From shenanigans by shipowners in the service of the US Navy during WWII, to competition for the launch of the first supertankers. Against the backdrop of the Monegasque jet set and FBI investigations, discover the tumultuous history of two of the greatest Greek shipowners of the last century: Aristotle Onassis and Stavos Niarchos. Jean-Claude Bartoll takes us into this tragedy which, behind the rhinestones of social life, tears the fate of two sisters separated by competition from their husbands.
"A Greek Tragedy" picks up the story of Livanos, the largest shipowner of the 1940's and the rise of the young wolves of this Greek diaspora established in the United States to do business in sea freight. Madly in love with Livanos's youngest, and anxious to inherit part of the cargo "godfather" fleet, Stavos Niarchos asks for Tina's hand. But the imposing tradition of marrying the eldest before the youngest, Stravos Niarchos only gets Eugenie's hand. Aristotle Onassis, meanwhile, hastens to marry Tina in order to inherit part of the powerful Livanos family. Ambitious and unscrupulous, the two brothers-in-law will lead a merciless fight for the status of the largest shipowner (buybacks of old US Navy ships, the first supertankers projects, etc.) and display this competition to everyone (boats of luxurious cruises adorned with works of art, social evenings in Monaco, accumulation of mistresses…).
For once, the Grand Angle editions know how to immerse us in an unexpected world, at first glance not necessarily attractive, but which turns out to be fascinating in the end! This is the art of the writers, and in particular Jean-Claude Bartoll for the series in question. Indeed, the world of shipowners and the Greek diaspora of the second half of the 20th century does not appear to be fascinating in itself. And yet ... Bartoll invites us to follow four particular destinies, that of two brothers-in-law caught up in the infernal cycle of excessive competition, and that of the two sisters crushed by this
pulls them away from each other, and each from their husbands, pushing them to a fatal and inevitable threshold. But this (mis) human adventure does not remain confined to the microcosm of the Greek diaspora, the social life of the two couples makes us meet some of the great figures of this time, at least those frequenting the Rock: Agakhan Giovanni, Maria Callas , Greta Garbo, Winston Churchill and of course Prince Rainier and Grasse Kelly who have made a lasting impression on Monaco and will truly make it the rallying point of the global jet set. Moreover, Onassis is not at all in this romance between the Prince and the American actress, he who models from scratch this aura in the principality to multiply the profits of the Société des Bains de Mer, of which he is a shareholder ...
With “A Greek Tragedy” it is therefore a human adventure that we follow, made of hatred, passion and heartbreak, but also the history of the structuring of oil transport and that of the installation of a global jet set. which begins to recognize itself as such and to create common meeting places, a process captured by a principality which could hardly have shone otherwise.
Viviane Nicaise in the drawing and Madie Zombi in the color offer realistic boards which, although moderately detailed, are perfectly convincing and immersive.
One might regret, as a site specializing in the transmission of history, the absence of a documentary corpus devoted to this environment of shipowners and to biographies, however brief, of the main characters encountered. On this point, the Wide Angle Editions are not regular, some series offering this bridge from comics to history, others not. Nevertheless, the comic is accompanied by a photo reportage reprinted, that is to say an A2 size page mainly resuming the tumultuous history of the two couples Tina / Aristote Onassis and Eugenie / Stavros Niarchos. The reader will find there a precious complement of information that the comics could not take the time to delve into.
In the end, "A Greek Tragedy" is a successful and gripping comic strip on an unexpected and previously unseen theme in comics (to our knowledge). A theme that combines particular destiny and major post-World War II economic and social changes. All perfectly scripted and supported by quality drawing and coloring for a convincing result. A beautiful comic on the margins of history that Éditions Grand Angle took the trouble to complete with a separate print, an initiative that we will always welcome (separate print or documentary corpus at the end of the comic) and which we hope will make school in the middle of the editors.
- Two sisters
Screenplay: Jean-Claude Bartoll
Drawing: Viviane Nicaise
Colors: Madie Zombi
Editions: Wide Angle