Serge Lehman & Gess have already delighted us with La Brigade chimérique. Here they are again with a free adaptation of L'Homme truqué (The Phony Man) by Maurice Renard, a key author in the history of conjectural literature both in fiction and non-fiction.

Published by L'Atalante in its collection Flambant 9, L'Homme truqué in part takes up the world of La Brigade chimérique again with the end of the First World War, the Radium Institute,... there's no doubt it's going to be a good story... We can but hope that the multiple allusions in graphic books (whether it be Lehman, Nolane, Lofficier and the rest) made to old novels concerning conjectural literature will rekindle people's interest in a domain often overshadowed by its little sister across the pond...


Some books are unexpectedly good. This is the case with L'Homme Truqué, freely adapted from the work of Maurice Renard (1921).

L'Homme Truqué is a thrilling story, very good serial-reading entertainment. You really should read this book by Lehman and Gess; Moreover I'm sure that, if you haven't already done so, you will want to read (again) the La Brigade Chimérique series.

But meanwhile, start L'Homme Truqué!

Berthold, Scé

Set in a uchronic Paris this superhero story manipulates suspense and adventure in a lively fashion, enhanced by a particular graphic style which has become inseparable from this series.

An excellent album.

Le blog bobd

In freely adapting Maurice Renard's eponymous novel, Serge Lehman revisits not only a part of popular literature, but also renders homage to the genre (comic books, serial novels, pulp magazines). In contrast with current production which offers politically correct narratives, L'Homme Truqué is a science fiction story, where the truth is not always the right thing to divulge (the real nature of the phony man, the Nyctalope's philosophy). The author introduces a troubling atmosphere, not far from reality (publications, characters, real events) which questions the reader and if they are curious, will make them look for answers. The characters have strong personalities. We will enter into discussion with the Nyctalope, the gentleman-avenger, we'll shiver with fear with Jean Lebris, and we'll praise the tenacity of Marie Curie...

To illustrate this story, Gess is particularly inspired. The editor defines him as the person who creates the images. Nothing is more exact. With his own special style, Gess perfectly transcribes the characters, attitudes and décor. His expertise in colouring enhances the fantasy atmosphere of the story. As for his vision of the phony man, it is just as real as it is monstrous. When we talk of image, it is perhaps a question of graphics, but also of photography. In this narrative that renders homage to serial novels, Gess illustrates in his own way the two art forms.

Hervé, Temps des livres

The adaptation of Maurice Renard's eponymous novel, or rather its rereading through the prism of the Brigade Chimériques, is a real delight. Serge Lehman takes the character of lieutenant Jean Lebris and makes him one of the cogs in a scenario that is continually intriguing and captivating. The exploitation of the historical context is carried out judiciously. As in the parent series, the chapter division respects the serial novel aspect of the book and beats out an appreciable rhythm in this totally convincing one shot ... all the while giving Gess the opportunity of creating elegant flyleaves inspired from newspaper front pages of the era. His graphics are yet again remarkable, both in his extremely fluid narration and in the care with detail over the decor and the super scientific objects that pepper the story, giving the whole thing density and credibility.

Les Sentiers de l'Imaginaire

L'Homme Truqué is brilliant for those who loved both the original novel (which it revisits very respectfully) and the related world developed in La Brigade chimérique.

The graphic part of L'Homme Truqué is totally riveting - and I really mean that...

With its excellent story and superb graphics L'Homme Truqué is an absolute success, because in addition to the pleasure of reading such a good graphic book, there is that of finding oneself in a familiar world - yet different, because of the time difference (we are present at the beginning of the age of European supermen). Here the Nyctalope is still young and handsome - and a lot nicer than in La Brigade chimérique. Seeing Marie Curie in action is also very enjoyable. If we add that the Brigade chimérique itself makes a notable appearance and you will understand that fans of the original work are thrilled by this album - which is in the end disappointing in only one respect: it's too short and makes us want even more chimeric adventures. (...)


This is how legends are born and how the "Hyperworld" universe is becoming a reference in the genre!

Like La Brigade chimérique, this album brilliantly shows how there is both a light and a dark side to every superhero!

S. Salin, BDGest'

After the unexpected success of La Brigade chimérique, Gess and Serge Lehman return to the origins of the organisation and to the sources of the Hyperworld in freely adapting Maurice Renard's eponymous novel, published just after the First World War. An interesting pitch - a man disfigured facially, operated on by mad scientists, awakes to find himself endowed with electroscopic vision and proceeds to terrorise Paris - is the pretext for provoking thought on the ambiguous status of a hero, an archetype condemned to a twilight world, the symbolism of the divine monster, but also the role of science - "progress or scourge?", "prophet or threat?", "wonderful science" - and its use. Using the codes of a serial novel and mixing them in a comic book vein, Lehman once again moves between homage and autonomous fiction, casting a sidelong glance at Alan Moore and his celebrated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The ambiguous characters are depicted in great depth and the scenario asks the right questions. Intelligent, bold and entertaining, L'Homme Truqué is the indispensable complement to the parent series La Brigade Chimérique and other Masqué books. All the more so because Serge Lehman has since loosened up his writing style and gained in narrative force by targeting the essential. His intentions are all the clearer.

Lively, detailed, spectacular and varied illustration, a cleverly solid plot, we need nothing more to be absolutely convinced about the quality of this richly fascinating "radiumpunk world, and this duo of authors. Here's hoping there will be a sequel...

Olivier Hervé, Planète BD

If you liked La Brigade Chimérique, here is the "radiumpunk" world of the series once again in this new album which takes place in the same fictional world.
A coherent world with an amazing amount of references, endless mise-en-abyme and an intelligent mix of historical characters and leading heroes of popular literature of the early 20th century, the universe of La Brigade Chimérique can be compared to that of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, created by Alan Moore. A must for lovers of the genre.

Yves, Buveurs d'encre

Glory, Halleluiah! The Gess-Lehman duo, that we thought had been put on stand-by when La Brigade Chimérique finished, is back. Luckily we were wrong. That makes it even more exciting!

This quite clever story hangs together through its judicious mix of profound mystery and pure action.

Le Parisien

Published at March 17, 2014