. The world has an almost medieval quality to it but the costumes and weaponry live in the realm of the fantastic... so do the monsters!

The entire book is beautiful from the binding (available as a deluxe hardcover) to the artwork on the pages. Bengal's illustrations suck you into a new world with the same crisp and precise beauty he's known for. Combined with unique action angles and perspectives, his work feels as thought it may lift right off the page. The movement makes my head spin.

Bengal is often applauded for seamlessly bringing Asian and European artistic styles together. You may find yourself assuming that you are watching a high budget Japanese anime rather than reading a book. Sometimes when I remember pieces of Luminae I find myself remembering them as if they were not panels but animated scenes. That's the action and movement I'm talking about.

Whether you are a old or new fan, or perhaps you've never heard of Bengal, Luminae should be on your pull list. It is currently available from Magnetic Press online with a limited edition slip case. For my Halifax friends trying to source the book locally, you can find Magnetic Press books at Strange Adventures Comics and Curiosities.