Don’t read this. I only did it because I thought it might be fun. Don’t even look at it unless you thought about doing it but couldn’t be bothered, or wished somebody else had done it. (Probably somebody has, and better.) On the other hand, it may be of some help if you want to think about The Airtight Garage (or to recall reading it) without actually looking at it.

     It’s also possible to imagine it might awaken an interest in rereading Giraud’s work, if you remember it fondly. Alternatively, it may answer to some level of curiosity if you’ve never read the Garage, or never got the hang of it, or even if it’s not to your taste and you’re determined never to read it. This superficial anatomization of Jean Giraud’s mischievous continuity has therefore a manifold potential utility.

     At the same time, it’s no substitute for reading the Garage if you should wish to; and the critical value of this alphabeticized abstract is quite limited. Even as a reference, it’s by no means comprehensive. Michael Moorcock and Patti Smith get a mention, if not an entry. Princess Leia doesn’t even get a mention. Nor Captain America, nor Charlie Chaplin, nor Mickey Mouse, etcetera. And there’s no point looking here for an explanation of details like the word “Alexis” that appears on Grubert’s shoulder in episode 19, which was the name of an illustrator of bandes-dessinées who had recently died just short of his thirty-first birthday. Nor does it catalogue the occasions on which Giraud playfully used photographic references in constructing his images.

     Entries are keyed primarily to the English translation of 1987, by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, but there are several allusions to the earlier translation in Heavy Metal; and the original French (both as it appeared in Metal Hurlant, and in its subsequent reprinting in book form) is kept always in view. At the risk of confusing readers, Jerry Cornelius—whose name was changed in the 1987 version to Lewis Carnelian—shall here be referred to (mostly) by his original name. Entries are referred to the installments (of which there were thirty-six) by number. (For the sake of clarity, since only a handful were actually numbered, a brief indication of what they contain is supplied as an appendix.)

     The further adventures of Major Grubert (or Gruber, as he was later called) fall outwith the remit of this modest enterprise, though both L’Homme du Ciguri and Le Chasseur Déprime—as well as Inside Moebius and Le Major—are given an entry. I have maintained, however, a principled and thorough ignorance of both the Elsewhere Prince and the Onyx Overlord.





Airplane of Destiny (7)


Seen first in 7, where it drops a bomb ahead of the splendid steam-powered train, near the Square of the May-pole Leaf. Referred to as A MYSTERIOUS AIRPLANE in 8. Seen in transit in 10. Identified as THE AIRPLANE OF DESTINY  (L’AEROPLANE DU DESTiN) in 22, where it reappears. Its pilot (identified, posthumously, as Torpeniczel Chot in 26) is in contact with the President, who orders the death of Barnier and the archer (25). Shot down in 26.

     The explosive destruction of the airplane shakes the entire second level, according to Orne Batmagoo’s companion in 27. Indeed, cracks begin appearing in the plasma fabric (29), and Graad supposes the disconnection of one of the expansion generators by the explosion is responsible. But when Cornelius says, “THE EXPLOSION OF THE AIRPLANE STARTED THIS WHOLE MESS,” (34) Grubert qualifies his agreement: “INDEED ... BUT NOT IN THE WAY ALL OF YOU THINK IT DID !” (I wonder, when he says “all of you”, is he talking to us—the readers? And is he giving voice to his own thoughts, or to Giraud’s?) 



Airtight Garage, the  


See Garage Hermétique.



anti-matter magma (34)




It sounds dangerous.



anti-time field (36)


An unforeseeable secondary effect of Barnier’s mishap with the cablebox. See also chronotic circuitry.



Arangue (3)




In the French, what the guard says might be translated as, “He’s there !.. It’s Barnier, aboard the Arangue!..”—so probably I needn’t lose too much sleep wondering who he’s stealing it from.

     Anyway, an Arangue, we are told, is a three-wheeled vehicle popular in the flat steppes of the third level. All subsequent evidence indicates that Barnier is trying to make his getaway on the second level.



archer, the (11)


In the résumé at the start of 17, this individual is described as a MYSTERIOUS ARCHER, ABOUT WHOM WE KNOW NEITHER WHENCE HE CAME, NOR WHITHER HE GOES... Having been intrigued by Barnier’s behavior “SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS AFFAIR” (11), he leads the engineer through and out of the Singing Caverns and, along the way (15), explains some of what’s going on, offering also (17) a substantial contribution to Grubert’s background. He tells Barnier “WE HAVEN’T TAKEN SIDES” in the “SECRET WAR” between Grubert and Cornelius. They’re waiting to discover the latter’s real intentions: “WE DON’T WANT TO JUST TRADE MASTERS,” he says. (Who’s “we”? Inhabitants of the asteroid?) When Barnier asks if they want independence, the archer replies, “OF COURSE... AND FOR ALL THREE LEVELS.” (The President, in 25, offers a slightly different perspective on this, claiming to have regarded the archer as being “ON OUR SIDE” in the fight against Grubert and Cornelius.)

     The archer shoots down the Airplane of Destiny (25, 26), precipitating major upheavals on the second level. (In a page added to to the story ten years later (32), he tells Barnier he was “ORDERED” to shoot down the plane, but this appears little more than an afterthought.)

     Possibly the archer is an android (17). His name is Yetchem (25).



Armjourth (2)




Capital of the second level, we find out in 6 & 7—though this was not at first the case in the story as originally printed. Also known as “THE PEARL OF THE TUNDRA” (9).



asteroid, the (5)


The Major decides (5) to go down to the asteroid to face Jerry Cornelius, so the asteroid is what is referred to (in 3) as his “SECRET BASE” and (in 4) as his FORMER HIDEAWAY. As the story begins, it appears that Grubert is returning after some time away. (“AT LAST ! THE MAJOR IS BACK... !” says Cornelius in 5.)

     But when the story was originally serialized in Metal Hurlant, there was no mention of the asteroid in 5. Seen from the outside for the first time in 12, it somewhat resembles a tennis ball with a hole at one end. (It’s seen again in 33.)

     The résumé in 16 lets us know it was an INSIGNIFICANT ASTEROID... SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE BELT that has been transformed, with the help of thirteen type “23” expansion generators, into an immense and complex world. Apparently located in the constellation of the Lion (20). In 36, we learn that it was once known as “FLOWER”—which is to say, it is formally identified with the legendary pleasure asteroid of Lady Kowalski, which appeared in Giraud’s Le Bandard Fou. Grubert acknowledges the connection, though the nature of his own connection with Kowalski (presumably amorous) is left vague.

