Sam Bronx and the Robots (1989) by Serge Clerc.
This is the second and final (after The Science Service) of the Acme/Eclipse experiment with a new format: Thin, smallish, duotone, hardback comics. While the first one seemed fit for the format, this one (originally done earlier in Belgium (I think?)) is very… slight:
It’s in Clerc’s very stylish but quite pared-down punk version of the clear line school originated by the Hergé and his studio.
There’s two stories in here: One’s sixteen pages and one’s eight pages, and you can basically read the entire book in four minutes. For a very, er, how to put it… “price conscious” (i.e., stingy) American 80s comics audience, I kinda would guess that many didn’t feel that this $7 comic was a “value” proposition.
I do enjoy Clerc’s artwork, of course. How can anybody possibly not? But the two stories are very basic: Both are basically jokes. The first story manages to get a paranoid feeling going where you think that things are more complicated than they seem (especially with the almost-repeating numbers and stuff), but in the end, these are basically goofs.
They’re not bad, but I can definitely see why there wasn’t a third volume in this series in the US.
The back cover explains that Clerc is even hip enough to be featured in the NME and Melody Maker.
I couldn’t find many people on the web talking about it, but there’s this:
These two brief stories appear to have been created a panel at a time, such is their meandering freshness, the discipline provided by restriction to two square panels a page. The wonder, however, is all in the art, as the plotting is slim and lacks engagement. That cartooning is brilliant, though. Clerc has a facility for designing oddities, and creates his strips enabling him to encompass whatever he feels like drawing.
Sounds about right.