Arriving ahead of the July premiere of "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," an exclusive comic will be released on Free Comic Book Day, May 6 -- though not officially a Diamond-sanctioned Free Comic Book Day release -- featuring one of the stories that inspired Luc Besson's sci-fi adventure. CBR has been provided with a sneak peek at the cover, and a letter from the filmmaker.
Announced by STXfilms, EuropaCorp and Cinebook, the 32-page free issue will contain a preview of "Valerian and Laureline: Ambassador of the Shadows," the 1975 comic by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières that inspired the film, along with behind-the-scenes content. The comic will be available Saturday, May 6; contact your local retailer as to availability.
Debuting in 1967, the French sci-fi series follows the adventures of spatio-temporal agents Valerian and Laureline, who traverse the universe through space and time, protecting the planets of the Terran Empire from temporal paradoxes created by rogue time travelers. Running for 43 years, the comic influenced generations of artists, writers and filmmakers, with aspects of "Valerian and Laureline" evident in works ranging from George Lucas' "Star Wars" to Besson's "The Fifth Element."
Besson, who appeared alongside Mézières in July at Comic-Con International, where he recalled reading "Valerian and Laureline" as a child. “At the time it was two pages every Wednesday in a magazine,” he told media outlets, including CBR. “You basically had to wait six months to read the entire album, and that’s it. In France at the time there were two channels, one in black and white, the other in color. The only way to escape between 10 and 12 years old was this kind of comic.” He credited “Valerian” with helping to develop his imagination and sense of beauty, saying, “It’s almost your main food when you’re 10 years old.”
Opening July 21, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as Valerian and Laureline, who embark on a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of species from every corner of the universe. While most of the city's 17 million inhabitants unite their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all, not everyone shares that objective: There are unseen forces at work, placing our race in danger.
Besson and DeHaan will appear for a Free Comic Book Day signing at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 6, from noon to 2 p.m.
"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" also stars Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, John Goodman, Herbie Hancock and Kris Wu.