     (The title character of Le Bandard Fou may be spotted in 9, in the design on Grubert’s helmet.)



à suivre (1)


In English, we have TO BE CONTINUED; in the French it’s À SUIVRE. In Metal Hurlant #6, Le Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius was introduced as a “grand feuilleton à suivre en bandes dessinées”—which, I suppose, might be translated approximately as a “great serial story in comic strips”.

     (For some reason I had it in mind that the term “feuilleton” was derived from the name of Louis Feuillade, director of, among other things, Fantomas. But I am mistaken: the word was in use long before his time. If a fusion of “feuilleton” and “Feuillade” has since occurred—the former having been contaminated by the latter—it is, frankly, beyond my competence to say.)



Aurob (6)


Sri Aurobindo. Credited for his contribution to the sixth episode. Possibly the Major met him in Pondycherhi (17).



A-void (36)


To which, at the story’s end, the Bakalites have no recourse but to return.



Bakalite (3)




In an earlier story (“Le Major Fatal”) Grubert assassinated “an old Bakalite with terrible powers” on Syldaine-Cygnoos (in the original French, “Syldaïn-Dolchigne”) evidently in order to steal a junctor. We need not insist the one story is continuous with the other, but the Bakalites in this story are physically (and, it would appear, temperamentally) similar. And the Major, we are told early on, is “WORRIED ABOUT BAKALITE VENGEANCE” (4). He’s right to be worried, because a Bakalite trap is sprung in 35. It turns out that a Bakalite is Master of the Intermediate Zone between levels one and two. Also 36.

     (According to the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Bakelite is the “(Proprietary name for) a characteristically dark brown thermosetting plastic made by copolymerization of a phenol with formaldehyde.”)



Barcoll (11)


A being from the planet Volny. 




Barnier (1)




In 1, an unidentified individual is tinkering with a cablebox: apparently humanoid, male, with small, wide-set eyes. In 2, Jasper refers to him as “YOUNG BARNIER”, and also tells Cornelius that Barnier was afraid of being reproached for his blunder with the peeper valve, and has run away. Cornelius advises Jasper to look for him near the Singing Caverns. He also says that “BARNIER’S A GOOD KID...” (but the translation here is, frankly, untrustworthy). Anyway, Barnier fears Cornelius’s anger, and in 3, while taking an Arangue, shoots a guard (father of two). Immediately afterward, the engine of the Arangue won’t start. What a predicament. Nevertheless, by 7, he HAS TAKEN REFUGE and in 8 is LOST IN THE MAZE OF THE SINGING CAVERNS. Found by the archer in 11, he is eventually rescued from the absurd universe of the story in 33.

     The archer considers Barnier “NOT REALLY PART OF THIS GAME” (22).

     In his monologue in 1, the engineer speaks of “MY PEOPLE’S TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLES”. I might recklessly have jumped to the conclusion that his people were Cornelius’s associates, but in the original French it was not “my people” but “DE NOTRE RACE”—the Heavy Metal translation of 1977 referred to “THE TECHNICAL INGENUITY OF OUR RACE”—a term implying a stronger identification than mere association. Barnier is giving personal voice to a collective pride. But pride goeth before a fall.

     In 15, Jasper makes clear that Cornelius contacted Barnier about building the cablebox. Possibly another one of Barnier’s people is later contacted for the same reason (but by whom?) because the individual seen pushing the damaged cablebox in 13 is dressed very much as Barnier was in 1.

     Barnier turns out to be a woman (32). One’s incredulity is entirely merited.



Batmagoo, Orne (10)


One of two individuals (at first unidentified) who spot Grubert when he arrives in Armjourth. Introduces himself in 13. Takes pictures (12-14, 19). Recognizes the Major’s spy (18) and incites Sper Gossi to take a shot at him. Summoned by the President, he identifies himself as assistant picture-taker to Sper Gossi (27).

     (Giraud puts Batmagoo through hell in the sequel, The Man from the Ciguri.)




Beetroot 2000 (2)




The enormous truck Cornelius drives on his return to Armjourth. Seen also in episode 5, it is described in 7 as his mobile H.Q.—TOTALLY INDETECTABLE (SAYS THE LEGEND). In 24 we learn that it travels at a speed of over 500 mites (“MiLOUS”) per hour. Despite its legendary indetectability, it is spotted by a spybird in 25. In 28, we finally see Cornelius in the cockpit; the outskirts of Armjourth are just coming into view. Cornelius finally gets out of the vehicle in 30.

     (In French, the vehicle is introduced as the BETRAV 2000 rather than “betterave” (beetroot). Whether this whimsical contraction disguises a more functional origin of the name, based on “traverser”—to go across—is a question I leave to those who wonder about such things.)



Betty (2)




The young engineer Barnier, pushed (or goaded) by the demoniac Betty, allows the cablebox on which he’s working to be destroyed. At least, so we were told in the résumé ahead of the 2nd episode, as it originally appeared in Metal Hurlant #7.

     Who is, or was, or might have been this possessed, malefic female? Perhaps a question without an answer. The world of Le Garage was unstable, and she did not become a part of it. No trace of her remains in the first book publication of 1979. She does not exist. 



Black Fly, the (5)


In the penultimate panel of the fifth chapter, Grubert thinks to himself that he must go down to the asteroid and face Jerry Cornelius(A.K.A. THE BLACK FLY)”—but there was originally no reference to “the Black Fly” at this point. It was in 1979, for the first book publication, that Grubert decided to face “LEWiS CERN ALiAS JERRY CORNELiUS “LA MOUCHE NOiRE!..” ”.

     Grubert addresses Cornelius/Carnelian as “BLACK FLY” in 34, 35 and 36.



bleane (14)


A herbal drink.




cablebox (1)


In French, “CABLEUR”; in the first English translation, a “TRANSPORTER”.

     A completely revolutionary design that needs one last overhaul before it’s ready to be launched toward the stars. (In 1976, we were told plans for the cablebox were found on the corpse of Jerry Cornelius’s father (2), but this detail was removed for book publication three years later.) Ruined when the double-polarized chromatic polarization resonates with a device Barnier neglects to disconnect. In 2, Jasper refers to “THAT BUSINESS WITH THE CABLEBOX”. In 13, Grubert spies the “DAMAGED CABLEBOX”. (In 1976, he supposed this might explain a few things, but by 1979, the explanation had been left to someone else, and the cablebox merely seemed “TO BE EMITTING SOME KIND OF WEIRD ENERGY!”) In 15, Jasper reassures Barnier that he was not at fault: “THE PEEPER VALVE WAS INDEED SABOTAGED!” By Grubert, he says—but possibly Jasper is wrong. Sper Gossi, summing up the plot (36) and explaining it, asserts that Barnier made a mistake. That appears to have been the case.

