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Caza talks 'Arkadi and The Lost Titan' as a new English translation launches

Comic Books

Caza talks ‘Arkadi and The Lost Titan’ as a new English translation launches

The special edition book is part of a soon-to-be completed Kickstarter campaign.

This year, French artist Caza celebrates 35 years of his groundbreaking graphic novel Arkadi and The Lost Titan. (Well, book one of Arkadi, but who’s counting?!) In celebration, a Kickstarter has been launched by Humanoids to fund Arkadi‘s first-ever English translation.

If you’re not aware of this rather vital and potent book, Arkadi and The Lost Titan is often compared with celebrated sci-fi OGNs like The Incal and The Metabarons. The book, which spans a prequel and nine separate “tomes” released over 20 years, follows a young human called Arkadi on a very different Earth. (It’s the year 10,000, and mankind lives in a domed city and are cared for by cyborgs — that’s still a drastic simplification.)

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When he reaches adulthood — called the “Age of Purification” — Arkadi embarks on a series of challenges that will ultimately see him “rebel against the established order and discover his true power.” While it’s very much like those more “established” books, Arkadi and The Lost Titan is a novel and poignant exploration of destiny, change, and the power of youth and ideas.

The book, which has been restored in painstaking manner, has a number of incentives and other goodies attached to its Kickstarter. That includes cloth bookmarks, various prints, and special versions that come in a deluxe slipcase. Head here for more details about the incentives, the restoration process, and other valuable info.

The Kickstarter for Arkadi and The Lost Titan has long since reached its campaign goal, with $184,303 pledged out of an original $5,000 goal. (If you’d like to contribute regardless as the campaign reaches its final days, head here.) Either way, you can check out our brief interview with Caza below, where he discusses the book’s anniversary, why the English translation is so important, and Arkadi‘s true purpose and messaging, among other topics and tidbits.

Caza talks 'Arkadi and The Lost Titan' as a new English translation launches

Courtesy of Humanoids.

AIPT: How do you feel about this book after 35 years? Has that opinion changed at all over all time? 

Caza: Do I have an opinion about my work? After all, that’s not my role, it’s that of readers and critics. What I did was to create this saga the best I could as I went along, with the means at my disposal at the time… I followed my outline and completed the story pretty much as I’d imagined it at first. Of course, what I’ve noticed (but already knew) is that I’ve evolved a lot in my art style and storytelling techniques over the years. My skillset adapted quite a bit over the 20 years I’ve been making these pages. But I think, in the end, it all came together… I’ve stayed the course and finally brought all the threads of my weaving together.

AIPT: Why was it so important to translate this book into English — do you think it changes the story at all? (Is it important to you that this book be translated into English?)

Caza: It’s always important to reach new territories, in other words, new readers, another language, another culture. And since I’ve always had a lot of American influences, those of great masters like Frank Frazetta, Jack Kirby, or John Buscema, it’s a bit of a “return to sender,” a way of paying tribute to them. Thank you, America!

Arkadi

Courtesy of Humanoids.

AIPT: Is the book more timely and relevant now than maybe ever before? (Is the book more relevant today than it may ever have been?)

Caza: In some ways, yes, without a doubt. The vision of a society closed in on itself, the city of Dis and its “elected officials” plugged into their dream-screens — at first it might have evoked television and its couch-potato, but now we can see it as the Internet everywhere and the invasion of generative AIs. And then there’s the degraded state of the world, the origins of which are in the past (i.e. now), the limitless technological madness and the remedies that are often worse than the cause itself, the perverse effects of progress that we discover every day… In a way, it was already a fable and a warning…and it remains so.

AIPT: How do you feel when people compare this to The Incal and The Metabarons?

Caza: I’m not much for comparisons, but the neighborhood is apt: great science fiction series created by my contemporaries in the Humanoids family! I feel I’m in good company, especially with my pal Mœbius.

Arkadi

Courtesy of Humanoids.

AIPT: Do you have a favorite moment or page that you were happy to revisit here? (Do you have a favorite scene or page that you were happy to see again here?)

Caza: As I follow the restoration and re-edition process very closely, I review everything, and in detail. I’m more self-critical than self-congratulatory, but I do find happy moments, especially moments of discovery, when I see myself doing something I didn’t know how to do, a priori…things that perhaps I wouldn’t know how to do now: intimate scenes as well as action sequences.

In this sense, chapter seven (“Le Château d’Antarc” in the French version), remains my favorite, partly because I was restarting the series after a few years’ hiatus, and partly because I had new tools at my disposal (such as computers). A quantum leap! The evolution of my line, the settings, the costumes…and the famous superheroine fight between Pan-Dra and her clone.

AIPT: What is Arkadi ultimately about, and what do you hope people take away when reading it?

Caza: Wow! It’s about so many things! First, I hope, a good adventure story, of course, in a world rich in images and situations. But a world in which the degraded state of the planet is not just a backdrop, but an issue. A world in mortal danger, both climatically and ecologically. The watermark or conclusion is the long-term consequences of our actions, a collective guilt: in Arkadi, there isn’t really a “bad guy” to take down, just the consequences of our inconsistencies. (Am I a moralist?) But, in response, I suggest that metamorphoses are possible, always possible, for individuals as well as for societies and the world. How human beings, a priori modest, even “twisted”, who set out, confront difficulties, and ultimately “save the world.” Isn’t that the role of heroes, even hybrid mutants who may even be a little monstrous?

The following images are courtesy of Humanoids.

Caza talks 'Arkadi and The Lost Titan' as a new English translation launches Caza talks 'Arkadi and The Lost Titan' as a new English translation launches Caza talks 'Arkadi and The Lost Titan' as a new English translation launches

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