Pyrénée is Wild at Heart
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P YRÉNÉE is a 64-page French-language graphic novel (bande déssinée) by Regis Loisel and Philippe Sternis (Editions Vents d’Ouest, 1998, ISBN 2-8696-7519-4). There is also a German-language edition called Pyrenea (Egmont Ehapa, ISBN 3770414748), and a Dutch edition entitled Pyrenee (Farao-Talent ISBN 90-5289-2407).

The French edition can be ordered from Amazon France.
The German edition can be ordered from Amazon Deutschland.


Pyrénée statuette
Some views of the statuette:
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six

When a huge earthquake devastates a town in the French Pyrénées, a bear escapes from a circus in the confusion and later finds a small girl whose mother has been killed in the quake. The bear rescues the girl (and her teddy bear!) and raises her as his own cub like a female Mowgli, high in the inaccessible mountains, naming her “Pyrénée” after them. (I gather that a ‘pyrénée’ is also a type of wild spirit or fairy, which makes her name doubly appropriate, although it’s also the name of a breed of dog, which certainly isn’t!) Later on she also learns wisdom from a blind old eagle, and eventually - like Mowgli - has to try to make her way back to human society.

Unlike most comic versions of The Jungle Books, Pyrénée features actual nudity, although of course it’s perfectly innocent. Like Mowgli before he encounters humans, Pyrénée simply doesn’t know what clothes are (although in the depths of midwinter she does briefly wear a fur coat and boots that the eagle has found). European publishers certainly don’t seem to have a problem with the comic’s nudity. There was even a limited edition statuette of the naked girl and the bear (above left). But somehow I can’t see Pyrénée ever being published in America, “The Land of the Free”, with all its paranoid censorship. It’s a pity, because, nudity aside, it looks like a good story, and I for one wish I could read it in English rather than having to rely on my sketchy knowledge of French....

Pyrénée Links and Artwork

Because the book has never appeared in English, I believe this may be the ONLY English-language webpage about Pyrénée. For those of you who can read other languages, I’ve found a few interviews and essays relating to the story. There are also lots of thumbnails linking to sample pages, bookplates and original sketches.

Sample Pages
Page 7: Pyrénée and the Bear discuss the meaning of namesPage 9: Pyrénée picks flowers and the Bear asks whyPage 13: Pyrénée learns that foraging for honey may not be as easy as it  looksPage 23: Pyrénée finds an unusual object in the riverPage 44: The Eagle is annoyed when Pyrénée fails to catch a rabbit
Page 7: Pyrénée and the Bear discuss the meaning of names
Page 9: Pyrénée picks flowers and the Bear asks why
Page 13: Pyrénée learns that foraging for honey may not be as easy as it  looks
Page 23: Pyrénée finds an unusual object in the river
Page 44: The Eagle is annoyed when Pyrénée fails to catch a rabbit

Articles (various languages) Philippe Sternis | Interview with Philippe Sternis | Another interview with Philippe Sternis | Critique | A brief critique (bottom of page) | L’enfant Sauvage (first article on page) | Dutch and French covers | German critique | German article: Kleine nackte Mädchen

Collector Sketches
Some drawn, as you’ll notice, on the flyleaf of the book

Pyrénée sketch - genericPyrénée and eagle sketch - OlivierPyrénée and bears sketch - Hervé (RV?)Pyrénée and bear sketch - Magali, Lucas et AubertPyrénée sketch - CedricPyrénée and eagle sketch - IvanPyrénée and bear back sketch - Maggy et Marc
Pyrénée on the rocks |  Pyrénée and the eagle greet Oliver | Pyrénée and Nousnous say “Cou cou” to Hervé (R. V.?) | Pyrénée and the bear greet Magali, Lucas and Aubert | Pyrénée says “Cou cou”to Cedric | Pyrénée and the eagle greet Ivan | Pyrénée and the bear turn their backs to Maggy and Marc

Pyrénée and bear sketch - Muriel et JérômePyrénée and Nousnous sketch - HélenePyrénée and bear sketch - PierrePyrénée sketch - AlainPyrénée and bear sketch - AlexandrePyrénée and bear sketch - DominiquePyrénée and bear sketch - Tchoul
Pyrénée and the bear turn their fronts to Muriel and Jérôme | Pyrénée picks flowers for Hélene, and Nousnous says “Yoohoo” | Pyrénée and the bear say “Cou cou”to Pierre | Pyrénée says “Cou cou”to Alain | Pyrénée and the bear greet Alexandre | Pyrénée says “Cou cou” to Dominique | Pyrénée says “Cou cou” to Tchoul

Pyrénée and bear sketch - LaurensPyrénée and nousnous sketch - ChristophePyrénée and bear sketch - Sylvie et ChristophePyrénée and nousnous sketch - Eric
Pyrénée and an annoyed bear, for Laurens | Pyrénée and Nousnous greet Christophe | Pyrénée and the bear greet Sylvie and (a different?) Christophe | Pyrénée and Nousnous say Bonjour to Eric

Preliminary sketches
Preliminary versions of artwork from the second half of the book

Pyrénée and the eagle overindulge in tinned foodPyrénée finally catches a salmonPyrénée gives the eagle some stickPyrénée taunts the eagle
Pyrénée and the eagle overindulge in tinned food | Pyrénée finally catches a salmon | Pyrénée gives the eagle some stick | Pyrénée taunts the eagle

These scenes depict typical events in Pyrénée’s life, including several that are not actually in the comic.