     (In 29, Graad asks Okania to “GET THE CABLEBOX READY!”—but, even if she does, we don’t get a look at it. I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s the cablebox Barnier was working on.)



Cafe Viennax (14)


A cafe in the holog to which the Major is taken by Sper Gossi and Orne Batmagoo (14). The setting for an unpleasant scene in 18 and 19. It is in the latter episode that its name is supplied.



Carnelian, Erik (16)


In the original, “Eric Cornelius”. Brother of Jerry Cornelius/Lewis Carnelian, and, for some obscure reason, his mortal enemy. Presently a resident of Normandy, we are told. Lark Dalxtrey is sent (16, 20) to find him.



Carnelian, Lewis (1)


This individual was identified, in both Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal, as Jerry Cornelius, the name of a character invented by Michael Moorcock. Believing Moorcock was not entirely happy about his appropriation of the name, Giraud changed it for the 1987 version in English. From Jerry to Lewis is a simple, comic step (Jerry Lewis was an American comic actor, very popular in France); and “Lewis Carnelian” is also three-fourths of “Lewis Carroll” (author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland).

     The fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Moorcock had already named the protagonist of another set of books (beginning with An Alien Heat, 1974) Jherek Carnelian. In addition, the explorer “Lewis Cern” had been mentioned, in 17, by the archer. When the series was published as a book in 1979, some of Grubert’s private thoughts (in 5) were revised to identify Cern with Cornelius.

     See also Cornelius, Jerry.



Cern, Lewis (5)


An explorer Grubert once teamed up with (17). Supposedly an alternative name for Jerry Cornelius (5)—an alias, or possibly his original name? See Carnelian, Lewis.



Cervic (13)


Seen first on the bridge of the Ciguri in 13, when he gives the order to send a thynic impulse to the Major. Named in 16. Appears to be responsible for communications and intelligence on the Ciguri. (“Cerveau” means “brain”; but he—she?—may also be related to the cervidae, or deer family.)




Chasseur Déprime, Le


Whereas Le Garage Hermétique was a linear invention, published serially, and subsequently presented with only quite minor revisions, this late successor (published 2008) makes visible the layers of time that went into its creation. The oldest elements appear to be two illustrations dated 1996. Neither has any obvious connection to Major Gruber (as his name is given throughout) or the world of Le Garage. Both look like the kind of improvisations that filled Giraud’s notebooks and became an increasingly visible part of his later published work.

     It would appear that this further adventure of Major Gruber was begun sometime in 1998 (four years after L’Homme du Ciguri) and stalled sometime in 1999. Gruber retreated to Desert B to hide in a box, in the notebook episodes (dated 2001) later collected in Le Major. But the adventure begun in 1998 remained suspended as Giraud brought the Edena cycle to its conclusion, and launched Inside Mœbius.

     A partial resumption of the story seems to have been attempted in 2005, and there are five pages or parts of pages dated 2006, but the bulk of the work appears to have been pulled together and finished largely in 2007 and 2008.

     Not quite a direct sequel to Le Garage and L’Homme du Ciguri—more a complement to both, which perhaps takes its cue from the irresolute ending of the latter volume. Funny and unsettling by turns. It had never occurred to me that Major Grubert might resemble Doctor Strange, but back when I was reading Doctor Strange—and, let me assure you, children, that was a very long time ago—this was just the kind of thing I was looking for.



Chiram, The Sacred Songs of (10)


Grubert disrupts a performance of this music when he arrives on the second level. Beautiful.



choelom (16)


The Major was taking a stroll with his favorite choelom when he had a kind of “illumination” concerning the expansion generators.

     If you know what a choelom is, I congratulate you. In my ignorance, I was led to speculate that “chœlom” might be an inversion of Moloch/molek. Since this is an idol that demands sacrifice, and the root mlk denotes a royal personage, I ventured a guess that the inversion might suggest a subject available to be sacrificed. In addition chœur, in French, is chorus, and mol- (reversed as “lom”) denotes weakness, spinelessness or laxity. Therefore the meaning of “choelom” may be “an unresisting and pliable subordinate; a toady”.



Chot, Torpeniczel (7)


Unfortunate pilot of the Airplane of Destiny. Though we may presume his role coeval with that of the plane he pilots, he has little to say (beyond thinking, “THERE THEY ARE! ” in 7) until he tries to get in touch with the President in the page added to 23 in 1979. His face is seen for the first time in 25, and he is named—posthumously—in 26. Mentioned also by Graad, in 29.



chronotic circuitry (18)




While absent from the narrative, Samuel L. Mohad apparently continued his survey of conditions on the second level. In 18—in the 1979 revision, but not as it originally appeared—Orne Batmagoo lets Sper Gossi (and the reader) know that, having gained access to an unspecified laboratory, the Major’s spy looked over the chronotic circuitry. In 36, Sper Gossi explains that an unforeseeable secondary effect of Barnier’s mishap with the cablebox was the creation of an anti-time field somehow centered on the chronotic circuitry in Gossi’s research lab.

     (Actually, Gossi referred in 36 to the chromatic circuitry (“CiRCUiTS CHROMATiQUES”), but this has been corrected to “CHRONOTIC CIRCUITRY” in the 1987 translation.) 


Ciguri (3)


Major Grubert’s spaceship. (In 5, his “PERSONAL” spaceship.) Large, and with a large crew: in 4, Okania claims to have left her family to follow Samuel L. Mohad, the implication being that her family are present on the Ciguri. Later (21) she refers to “all the families” on board the Ciguri. Has an enormous billiard room (5).

     The ship is seen for the first time in 12. Also 16 and 33, and in L’Homme du Ciguri.



Colonel (8)




The individual so identified in 31 appears to be the same one who, flanked by two guards, entered the train compartment in 8, in order to check Sam and Okania’s tickets. What happened next is anyone’s guess. My guess is that, since the train was being bombed at the time, Sam and Okania escaped in the confusion. Alternatively, the individual sleeping in the same compartment may have been arrested when he failed to produce his ticket. It’s also not beyond the bounds of possibility that Okania stole his ticket while he was sleeping. All of this is pure guesswork, of course, and none of it is actually in the story, so you needn’t take this at all seriously.

     It would appear, from what the President says (in French, if not so clearly in English) in 27 and 29, that the colonel is acting under the authority of the President, as part of a police operation begun in 24. Seen for the last time in 33.




