The French science fantasy comic series Valerian and Laureline was first published in 1967 in Pilote magazine. It is about the adventures of a spatio-temporal agent with dark hair and his redheaded female colleague. The series had influences of classic literary science fiction and was a mix of time-travel and space opera plots.
In the world of comics and pop culture of Europe, this was a landmark comic series. It also had an influence on other media such as science fiction films. They included The Fifth Element and Star Wars.
About the main characters
Valerian travels with Laureline through space and time in the universe. He is from the 28th century born on planet Earth in Galaxity. It is the capital of the Terran Galactic Empire. In the year 2713, he joins the Spatio-Temporal Service. A classical hero, Valerian is strong, kind, and brave.
His training leads him to think that Galaxity is always right. As a result, he follows his superiors’ orders even if they’re against his morals. He does show some reluctance while following these orders. Although the name ‘Valerian’ has a Latin origin, it is believed to have come from Eastern Europe.
This character was created more as a reaction to the popular comic book characters of those times. They were mostly fearless boy-scouts or American superheroes.
Laureline has a unique sex appeal that combines determination, superior intelligence, and independence. She is a strong French peasant girl from the 11th century. In the debut release Bad Dreams, she rescues her colleague Valerian from the Arelaune forest. However, he is forced to bring Laureline back to Galaxity with him. This happens after she discovers accidentally that he is a time-traveler.
During her time in Galaxity, she receives the Spatio-Temporal Agent training. Upon the completion of this training, she becomes the partner of Valerian. She usually sat in the background in the early stories while Valerian saved the day. With the progress of the series, her position changed. Her rebellious nature came to the fore in Welcome to Alflolol.
3. Mr Albert
Mr Albert is a retired gentleman living in the suburbs of Paris. He is the contact of Galaxity on the 20th-century Earth. Mr Albert has many contacts in the scientific as well as government circles. He also maintains contacts with several individuals whose expertise lie outside the mainstream fields. Mr Albert uses his carrier pigeons for sending messages to some of his contacts.
Always preferring to take his time to act on certain things, he is quite unlike Valerian. He doesn’t get involved in the thick of the action and likes to enjoy the finer things of life. Some of these things are fine wines and gourmet cuisine. Mr Albert first made his appearance in the volume titled Metro Chatelet, Direction Cassiopeia.
4. The Shingouz
These short-furred, brown creatures are aliens. They resemble the flightless birds, but have snouts instead of beaks. Shingouz have a preference for strong alcoholic beverages owing to their high degree of alcohol tolerance. They belong to an extremely capitalist society and always seek a profit from everything they do.
Valerian and Laureline strike up a relationship with three Shingouz. These three alien creatures are especially fond of Laureline. She uses this for her own benefit and strikes some favorable deals with them. The Shingouz made their first appearance in Ambassador of the Shadows.