The story of Lieutenant Blueberry is a staple of Franco-Belgian graphic fiction. And it’s easy to see why.
Discover the adventures of Lieutenant Mike Blueberry. Join him as he travels through the Wild West after the American Civil War.
Blueberry isn’t your typical Western yarn. Mike Blueberry isn’t an outlaw in search of redemption. Neither is he a handsome cowboy/lawman who rides into town to save the day.
He’s a guy with a broken nose and mysterious past who does what he thinks is right. He’s a man with his own principals.
A Southern boy who fought for the Union. A rouge in uniform who isn’t shy to play tough with those who prey on others.
Read on, this is another must read graphic novel…
This one is special. A great European series that has only been partially published in English. It’s also no longer in print.
Every now and then review great graphic novels that are not easy to find but are very collectible!
A Blueberry in the South-West
Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl starts off in the sun drenched lands of Arizona in 1867.
Blueberry is on solo patrol. Having been transferred back to his original Cavalry post at Fort Navajo. He runs across a lone rider being pursued by a Mexican army unit lead by the blusterous General Vigo. Blueberry intervenes.
After staring down El Commandante. And enforcing the finer points of US/Mexican border security with his trusty rifle. Mike rides off to intercept the fugitive.
Unfortunately, the fugitive panics and ends up falling down a canyon. Darn…
Investigating the crops. Blueberry finds a letter addressed to the President of the United States.
Being a good soldier and sensible man, Blueberry does the only reasonable thing. He makes it his commanding officer problem!
Only thing is that Mike has no idea what sort of trouble Washington will bring down on his head…
Soon General McPherson, Chief Military Advisor to the President, shows up undercover.
Mike Blueberry has a theory, any officer over the rank of Lieutenant is a total jerk. The higher they rank, the worse it gets.
He’s quickly proven right!
Looks like the letter contains a plea for help from an ex-Confederate soldier stuck in a Mexican jail. The former Rebel is offering an interesting deal.
Half a million dollars in gold in return for his freedom!
Could this be the missing Confederate States treasury?! Jeff Davis, the Confederate leader, fled Richmond the night before it fell to the Union. He took the treasure with him. When he was captured a little later the money was gone.
Turns out that he sent the gold (much) further south. One of his most trusted lieutenants hid it. With instructions to use it on the day that the South would rise again -armed and equipped by this treasure.
Uncle Sam wants to get his hands on the gold, to avoid a new civil war!
Guess who just got volunteered to do Uncle Sam’s dirty work?
Maybe a certain Cavalry Lieutenant who is a Southerner but loyal to the Union? Maybe somebody who can speak Spanish and knows the terrain of Northern Mexico?
Needless to say Blueberry isn’t thrilled!
Especially when it turns out that McPherson’s ‘discreet’ plan involves Mike’s dishonorable discharge.
Trouble and Treasure South of the Border
Blueberry is off to Mexico. Picking up his trusty friends, the old drunken prospector McClure and ex-scout Red Wooley.
Things get heated, with McPherson putting a price on Mike’s head (wanted alive) as part of his cover.
Mike comes to the attention of a gang of ex-Confederate soldiers gone bandit.
And then there are ‘General’ Vigo and the sinister Mexican provisional governor Colonel Lopez.
Everything comes to a head in the town of Chihuahua.
The Mexicans want the gold. The (ex?) Confederate Rebels want the gold. And Uncle Sam will not let Blueberry rest until Washington gets the gold!
Who is Blueberry’s mysterious Southern Bell contact, the ‘Chihuahua Pearl’, really working for?
How do you bust a man you’ve never seen out of a Mexican slave labor prison?
Will Mike survive Colonel Lopez’s jealousy over the affections of Chihuahua Pearl?
You have to read Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl to find out!
Spaghetti Westerns and Border Security
Blueberry is an exciting Western adventure with themes that still (unintentionally) resonate today.
Border security. US/Mexico relations. Conflict and instability in Northern Mexico. Uncle Sam playing cloak and dagger games down south.
You can’t make this stuff up!
In the same way that the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ of Sergio Leone and Co. defined the Wild West for millions of people around the world. So has the Blueberry saga marked the popular imagination of West in Europe.
I find it fascinating that some of the most enduring images of the Old West in Europe don’t come from America. Instead we have Karl May (novels) in Germany. Sergio Leone (film) in Italy, And Charlier & Moebius (graphic novel) in France.
The Art & Writing of Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl
Jean-Michel Charlier & Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud are an awesome creative team. They take a genre that has turned into pulp fiction and create an exciting and complex story out of it.
Weaving history, geography and folklore together into a rich and exciting tale.
This graphic novel by two Frenchmen may actually become the archetype of the Wild West in my mind…
The artwork in Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl is amazing! Moebius is one of the greatest artists that the Franco-Belgian tradition has ever produce. He is absolutely dedicated to gritty realistic characters and detailed backgrounds.
He makes use of light and shadows in ways that many Franco-Belgian illustrators do not. And it’s gorgeous!
Moebius is in a truly in league of his own!!
Now here’s the tough part, how to get your hands on a copy of this great English language intro to the Blueberry Saga.
Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl isn’t the first installment in the series.
It’s actually album 13 and 14 of the original Blueberry series.
This particular edition was translated for Epic Comics. Epic which was an imprint under Marvel Comics, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The imprint is long gone and the comic is out of print now.
You best bet for getting a copy for yourself is either through Amazon.
Be warned: Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl is a true collector’s piece. It will cost you to get a copy! The price tag attached to owning this graphic novel isn’t for everybody.
Especially if you want to get yourself a ‘mint’ condition ‘new’ copy.
But it’s an investment well worth the money! The Blueberry saga complement any serious graphic novel collection and provides great entertainment.
It’s also a niche collectible that is likely to continue to appreciate.
PS: If you like cowboys, treasure hunts and danger click here to get Blueberry 1: Chihuahua Pearl in paperback today! It’s an awesome graphic novel collectible and a unique European take on the Western genre.