Cornelius, Jerry (1)


The ironic hero of a number of books and stories by Michael Moorcock, and a figure the author encouraged other writers to make use of. In Le Garage, he bears a striking resemblance (in 5) to Patti Smith.

     In 1, Cornelius is elsewhere—the individual subsequently identified as Barnier says, “EVERYTHING HAS TO BE FIXED BEFORE [he] GETS BACK!” In 2, Cornelius is contacted by Jasper while driving his Beetroot 2000 across the tundra, en route to Armjourth. He has been driving for weeks. In 5, Grubert is looking at a photograph and telling Malvina that the individual pictured is Jerry Cornelius: “A REPORT... INDICATES THAT HE COMES FROM EARTH...” He declines, however, to tell Malvina why Cornelius worries him so much. She must be furious. In addition, we learn that Cornelius is also known as “THE BLACK FLY”—a detail offered at this point in the 1979 version, but not on its original appearance.

     In 16 we discover that, two thousand years before, on “RANDOM EARTH SDX”, Grubert and Cornelius flew together during the great aeronautical wars. Cornelius (then known as Lewis Cern) was with Grubert, on a routine flight at the edge of the nebula Hakbah of Saligaa, when Grubert discovered the secret of immortality (17).

     According to Samuel L. Mohad (19), Cornelius controls the second and third levels (originally identified as the first and second, but this detail was corrected in 1979). Cornelius’s Beetroot 2000 is spotted by one of the President’s spybirds near the pyramid-stations (25), and he’s approaching the outskirts of Armjourth in 28. He finally arrives in 30, as chaos begins to overtake the capital. As soon as he leaves his vehicle, he takes to the air, in an all black costume—thus living up to his name, the Black Fly. He finds Grubert in 34; they make their way to the first level in 35 and 36.



crackergun (3)


The type of weapon with which Barnier kills a guard (father of two). A plausible translation of “FUSIL-PÉTARD”, though perhaps it’s clearer in French that the gun fires explosive charges.



crystal, fourteen-faceted (29)


An essential component in the procedure that brings about the mental and physical transformation that allows Grubert to cross to the first level.



cybernegenic belt (35)




A region within the intermediate zone containing mechanisms that sustain the upper level.



Dalxtrey, Lark (16)


A brave young officer on the Ciguri, devoted to (infatuated by) the Lady Malvina. Sent to find Eric Cornelius (20) on randomearth SDX, he ends up somewhere else when the transmitter floobs (23). He will never again set foot on the Ciguri, but he will find love and die gloriously (26).



Earth (5)





Echoy, Ardant (13)


Sper Gossi introduces himself to Grubert by this name. (Orne Batmagoo—who might have been expected to know better—called Gossi “ARDANT” in 18, when it was first published.)



empire, Grubert’s (20)




So says the operator of the matter transmitter (a cameo by Giraud?). Like any colonialist worth his salt, Grubert is engaged upon expropriating wealth from other worlds in order to maintain and extend his power, and uses a network of spies and agents provocateurs to keep things ticking over.



expansion generators (16)




In 29, Graad makes reference to “THE 23 GENERATORS”, so it might appear that, since the initial expansion of the asteroid, ten further generators have been deployed. But the French of 1979 refers, more clearly, to “UN DES “23” GÉNÉRATEURS”—one of the “23” generators—so “23” appears to identify the type of generator, suggesting in addition their identity with “THE TWENTY-THREE GENERATING DIVINITIES WHO ARE THE SACRED PILLARS OF THE TAR’HAI MYTHOLOGY” (mentioned by the archer in 15).

     In fact, the “23” generators are mentioned also in 16 in the revised French version of 1979, whereas the 1987 translation there reverts to the text as printed in 1977. (There were originally only “thirteen” generators, both in 16 and 29.)

     The disconnection of one of the generators is supposed, both by Graad (29) and by Cornelius (30), to be responsible for the chaos that overtakes the second level. Cornelius supposes the failed generator to have been of the SPECTRE 34 type (30, 34).




Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius, Le


A serial story by Jean Giraud—as Mœbius—that ran from 1976 to 1979 in Metal Hurlant #6-41. Collected, with one additional page and some (mainly textual) revision, in MAJOR FATAL (1979).

     In English, as published in Heavy Metal, it was originally titled “The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius”. Later collected, in MOEBIUS 3 – THE AIRTIGHT GARAGE (1987), with a new translation (in color for the first time, and with one extra page) as “The Garage Hermetic of Lewis Carnelian”.

     The original translation of the title is singularly ironic. “Airtight” conveys the idea of something “hermetically sealed”, but loses the connotation of occult philosophy. At the same time the title, “The Airtight Garage,” has its own inscrutable magic, being associated (by those who recall its first appearance in English) with a mysterious story that is anything but a closed system.



gatekeeper (20)




In the French, PORTIER. Apparently a gatekeeper is someone who manages travel, by means of matter transporter, to an assortment of different versions of the planet Earth.

     Graad (28) is also, in the 1987 translation, a “keeper”, who prepares the Major for access to the first level; but his original title is “PASSEUR”—“ferryman”.



Gossi, Sper (10)


One of two individuals (at first unidentified) who spot Grubert when he arrives in Armjourth. Possibly bears some resemblance to Hercule Poirot. Considers killing Grubert as he sleeps (12), but, when Grubert is wakened by a thynic impulse sent from the bridge of the Ciguri (13), introduces himself as Ardant Echoy and takes Grubert to the holog. In reality (according to Cervic) Gossi is an agent of the Tar’hai revival movement (16). Shoots Samuel L. Mohad (18, 19) in the Cafe Viennax, and then flees.

     The President is evidently expecting a communication from him in 21, and in 24 wants him in her office right away. Gossi does not, however, reappear until 36, where he turns out to be Master of the First Level: “IN THIS PLACE, I AM THE MASTER OF LIFE AND DEATH ... THE AIRTIGHT FORCEFIELD WHICH ISOLATES US FROM THE CONTINUUM GIVES ME THAT POWER!” And it is Gossi who is allowed to explain what’s been going on:

     Barnier’s mishap with the cablebox had an unforeseen secondary effect—the creation of an anti-time field, centered on Gossi’s laboratory, which was conducting research on chrono-particles. Mutation of the chronotic circuitry gave Gossi access to the first level and its secrets. Hence, his seizure of power.

     The problems and puzzles with which Gossi’s explanation presents us are several, but this is not the place to consider them.



