While Alex Varenne’s drawing style is strong and graphic, the story-lines for his early erotic offerings leave much to be desired and veer towards conventional relationships and gratuitous sexism. Maybe that was more acceptable when Carré noir sur dames blanches appeared in 1984, but the sexual violence in Erotic Opera, where uncontrollable male urges appear to cross the boundary into rape, is right on the edge.

At least in the two narratives which bracket the volume, ‘Opera Boum’ and ‘Opera Rut’ (Boom Opera and Rutting Opera), the imaginative drawing just about redeems the plot. The naked statues in front of the famous Palais Garnier in Paris’s Place de l’Opéra come to life and assist the desperate human protagonist in finding sexual satisfaction – before reminding him that they are only statues.

Erotic Opera was published by Albin Michel in their L’Echo des Savanes series.