Pyrénée hugs the bearStormy times for Pyrénée and the bearPyrénée and friends in AutumnPyrénée greets the eagle but the bear doesn't seem pleased to see himPyrénée and the bear hang out beneath an overhangPyrénée and the bear out walking
Pyrénée hugs the bear | Stormy times for Pyrénée and the bear | Pyrénée and friends in Autumn | Pyrénée greets the eagle but the bear doesn’t seem pleased to see him | Pyrénée and the bear hang out beneath an overhang | Pyrénée and the bear out walking

Pyrénée and the bear aren't out of the woods yetPyrénée and friends at the riverPyrénée tests the waterPyrénée takes a shower - 1Pyrénée takes a shower - 2Pyrénée takes a shower - 3
Pyrénée and the bear aren’t out of the woods yet | Pyrénée and friends at the river | Pyrénée tests the water | Pyrénée takes a shower - 1 | Pyrénée takes a shower - 2 | Pyrénée takes a shower - 3

Pyrénée and the Bear on the top of the worldPyrénée and the Bear take in the rugged sceneryPyrénée and the Bear crossing a streamPyrénée with all of her animal friends by the riverPyrénée and the bear relaxingPyrénée and the bear - hide and seek
Pyrénée and the bear on the top of the world | Pyrénée and the bear take in the rugged scenery | Pyrénée and the bear crossing a stream | Pyrénée with all of her animal friends by the river | Pyrénée and the bear relaxing | Pyrénée and the bear - hide and seek...

Publicity artwork:
Pyrénée with clothes...

Wearing clothes is definitely not typical for Pyrénée
(although she makes these outfits work).

Pyrénée (clothed) and the bear go boatingPyrénée (clothed) running with Aesop's harePyrénée (clothed) playing basketball with various children's animal charactersPyrénée (clothed) climbing with Aesop's(?) foxPyrénée (clothed) and the bear, rowing, discover a balance problem (and who's the swimmer?Pyrénée (clothed) in a montage of Sternis motifsPyrénée (clothed) rough sketch - possibly a preliminary for an unfinished sequel
Pyrénée (clothed) and the bear go boating | Pyrénée (clothed) running with Aesop’s hare | Pyrénée (clothed) playing basketball with various children’s animal characters | Pyrénée (clothed) climbing with Aesop’s(?) fox | Pyrénée (clothed) and the bear, rowing, discover a balance problem (and who's the swimmer?) | Pyrénée (clothed) in a montage of Sternis motifs
Pyrénée (clothed) rough sketch - possibly a preliminary for an unfinished sequel

...and without
Despite these occasional attempts to become a fashion victim
I like to think that Pyrénée will always be a nature girl at heart.

Wine label: Pyrénée the wine goddessCuvée de la Grande Ourse (I think that's a pun)Pyrénée and a monkey from another comic swinging on a vinePyrénée watches the bear and the eagle reading a magazineThe bear brings Pyrénée some cats (not to eat?)Poster girlPyrénée and the bear have their cake and eat it
Wine label: Pyrénée the wine goddess
Cuvée de la Grande Ourse (I think that’s a pun!!!) | Pyrénée and a monkey from another comic, swinging on a vine | Pyrénée watches  the bear and the eagle reading a magazine | The bear brings Pyrénée some cats (not to eat?) | Poster girl | Pyrénée and the bear have their cake and eat it

Pyrénée and the bear in reflective mood... and who's that with them?!Pyrénée and friends stroll right into townPyrénée and the bear - bubbly!Pyrénée and the bear reading a comicPyrénée nd friends receive a signPyrénée in the Ice AgePyrénée meets My Neighbor Totoro
Pyrénée and the bear in reflective mood... and who’s that with them?! | Pyrénée and friends stroll right into town | Pyrénée and the bear - bubbly! | Pyrénée and the bear reading a comic | Pyrénée and friends receive a sign | Pyrénée in the Ice Age!
Pyrénée meets My Neighbor Totoro

And finally...
Pyrénée and the bear... and friend!
This image appeared on a Carl Barks tribute site (although the site navigation makes it very hard to find from the homepage), and I’m only posting an external link to the original here. Why? Because although it’s clearly intended as a light-hearted and respectful tribute to a great comic artist, it also depicts an iconic cartoon character alongside a nude girl. Aside from the obvious potential for misunderstanding, Disney have very powerful lawyers. So... I didn’t post it here, and if it does get taken down from the other site it’s gone for good. Sorry.

Pyrénée Fan Art | Kipling and Ketrin and Mowgli and Me | Even More Wildness

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