Graad (10)




A Triclo. Not where Grubert expects to meet him. He’s in Room 6, however (28). “YOU’RE THE KEEPER, AREN’T YOU ?” Grubert asks. He is, and he connects the Major to the flux. He also turns out to be Okania’s father.

     Also 29, 31.



great ball room (35)


The spheres have been deactivated by an inverter, of Bakalite origin.




Grubert, Major (3)


What do we know about the Major? In the immediate precursor to Le Garage—“Le Major Fatal”—he was the mysterious figure Houm Jakin hoped to meet in Bolzedura, but who instead assassinated the old Bakalite and made off with the junctor. When he makes his first appearance here, in 3, he is concerned that the invasion of his secret base may be a Bakalite trick; and, according to Samuel L. Mohad in 4, the Major is “worried about Bakalite vengeance”.

     Grubert is in charge of a spaceship, the Ciguri, with which he is returning to his asteroid (his FORMER HIDEAWAY in 4). He has, he fears, been found, at long last, by Jerry Cornelius (5).

     According to the archer (15), Grubert is a quasi-mythical being, and the creator of the world within the asteroid. In the résumé that precedes 16, Giraud further clarifies the point by telling us that, at some unspecified period before this story started, Grubert was taking a stroll on the pier of the small spaceport of Osbeantes when he had a kind of illumination: WITH THE HELP OF THIRTEEN EXPANSION GENERATORS USING THE GRUBERT EFFECT (THE PATENTS OF WHICH HE HAD JUST FILED) HE COULD TRANSFORM ANY INSIGNIFICANT ASTEROID... INTO A VAST AND COMPLEX WORLD, WITH SEVERAL LEVELS IF NEED BE...

     As creator of that world, he arouses ambivalent feelings among those who now inhabit it. In 12, when found asleep beside a stone altar, Sper Gossi remarks, “I ALWAYS THOUGHT OF HIM AS A KIND OF A DEMI-GOD ...”—yet there he is, a creature on the same scale, who might even be killed.

     The archer’s statement that Grubert is “QUASI-LEGENDARY (15) may be technically to the point, if the history of this world is also spurious: Grubert, says the archer, “HAS ALLIED HIMSELF WITH THE TWENTY-THREE GENERATING DIVINITIES WHO ARE THE SACRED PILLARS OF THE TAR’HAI MYTHOLOGY...

     But even aboard the Ciguri, according to Okania (21), “ALL THE FAMILIES LOOK UPON [him] AS A MYTHICAL BEING”.

     One ought not to believe everything one is told, but, if the archer’s information (in 17) is accurate, Grubert was born in 1958 in Baden-Oos, West Germany. (The 1987 version in English declines to be precise with regard to this detail.) He worked as a journalist for Divelt—presumably Die Welt, a German newspaper founded in 1946—and went missing during the Vietnam war, when he accidentally stepped through a transtime circle at Angkor. He ended up in the nineteenth century, where he was taken in by a brahmin from Pondycherhi. Initiated to the equivalent of a phase IV level, he worked for thirteen years in laboratories of spatial magic. Having teamed up with another explorer—Lewis Cern (1979), Lewis Carnelian (1987)—they came across the wreck of the Otra, ark and mother ship of the great ancient ones, while on a routine flight at the edge of the nebula Hakbah of Saligaa. During their search of the wreck, Grubert discovered the secret of immortality. (Originally, what the archer told Barnier in 15 was that Grubert was said to have discovered this secret; an authorial note corrected his ignorance of the fact that this was actually so. This panel was revised in 1979.)



Grubert Effect (16)


The basic principle underlying the act of world creation—assisted, in Grubert’s case, by his expansion generators.



guard (3)


A guard typically wears a heavy soldier’s coat, a robust but curiously designed helmet, and a nose-guard. Various guards may be seen in 8, 13, 14, 31, 33, 34, and 36.

     In a thought balloon (13) eliminated from the 1979 version, Grubert appeared to think of them as “TÉLÉGARDES”. While they may appear to be little more than armed thugs, it may be noted that in 31, and again in 36, guards express a concern that the orders of their apparent superiors might cause an alteration of reality. Possibly they are not merely guardians of civil order, but are charged, throughout, with conserving phenomenal coherence within the world of the story.



helmet, the Major’s (6)


The helmet makes its first appearance in the Garage in 6. The point of the helmet connects Grubert to the bridge of the Ciguri (13). Okania recognizes it in 14. Graad removes the point in 28, and Okania removes the helmet in 31. Cervic refers to the removal of the point in 33.



holog (13)




Actually, despite the guard’s warning, the train is in full view (14). Neither the holog nor the train were actually mentioned in the original version of 13.

     While waiting at a table for a drink, Sper Gossi explains that the holog stands on the location of the Square of the May-Pole Leaf, where the train was bombed. Identified as THE HOLOG OF ARMJOURTH  in 19, and THE  IMPERIAL HOLOG OF THE SECOND LEVEL in 21 (the latter a translation of L’HOLOG “iMPÉRiUM” DU 2eme NiVEAU). Sper Gossi’s research laboratory, we are told, was—is?—located under the holog (“DANS LES SOUS-SOLS”) (36).




Homme du Ciguri, L’


In 1991, a dozen years after Giraud brought Le Garage to its conclusion, he picked up where he left off in a sequel, which might be regarded as Grubert’s Parisian adventure. The setting lends a greater unity of action than the first book. Developments on the Ciguri and the odd whimsical diversion are subordinate to the adventures of Grubert and misadventures of Orne Batmagoo. There is likewise a more coherent visual tone. Several revisions and additions were made for the book publication in 1994.

     In French, Grubert’s name is spelled “Gruber” throughout. Maybe it makes no difference to the French pronunciation—Gru-ber, rather than the English Groo-brt—but is Gruber the same? No. One never steps in the same river twice.

     Not collected in the book were a further seven installments—twenty-two pages—drawn in 1993 and 1994, which returned Gruber to Armjourth, but did not bring the story to a conclusion. Published in Caliber’s rather ramshackle MOEBIUS COMICS (#1-3, 5), it’s not altogether clear whether the ordering of some of these pages and chapters was a matter of deliberate choice or simply the result of sloppy editing.



Inside Mœbius


A playful improvised reflection on the act of creation—and on the relation of the creator to what he creates. As Grubert stood with respect to the world of Le Garage, so, to some extent, stands Mœbius in relation to the world of Desert B: he makes it, but the world proves troublesome, refractory, seductive, and open to invasion. How can the creator of a world be content with his creation if he is not fully in control of himself, or his own circumstances?

