First look: The Illegalists

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illegalists01One thing we wish we had more of on Crime Fiction Lover is graphic novels. So we were really pleased to hear from writer Stefan Vogel when he got in touch with news about The Illegalists, a new graphic novel he’s putting together with artist Attila Futaki and co-author Laura Pierce.

Set in Paris in 1911, the book is based on the real-life exploits of the The Bonnot Gang. They weren’t just criminals, there was a political angle to their misdeeds. Led by Jules Bonnot and Jean Dubois (pictured above), they were fed up with being exploited by capitalists, working 12 hour days and still never having enough money to get by. (It sounds a lot like the plight of Britain’s low-paid workers today.) Along with their colleagues, they started off by organising strikes, became anti-establishment anarchists, and then slid into the void just beyond the realm of politics when they became illegalists. In other words, they stole to get by.

Here are some panels from early in the story…

Panel 1: Here we meet Jules Bonnot who is a low-paid, overworked mechanic. He’s destitute, though he works hard he can’t provide for his family. “Attila’s life-like artwork is jaw-droppingly beautiful and his realistic style perfectly matches the real-life subject matter of The Illegalists,” says writer Stefan Vogel.

Panel 2: He meets Jean Dubois and begins attending meetings where the workers organise strikes. “Colourist Greg Guilhaumond’s gritty undertones of colour really capture the underlying moods, his lighting and shadows are brilliant and his colours spill emotion into the panels like sombre blues or violent reds,” adds Vogel.

Panel 3: They’re talking about a revolution.

Panel 4: However, the police burst in and begin attacking the workers.

Panel 5: Jules takes a beating to enable Dubois to escape, and is arrested. This hardens his attitude towards the capitalist state, and also draws him into the criminal world.

The story is based on a real-life gang and Vogel and his team are telling it across a graphic novel that will be the equivalent of four US comic books in length. They’re self-funding the project as well as raising funds via Kickstarter in order to publish it.

Check out the video below and if you like it, why not pitch in and guarantee your own hardback copy for £10 when it’s printed. Click here to visit the Kickstarter page.

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