Barbarella (character)

Barbarella is a fictional heroine in a French science fiction comic book created by Jean-Claude Forest.

Barbarella: Le Semble-Lune (1977) published by Pierre Horay; cover art by Jean-Claude Forest
Character information
Created byJean-Claude Forest
In-story information
Full nameBarbarella
V Magazine
Evergreen Review #37-39
Heavy Metal (vol. 1) #11 - (vol. 2) #3
FormatsOriginal material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) V Magazine, Evergreen Review and Heavy Metal and a set of graphic novels.
Publication date1962 1964
Creative team
Writer(s)Jean-Claude Forest
Artist(s)Jean-Claude Forest
The series has been reprinted, at least in part, in English.


Jean-Claude Forest created the character of Barbarella for serialization in the French V Magazine in spring 1962, and in 1964 Éric Losfeld published these strips as a stand-alone book titled Barbarella. The book caused a scandal and became known as the first "adult" (pornographic) comic book, though its eroticism was slight and the American erotic comic books known as "Tijuana bibles" had long predated it. For her creator, the character embodied the modern, emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation, and as a result, this literary work has come to be associated with the mid-20th century sexual revolution.

Barbarella was relaunched as an ongoing series by American publisher Dynamite Entertainment in December 2017.[1]


  • Barbarella: a young woman who travels from planet to planet and has numerous adventures, often involving sex. The aliens she meets often seduce her, and she also experiments with a "machine excessive" or "orgasmatron"..
  • Professor Ping: a one-eyed old man who helps Barbarella.
  • Pygar: a blind 'angel' guided by Barbarella, he is the last of the ornithanthropes (bird-men).
  • La Reine noire (The Black Queen): a villainess who reigns in the town of Sogo, surrounded by a maze, on the planet Lythion.
  • Lio: a brown-haired teenage girl saved by Barbarella who must save the town governed by her father in Les Colères du mange-minutes (the chanteuse Lio drew her stage name from this character).
  • Mado: a sex worker fembot whose "breakdown" Barbarella repairs.
  • Narval: an "aiguiote" (aquatic man) who comes from Citerne IV to complete his scientific research in Les Colères du mange-minutes.
  • L'artiste: a self-portrait of Jean-Claude Forest. Named Browningwell in Semble Lune, he and Barbarella have a child together.


  • Barbarella (originally serialized in V Magazine, 1962; book by Éric Losfeld, 1964)
  • Les Colères du Mange-Minutes [The Wrath of the Minute Eater] (Kesselring, 1974)
  • Le Semble-Lune [The False Moon] (Horay, 1977, ISBN 2-7058-0045-X)
  • Le Miroir aux Tempêtes [The Storm Mirror] (Albin Michel, 1982, art by Daniel Billon, ISBN 2-226-01441-1)[2]

The stories have been reprinted by Dargaud and Les Humanoïdes Associés.

Barbarella also guest-stars in Mystérieuse, Matin, Midi et Soir [Mysterious, Morning, Noon And Evening] (originally serialized in Pif, 1971; book edition by Serg, 1972)

Barbarella was translated into English by Richard Seaver and published in Evergreen Review #37-39 (1965–1966) and Heavy Metal (vol. 1) #11 through (vol. 2) #3 (1978). An updated adaptation of Book 1 is being released by Humanoids Publishing[3] on September 24; this new adaptation has been done by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Book 2 will see its first English adaptation in January 2015 by Kelly Sue DeConnick from Humanoids as well.


In popular culture

  • 1980s British pop band Duran Duran takes its name from a character in the 1968 film Barbarella: Barbarella's mission in the film is to find a scientist named Durand Durand (pronounced "Duran Duran").[8] In addition, the band's first single from 1997's Medazzaland is entitled "Electric Barbarella."
  • Belgian pop singer and actress Lio took this stage name from a character in the Barbarella comic books.
  • American rock band Clutch (band) details a meet-up between the singer and Barbarella in which a Motel 6 is destroyed, among other exploits, in their song In Walks Barbarella.
  • Scott Weiland's only single from his debut album 12 Bar Blues (album) is titled Barbarella (song) as an homage to the iconic character.


  1. [Page at publisher's website]
  2. MAGNERON, Philippe. "Barbarella - BD, informations, cotes".
  3. "Barbarella - Coffee Table Book (Limited)".
  4. Andreeva, Niellie (29 January 2013). "James Bond Writers Neal Purvis And Robert Wade To Pen Gaumont's 'Barbarella' Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. Yuan, Jada (24 May 2014). "Only God Forgives Director Nicolas Winding Refn on Getting Booed at Cannes". Retrieved 18 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. "Dynamite® Barbarella #1". Retrieved 1 April 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. "NYCC: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT TO PRODUCE NEW COMICS STARRING SCIENCE FICTION'S ORIGINAL HEROINE, BARBARELLA!". October 4, 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. Akbar, Arifa (2 December 2012). "Barbarella, the queen of cult sci-fi, is reborn for the 21st century". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)