     Grubert is here a part of Mœbius’s world rather than a world-maker—and knows it. Both participate in a panel-to-panel effort to discover the act of creation in the moment of its own becoming, resisting, as far as possible, the temptations of plot and script.

     Published originally in six volumes. The Dark Horse edition is a three-book set, with two of the original volumes in each book.



intermediate zone (35)




Somewhere between the second and the first level. Possibly a region of interface between the expansion generators and the worlds they sustain.



Jasper (2)




In 2, he lets Cornelius know that Barnier has run away. Cornelius instructs him to look for Barnier near the Singing Caverns, which he saw in a dream. When we overhear their radio conversation, Cornelius is driving his Beetroot 2000 and Jasper is aboard a flying vessel. (The vessel somewhat resembles a hair dryer. In the preceding issue of Metal Hurlant, one of the spaceships in a story by Jacques Tardi was certainly a hair-dryer. Tardi also used “GiR” as a sound effect. Was this Giraud’s riposte?)

     In 5, Jasper reports that one of the Major’s spies has been spotted on the third level—presumably Star Billiard or its operator, Samuel L. Mohad. In 11, we see a Barcoll being carried on a stretcher, following the archer in the Singing Caverns. Dimly recognized by Barnier, the Barcoll (in 15) turns out to be Jasper, who, it turns out, was keeping the visitor’s register the day Cornelius contacted Barnier about building the cablebox. In the course of their conversation, Barnier lets us know Jasper is from the planet Volny.



Kowalski, Lady (36)


Owner and creator of the pleasure asteroid, “Flower”, in Giraud’s Le Bandard Fou (1974)—the same asteroid, much expanded, which forms the setting for Le Garage. Dead for centuries by the time this story gets underway.



levels (3)




It’s not immediately clear how many levels there are, but it turns out there are three: “ALL THREE LEVELS” (15). (In French, the first reference to three levels occurs in 9.)

     According to Samuel L. Mohad (19), the second and third levels are controlled by Jerry Cornelius; but what he said when the episode first appeared in Heavy Metal was, “THE FIRST AND SECOND LEVELS ARE CONTROLLED BY SOMEONE CALLED CORNELIUS”. This was a reflection of the original French. Giraud’s spontaneous invention resulted in a measure of incoherence, and the ordering of levels was only later revised and made consistent. In 1979, Mohad told Grubert (in 19) that “LE TROiSiEME ET LE SECOND NiVEAU” were controlled by Cornelius.

     Star Billiard, in 4, was originally sent to the first level: in 5, Jasper originally reported a sighting of the Major’s spy “AU PREMiER NiVEAU”. In 7, Armjourth was originally identified as capital of the third level. Fortunately, the confusion is mostly historical. 



level, first (4)


First mentioned in 1979 when the reader is told (according to the 1987 translation) that Star Billiard is A GIANT ROBOT DESIGNED TO REACH THE FIRST LEVEL (4). All things considered, this seems unlikely.

     Grubert asks Samuel L. Mohad about the first level in the Cafe Viennax (19). Mohad is unable to tell him.

     Grubert tells Graad in 28 that he must get to the first level. Graad prepares him for the crossing in 29 and 31. Grubert and Cornelius reach the first level in 36.



level, second (5)




The capital is Armjourth. It has a tundra (2, 5) and great, fertile plains (6). The Major arrives on the second level in 10.



level, third (3)


Has flat steppes, and, in 4, a desert and a dim, still sun. Mrhu is a town in this desert region. In 4, Samuel L. Mohad is crossing the third level, aboard Star Billiard.

     It is not entirely clear whether Schwans Country, in 6—a region of an entirely different character (grassy, wooded) in which Grubert starts his journey on the asteroid—is also on the third level.



Lion, the (20)




The stars, we are told, are not randomly placed, and the world of the story is situated in the constellation of the Lion.



lock (4)




A permanent portal between levels on the asteroid, usually concealed by an apparently ordinary locked door. Sam and Okania use one in 4. The Major uses another in 10. The door to Room 6 (21, 24, 27, 28, 31) has some of the characteristics of a lock, even if it is not clear whether or not the room to which it gives access is actually located in the hotel or elsewhere.

     The door through which Grubert exits in 36 is probably an interplane lock.



lock, interplane (22)




A point of entry to or exit from the multi-level world of the asteroid. One opens in 33.



M (15)




The archer is telling Barnier about Grubert. Does he mean M is the name of the world of three levels in which most of the action of the story takes place? Or is he signalling Grubert’s identity with the creator of the world of the story? M for Moebius?



Major, Le


After the continuation of L’Homme du Ciguri had been abandoned, and when an attempt at a further adventure (which eventually became Le Chasseur Déprime) stalled, the Major took refuge in a box in Giraud’s Desert B. Much of the material in Le Major appears to date from this hiatus, when Gruber was in full retreat from the world—and also from knowing the subordinate position he occupied in it. The sequences here appear to occupy a kind of hinterland behind or before Giraud’s Inside Mœbius sequence, where the Major is fully aware of being one of Mœbius’s characters. Here, at first, he does not, and he is not easily reconciled.




Major Fatal


The title of the first hardcover collection, in 1979, of Major Grubert’s adventures. It contained:


13pp  Le Major Fatal  (Metal Hurlant #6)

 2pp  Le Major Grubert - The Forbidden City Rides Again  (Fluide Glacial #2)

 6pp  La Chasse au Français en Vacance  (France-Soir, 1974)

 2pp  La Flore de Paradis 9  (Metal Hurlant #19) 

 2pp  Une Aventure du Major Grubert  (Metal Hurlant #2) 

98pp  Le Garage Hermétique  (Metal Hurlant #6-41) 


Some early purchasers of the book also received a poster reprinting “Merveilles de l’Univers”—two pages, in color, featuring the first appearance of a rather different Commandant Grubert, from Pilote #749.


Une Aventure du Major Grubert” consists of four vertically organized half-pages, and was originally printed over four pages, which it shared with a whimsical text by Philippe Druillet.


The text of “Le Garage Hermétique” was somewhat revised, and one page was added to what was originally the twenty-fourth episode (“ÉPISODE CHEZ LES COW-BOYS”), which here became the twenty-third.


The sequel, L’Homme du Ciguri, was identified as Major Fatal 2 (MAJOR FATAL / VOLUME 2 on the cover, MAJOR FATAL TOME 2 inside.)



