It’s been a while since we saw Gab Babgrag!

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

As a lover, and indeed purveyor, of weird sci-fi, the trailer for Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets leaves me cold – and it’s not just the utter lack of chemistry between the two leads. It ostensibly should be a great high-concept premise, but it’s one that only sounds good; just try and explain the actual premise to someone, without simply saying the title. There’s nothing there beyond an interesting arrangement of words. I actually read some of the comics – in the original French, nonetheless! – back in high school, and I enjoyed them for what they were. I can understand why they were so influential on the sci-fi that was then to come. They were no Métal Hurlant, but they were good.

The final panel is also a reference to the running gag of children outdoing Robert in various fields – I can’t find the strips to link to them here, because I can’t remember what they were called. But Robert has been previously frustrated by Irish teenagers inventing… something I don’t remember, and also by a five-year-old passing a Microsoft Certified Professional test.