Barbarella (comics)

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This article is about the comic book. For other uses, see Barbarella.
Barbarella le Semble-Lune (1977), published by Pierre Horay. Cover art by Jean-Claude Forest.
Character information
Created by Jean-Claude Forest
In-story information
Full name Barbarella
Formats Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) V-Magazine, Evergreen Review and Heavy Metal and a set of graphic novels.
Publication date 1962 – 1964
Creative team
Writer(s) Jean-Claude Forest
Artist(s) Jean-Claude Forest
Creator(s) Jean-Claude Forest
The series has been reprinted, at least in part, in English.

Barbarella is a fictional heroine in a French science fiction comic book created by Jean-Claude Forest.


Jean-Claude Forest created the character of Barbarella for serialization in the French magazine V-Magazine in spring 1962, and in 1964 Eric Losfeld later published these strips as a stand-alone book, titled simply, Barbarella. The stand-alone version caused a scandal and became known as the first "adult" (pornographic) comic-book (despite its eroticism being slight, and the Tijuana bibles predating Barbarella by several years). Although published by a traditional company, the book anticipated the sexual revolution of mid-Twentieth Century, Western Civilization. For her creator, the character embodied the modern, emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation. As a result, this literary work has come to be associated with the sexual revolution. The struggle for sexual freedom in comic books was most prominently conducted in France through emancipated female characters like Barbarella (1962), Jodelle (1966), Pravda (1967), Scarlet Dream (1981), Saga de Xam (1967), Wolinski's Paulette (1971). Works in this trend outside France include Phoebe Zeit-Geist (1965) and Vampirella (1969) in the USA; Modesty Blaise (1963) in the UK; and, Valentina (1965) and Angiolini's Isabella (1966) in Italy.[1]


  • Barbarella: A young woman who travels from planet to planet and has numerous adventures, often involving sex. The aliens she meets often seduce her, and she also experiments with a "machine excessive" or "orgasmotron". Roger Vadim directed a 1968 film adaptation that starred Jane Fonda.
  • Duran: A one-eyed old man who helps Barbarella.
  • Pygar: A blind 'angel' guided by Barbarella, he is the last of the ornithanthropes (bird-men).
  • La Reine noire (The Black Queen): A villainess who reigns in the town of Sogo, surrounded by a maze, on the planet Lythion.
  • Lio: A brown-haired teenage girl saved by Barbarella who must save the town governed by her father in Les Colères du mange-minutes. (The chanteuse Lio drew her stage name from this character.)
  • Mado: Female prostitute robot (gynoïde), whose "breakdown" Barbarella repairs.
  • Narval: An "aiguiote" (aquatic man) who comes from Citerne IV to complete his scientific research in Les Colères du mange-minutes.
  • L'artiste: A self-portrait of Jean-Claude Forest. Named Browningwell in Semble Lune, he and Barbarella have a child together.


  • Barbarella (originally serialized in V-Magazine, 1962; book by Eric Losfeld, 1964)
  • Les Colères du Mange-Minutes [The Wrath of the Minute Eater] (Kesselring, 1974)
  • Le Semble-Lune [The False Moon] (Horay, 1977, ISBN 2-7058-0045-X)
  • Le Miroir aux Tempêtes [The Storm Mirror] (Albin Michel, 1982) (art by Daniel Billon, ISBN 2-226-01441-1)[2]

The stories have been reprinted by Dargaud and Les Humanoïdes Associés.

Barbarella also guest-stars in Mystérieuse, Matin, Midi et Soir [Mysterious, Morning, Noon And Evening] (originally serialized in Pif, 1971; book edition by Serg, 1972)

Barbarella was translated into English by Richard Seaver and published in the Evergreen Review (#37-39, 1965–1966) and Heavy Metal (vol. 1 #11 through vol. 2 #3, 1978).

Popular culture[edit]

1980s pop band Duran Duran takes its name from a character in the 1968 film Barbarella: Barbarella's mission in the film is to find a scientist named Durand Durand (pronounced "Duran Duran").[3]




External links[edit]