“Major Fatal, Le”


A thirteen-page story in Metal Hurlant #6, in which Major Grubert plays a pivotal role. (Grubert—as “Le Major Gruber”—also featured on the cover.) In the same issue, Le Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius made its debut, though Grubert didn’t turn up in that series until the third episode, two issues later.



malro (6)


See melvil.




Malvina (3)


Though beside the Major in 3, where she appears conversant with and complicit in his activities, it is not until 4 that she is identified (by Samuel L. Mohad) as “MALVINA, HIS FIANCEE”. Also referred to as “THE LADY MALVINA” (“LA DAMALViNA”) in 16, and (in the same episode)—with curiously emphatic lettering—as “SEXUAL SORCERESS DELUXE”.

     Despite her position of authority on the Ciguri, Grubert does not (in 5) fully confide in her regarding Jerry Cornelius. She initiates an attempt to locate Cornelius’s brother (16), but, after a malfunction of the matter transmitter (23) her plan comes to naught (33).

     It was only long after Grubert transformed the asteroid using the expansion generators that he met Malvina (16).



Man from the Ciguri, the


Sequel to The Airtight Garage. See Homme du Ciguri  



matter transmission (3)




Or, as Grubert said in the English of 1977: “WE’D BETTER TRANSPORT A SPY DOWN THERE VIA THE PUSHMEPULL WAVES...”—the latter part of which is more a transcription (of “ONDE PUCHEPULL”) than a translation.

     The language of the 1987 version suggests teleportation (à la Star Trek), but in 4 we are only told the Major has beamed down a spy; we do not have an opportunity to view the procedure. Indeed, in French, we are told only that Major Grubert has decided to send (ENVOYER) a spy. “You’re going down there...” he tells Samuel L. Mohad. Exactly how Sam and the giant robot, Star Billiard, get down to the third level, is unclear.

     An antiquated matter transmitter, dating back to the Tar’hai era, may be seen in 20. It serves as a point of departure for envoys to an assortment of alternate Earths and mysterious destinations.



Mausoleum L33 (9)


One of the “INFINITE VARIETY OF PASSAGES BETWEEN THE LEVELS”. Unfortunately, not one of the Major’s favorites.



melvil (6)


In the original, a MALRO. A placid, good-natured quadruped, somewhat resembling a hippopotamus, but with a thin neck, elongated head, and alert ears. Also 9.



Mikey (24)


(French “MiKÉ”) An exo, an artist and an intellectual, trapped in a menial job as a bellhop. It won’t last forever.

     Also 31, 33.



Mohad, Samuel L. (4)


Chosen by the Major for “AN IMPORTANT MISSION”, to find out whether all the levels have fallen into enemy hands. After Star Billiard is destroyed at Mrhu on the third level, he gets on a train on the second level, heading for Armjourth (6). Shot in the Cafe Viennax (19) while giving a report to the Major. Turns out (21) to have been a mechanical double. The real Samuel Mohad is still aboard the Ciguri.



Mrhu (4)




Actually, rather a substantial town (by the looks of things) on the third level.



Nagual, the (5)




These are the thoughts of Grubert, early in the story, but of the Nagual we hear nothing more until much later. This silence may be explained by the fact that there was originally no reference to the Nagual in this place. Instead, Grubert wondered how “they” picked up his trail after all this time, and thought to himself that Cornelius was the man “they” had sent to find him. The Nagual was inserted into the fifth episode in 1979.

     The apparent absence of the Nagual may be explained otherwise, if you’d prefer: he is patient. “HE STANDS IMMOBILE AND SILENT AT THE CENTER OF THE WEB OF TIME” says Grubert to Cornelius (35). Cornelius echoes this when he tells Sper Gossi that “HIDDEN WITHIN THE FOLDS OF THE FABRIC OF TIME, [the Nagual] GOVERNS THE DESTINIES OF MORTALS!” (36)



nodal entropy (17)


Grubert studied the phenomenon at laboratories of spatial magic, about which we learn little.



Okania (4)


A stowaway on Star Billiard. Romantically involved with Samuel L. Mohad. Described later (7) as his “FIANCEE”. Spots Grubert in the Cafe Viennax (14) and accompanies him (21, 24, 27) to Room 6, where (28) her father is waiting. Assists her father (29, 31) in preparing Grubert for his crossing to the first level.

     According to Sper Gossi (36), Okania was working for Malvina.



onde puchepull (3)




Translated in Heavy Metal, in 1977, as “PUSHMEPULL WAVES ”. Though omitted from the 1987 translation, it is my opinion that Grubert is here referring to the poussetire wave, a means of instantaneous communication that allows Samuel L. Mohad to operate his mechanical double from aboard the Ciguri.



orke’o (22)


See stoé orkéo.



Osbeantes (16)


It was at the small spaceport of Osbeantes that Grubert had “SOME KIND OF VISION”—a sort of “iLLUMiNATiON” in the original—of how the Grubert Effect might be deployed.



Osborn Scale, the (15)


A scale on which the gravity of different planets may be compared.



Otra (17)




Grubert and the explorer Lewis Cern found the wreck while on a routine flight at the edge of the nebula Hakbah of Saligaa.

     In 1988, Giraud wrote that he hoped to have a direct sequel to the Garage, called The Otra, finished by the following summer.



peeper valve (1)


A translation of “PALPEUR DE MiRETTE”.

     Possibly an optical probe. In 2, Jasper refers to Barnier’s “BLUNDER WITH THE PEEPER VALVE”; in 15, he tells Barnier it was sabotaged by Grubert. Sper Gossi also mentions it in 36.



plasma fabric (29)





President (21)




Despite being addressed, in the 1987 translation, as Mister President, I’d say there’s evidence that the President of Armjourth is an overweight and rather butch lesbian. (This is intended as an observation, not a political slur.)

