Jean-Claude Forest created the character of Barbarella for serialization in the French magazine V-Magazine in spring 1962, and in 1964Eric 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.
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.)
A Barbarella TV series is in development with writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, and Martha De Laurentiis, widow of the film's producer Dino De Laurentiis, are all involved. In May 2013, Refn said to Vulture that they're still writing and are going back to the original comics. As of May 2013, no one has been cast for the series yet.