Grand Prix





2. ROSEMEYER! Mark Van Oppen

Picture books in Motor Sport’? Surely not. Yet this ‘graphic novel’ of motor racing, set in the 1930s, has real visual appeal. Whether or not you are grabbed by the rather thin plot, it’s set against a supremely accurate picture of the time, realised in an attractive, graphically bold style. Author/artist ‘Marvano’ knows his cars intimately: machinery is lovingly rendered, from Bimotore Alfa to Elly Beinhorn’s Taifun monoplane to the model VW on Hitler’s desk, the historical players are recognisable, and the settings are believable landscapes, from Berne to Brooklands, Masaryk to Montlhery. The history is correct, too, from the Tripoli lottery fix to Carraciola’s romances, backed by observations on Kristallnacht, Wannsee and Palestine. (The forthcoming Vo3 takes us into the war.)

And if the fiction element the tale of an English Mercedes driver who isn’t Seaman and some sisters who aren’t the Mitfords tangling with Nazi thuggery is little more than an excuse for a dramatised history of inter-war racing well, why not? To sceptics I’d contend that the graphic skill here is the equal of those collectable ’30s racing posters we all have at home, with a scale and a muted palette which bring to mind the mechanical fantasies of US artist Bruce McCall. An unexpected delight. In French only, so far a shame, but not an obstacle. GC Published by Dargaud, ISBN 978 2 5050 11279, €13.95 each