James Cook. Vol. 1: L’appel du Pacifique. Laurent-Frédéric Bollée. 2020

James Cook. Vol. 1: L’appel du Pacifique. Laurent-Frédéric Bollée. 2020

Bollée, Laurent-Frédéric
(Cartoonist: Federico Nardo). 
James Cook.  Vol. 1: L’appel du Pacifique [The call of the Pacific]. 
Éditions Glénat. 
ISBN 978-2-344-03684-6. 
58 pages, all in colour.


In comic book format this first volume about James Cook’s life retraces in a simplified way the steps that led from his childhood to his first circumnavigation of the world, and then, finally, to his appointment by the Admiralty to take command of the Second Voyage.  The pages touch on his family life, and the progress of his career from his early days in merchant ships in the service of the Walker brothers.  A useful addition is the historical record at the end of the book.


The paper used is of very good quality, the drawings are of a high standard, and so is the text that faithfully accompanies them.  The 240 × 320mm hardback cover is beautifully illustrated.  I enjoyed that I found I could read the book by using only the illustrations.


This comic book is obviously not fictional, but it is a little confusing to follow due to the insertion of some pages relating to the Third Voyage arrival at the Sandwich Islands, departure, and return to Kealakekua Bay, before Cook’s early life as a shop-boy in Sanderson’s store at Staithes.  An historical account should really be narrated in the correct sequence of events, making it easier for a layman to understand the story. 


Whilst reading the book I noted an important misspelling,1 and a factual error.2  This book is mainly intended for a young readers, who are likely to find it interesting, though a little confusing to read. 


Despite the quite innovative presentation of the story, members of the Captain Cook Society will find this book is a mere curiosity.


Alain Maline



  1. Page 32. The name on the stern of Cook’s ship appears as “Endevour”.It is not only the wrong spelling, but should not be there, as names did not appear on ships of the Royal Navy until 1772.
  2. Page 17. It is incorrect to say “English ships, including Cook, pounded the French navy” at Louisbourg.The bombardment was carried out virtually 100% by the British army on land, especially from Lighthouse Point.The Royal Navy mostly blockaded the harbour to prevent reinforcement and any attempts to retreat. (Personal correspondence from John Robson.)

    Originally published in Cook's Log, page 42, volume 44, number 1 (2021).

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