Store - Exhibition - Magnum Song


Jonathan Foolishbury is the twenty-year-old creation of artist Jean-Claude Claeys, a private detective and Marlon Brando look-alike. Following Whisky's Dream, the album Magnum Song, first published in the monthly magazine (À Suivre) in 1981, continues the adventures of Foolishbury.

Using and adapting images from his personal files, and largely thanks to his gift for composition and his technique of constantly juxtaposing light and dark, Claeys succeeds in creating a violent and sombre mood in his albums that is characteristic of American films noirs and romans noirs of the first half of the 20th century.

This realism is exaggerated in Magnum Song by Claeys's decision to give the protagonists of his story the faces of well-known Hollywood actors.

The alert reader will already have noted the appearance of Marilyn Monroe in plate 45, but it is the characters bearing the features of famous actors such as Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood that emphasise the roman noir connection. These familiar faces are brought forcefully up against the feverish atmosphere of Jean-Claude Claeys's storyline, with its focus on corruption, organised crime, seedy politicians and above all women, central characters in Jean-Claude Claeys's work, whose invariable beauty is completely at odds with the terrible things they are capable of doing.

Claeys gave his own definition of his work in a fictionalised autobiography entitled Les lieux du mystère: Jean-Claude Claeys is a specialist in the representation of violent death, organised crime and delinquency raised to the level of an art form. And when he simply draws a pretty woman, his readers start looking for a maniac hiding behind a crumbling wall or a threadbare Chesterfield. Here's a little selection from his industry of death.