This article has been contributed by the following authors:
Sébastien Laffage-Cosnier
Christian Vivier
Noemi García-Arjona

The French comic motorsports driver Michel Vaillant, created by Jean Graton, first appeared in 1957 in the weekly Tintin. Young French boys that loved sports adventure and cars racing greeted this publication with great enthusiasm. We studied the first series of Michel Vaillant, composed of 16 comic books produced in the 1960s, from No. 1, The Great Challenge (1959), to No. 16, Km 357, released in 1969. By revisiting traditional approaches of analysis of sport history, our method is based on the sources analysis of the author’s inspiration, linking them to text bubbles, visual signs and iconic meanings of the comic drawings. The analysis of the comic book iconography based on the establishment of a mass culture dedicated to the automobile brings to light the existence of an urge to go beyond the limits of tradition. The conclusions of this research aim to explain the success of Michel Vaillant that reflects a detailed knowledge of the automobile sports industry, but also a reflection of modern myths like speed, youth and progress. This comic book is shown as shaping the domestic an international sports cars industry and a future in which young male people could be reflected.

The talk is presented by Noemi Garcia-Arjona.