NK - [Article] Barbarella creator dies at 68

Bethor2000 at aol.com Bethor2000 at aol.com
Sat Jan 2 03:35:39 PST 1999


 Jean-Claude Forest, creator of Barbarella, dies at 68
 8.01 a.m. ET (1302 GMT) December 31, 1998

 By Christopher Burns, Associated Press

 PARIS (AP) — Jean-Claude Forest, who created the sultry sci-fi comic strip
 character Barbarella and designed sets for the '60s cult movie that
starred Jane Fonda, has died, his publisher said today. He was 68. 

 "Barbarella'' went on to inspire fashion designers, the '80s pop group Duran
 Duran, who chose their name from a character in the film, and a string of
comic strip heroines leading up to today's cyber-babe Lara Croft. 

 Forest died of a respiratory illness at a hospital outside Paris on
Wednesday, said Helen Werle, spokeswoman for Editions Dargaud. Funeral
arrangements were pending. 

 It was in April 1962 that Forest, after success with the youthful adventure
 strip "Bicot,'' created the seductive 41st century adventuress "to amuse

 She first appeared that year in "V Magazine'' as a futuristic barbarian,
 androids on the planet Lythion. 

 The series, published in other languages, was censored in France, barred from
 advertising or sale to minors until the early 1970s. 

 Barbarella tested the limits of French censorship, Guy Vidal, director of
comic strips at Dargaud, said in a telephone interview. "There have been those
 helped unlock censorship. Forest was one of them.'' 

 It wasn't until producer Dino de Laurentiis bought the film rights to
Barbarella that the character gained world fame and helped ignite Jane Fonda's
movie career. 

 Directed by Roger Vadim, the movie was released in June 1968, right after the
 May '68 social upheaval in France that reflected the revolt against
 French morality. 

 Forest designed most of the sets for the production, which was shot in Rome. 

 Film critic Leonard Maltin has described "Barbarella'' as "a midnight movie
 favorite ... not especially funny, but watchable, with Fonda's striptease
during opening credits the principal reason for its cult status.'' 

 Fonda's shiny, form-fitting space-age outfits stirred the imaginations of
 Barbarella-style get-ups, created by French fashion badboy Jean-Paul
 accented last year's film "The Fifth Element,'' with Bruce Willis and Milla

 Born Sept. 11, 1930, Forest sketched his first comic strip as a 19-year-old
 student at art school, titled "La Fleche noire,'' or "The Black Arrow.'' 

 He began his career with "Le vaisseau hante,'' or "The Haunted Ship,''
published by Elan. In 1950, he became illustrator for such publications as "Le
livre de
 poche,'' "Voila,'' "Fiction'' and "Les nouvelles litteraires.'' 

 Forest's last Barbarella episode was published in 1981. 

 After years of censorship, the French government rehabilitated Forest,
having him represent the country's comic strip artists abroad beginning in

 Forest was honored in 1984 with the Grand Prize of Angouleme, site of an
annual comic strip festival. He received the 1986 prize from another comic
festival in Sierre, Switzerland, for his lifetime work. 

 Forest is survived by his wife Petra, a sculptor who lives in Paris, and a
son, Julien, 28. 

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