Weird Islands – A Journey Through The Art Nouveau Fantasy World Of Belgian Artist Jean de Bosschère – 1921

We're off on a bizarre adventure to other realms in this early graphic novel

Mad Art Nouveau fantasy illustrations by the Belgian artist, Jean de Bosschère (5 July 1878 – 17 January 1953) , from his 1921 book, ‘Weird Islands’. The monstrous and macabre creatures drawn in hard-edged black ink are reminiscent of English illustrator and author Aubrey Beardsley’s (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898) work.

He developed a fascination with the occult, the spiritual, the obscure and the sexual. He gave himself the nickname “Satan” and “l’Obscure”, which formed the title of Satan l’Obscure (1933), his second autobiographical novel after Marthe et l’Enragé.



Weird Islands is an adventure story. ‘I heard this fantastic story for the first time on a summer evening, and I wish to share at once the pleasure that it gave me with others, of all ages and of all tastes,” de Bosschère writes in the book’s forward. There is little text in the book, with the author telling us, his readers, that the story is bet told through drawings. “When one of the people met a strange animal, or the Silent Island, or the Island of Long Women, or cannibals, or the building Cyclops, I have made drawings of these things and these creatures instead of giving a long description of them.’

This is an early graphic novel, then. The story begins with a Carpenter in London. He spots a red light as he walks along, moves close to investigate and fins himself in a room with a band of odd fellows about to embark on a voyage. He decides to go with them…


Jean de Bosschère

Jean de Bosschère Jean de Bosschère




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