     First seen (21) receiving photos of the Major taken by Orne Batmagoo. Having recognized Grubert, she sets in motion a police operation, and orders that Sper Gossi be brought to her office (24). Informed by the pilot of the Airplane of Destiny that Barnier is accompanied by the archer, she orders that both be killed (25). In 27, she declines to order an attack on the hotel where Grubert has gone to find a room. (In 29, it’s too late.)



psicolimatron (28)




Originally “PSiCOLiMATON”. Possibly a variant (and misspelling) of “psicollimator”—a device constructed to direct mental energy, focussing it on infinity. Employed by Graad (28, 29) to prepare Grubert for his crossing to the first level.



random Earth SDX (16)




A translation of “LA TERRE ALÉATOiRE S.D.X.”. (“TERRE ALÉATOiRE” is abbreviated as “TERRALEA” in 20.) The underlying idea, never clearly explained, seems related to the notion of parallel worlds, common in science-fiction. Lark Dalxtrey ends up lost on another random Earth in 23, as explained in 26.



rdoo (3)




The sound an Arangue makes when its engine refuses to start. The sound a hermetic garage makes when it’s just starting up.




résumé (2)


In 3, 5, “RÉSUMÉ DES CHAPiTRES PRÉCÉDENTS”; in 10, “RÉSUMÉ DES PRÉCÉDENTS CHAPITRES”; in 12, “RÉSUMÉ D’AVANT”; in 28, “UN RÉSUMÉ”; in 29, “RES.”; otherwise (2, 4, 6-9, 11, 13-27, 30-32, 34-36), simply “RÉSUMÉ”. (In 33, le garage is “PAS RÉSUMABLE PAS MESURABLE”—beyond telling, beyond measure.)

     Translated as “OUR STORY SO FAR” (2-14)—with the exception of 11, where it is “THE STORY SO FAR”—and thereafter abbreviated (with only a couple of minor variations) as “OUR STORY”.

     In the sequel, L’Homme du Ciguri, the title of the book written by John Larcher, which recounts the events of Le Garage, is RÉSUMÉ—translated as THE STORY SO FAR.



Rigelians (22)


Half-organic, half-metallic.



Room 6 (21)




The room, in a hotel in Armjourth, where, we later discover, Graad (28) has been waiting for the Major. Grubert emerges from the room in 34.



Schwans country (6)


A region, possibly on the third level—but just as possibly not—carpeted with grass, forested. Some signs of human habitation.



see-saw hose (3)




A two-way flexible pipe that is an essential component of the engine of an Arangue.



Singing Caverns (2)


In 2, Cornelius says he “SAW THAT PLACE IN A DREAM LAST NIGHT,” and advises Jasper to look for Barnier there. In 7, we learn that Barnier HAS TAKEN REFUGE there; in 8 he is LOST IN THE MAZE OF THE SINGING CAVERNS. In 11 he is found there by an archer.

     What songs the caverns sing we are not told, but, if I may be permitted to speculate, perhaps they sigh tunefully when the wind blows.



skyshake (30)




See Plasma fabric and Anti-matter magma.



Sophtos (20)


A musician bound for randomearth ZT.



spybirds (25)




In French, “ESPOiSEAUX”. Aerial cameras disguised as birds, employed by the President’s security forces.



Square of the May-pole Leaf (7)


In French, LE SQUARE DE “LA FEUILLE DE RIZLA”. (Rizla was—and still is, I believe—a make of cigarette paper.) The location, on the outskirts of Armjourth, where the attack on the splendid steam-powered train took place. Fortunately, the square was almost deserted at the time. Nevertheless, “MORE THAN THIRTY PEOPLE DIED” (14). Not long after the train was attacked, a holog was raised over the Square.

     We are told in 36 that Sper Gossi’s research laboratory is located “UNDER THE HOLOG OF THE SQUARE OF THE MAY-POLE LEAF”.




Star Billiard (3)


Announced in 3 as the title of OUR NEXT EPISODE, Star Billiard turns out (4) to be a giant humanoid robot, dressed as Lee Falk’s character, the Phantom. It is piloted by the Major’s spy, Samuel L. Mohad.

     (When, in the following episode (5), the Major and Malvina are discussing Jerry Cornelius, it may be seen that they have been playing billiards.)



steppe (3)




Outside the garage from which Barnier seeks to make his escape, the THE TERRIBLE STEPPE may be seen in the distance—or rather, imagined on and beyond the visible horizon. The third level has FLAT STEPPES. Barnier, however, is on the second level.



stoé orkéo (25)


Also 27. Expanded to “STOE MAJORDAK OKEDI ORKEO” in 28.

     Notary Sojac. Potrzebie.



story so far, our


In French, RÉSUMÉ. See résumé.



suitcase, Grubert’s (10)


First seen as Grubert is about to enter the second level (10). He can be seen with it in 11-14, but evidently sets it down while waiting for his herbal bleane in the Cafe Viennax. He asks Okania to get it in 19; may be seen carrying it in 21; lets Mikey (an exo) carry it in 24; then carries it himself (28) into Room 6, where Graad opens it (29). Inside is the fourteen-faceted crystal. 



Swaft (14)


A type of beer.



Targrown (11)


Humanoid, but with a variable number of protruberances on the crown of the head, on a line running from nose to spine.




Tar’hai (3)


An apparently ancient race (I remain uncertain to what extent the “history” of the asteroid is spurious) traces of whose culture may be found on the third (and, it would appear, the second) level.

     In 4, a Tar’hai juggler is performing in the village of Mrhu. Rotund, wearing a mask that gives him a catlike appearance. (A similar costume may be glimpsed in 35.) He brings about the destruction of the giant robot, Star Billiard. According to Cervic (16), Sper Gossi is an agent of the Tar’hai revival movement.

     Tar’hai magic plays a significant part in L’Homme du Ciguri, and is also peripherally present in Le Chasseur Déprime and Le Major.



Thyone, Jocelyn (13)


Grubert introduces himself to Sper Gossi and Orne Batmagoo by this name.



Titan (5)


A REPORT FROM TITAN” is mentioned in 5. Possibly a satellite of one of Earth’s major planets—but just as possibly not.



Topper (12)


Sper Gossi’s name for his gun. It shoots small metal discs.



train, the steam-powered (4)




Variously described as MAGNIFICENT (6), SPLENDID (7, 13 & 14) and “BEAUTIFUL” (8 & 14).

     Sam leads Okania through a lock leading from the third level, directly into a carriage of the train (4). In 6 it is heading across the “GREAT, FERTILE PLAINS OF THE SECOND LEVEL... TOWARD ARMJOURTH”. Damaged when attacked by an airplane (7-8). Teams of technicians, we are told, “HAVE COME FROM THE FOUR CORNERS TO TRY TO REPAIR THE BEAUTIFUL LOCOMOTIVE...” (14).



Triclo (10)


Apparently human, but with three protruberances on the crown of the head, along a line running from ear to ear.



tundra (2)


In 2, Jerry Cornelius has been driving for weeks, en route to Armjourth. He is on the tundra when Jasper reports that the business with the new cablebox has turned out rather badly. Cornelius is still CLEAVING THE TUNDRA in 5. In 6 it becomes clear—at least in the revised version of 1979—that the tundra is on the second level. Armjourth, capital of the second level, is known as (9) “THE PEARL OF THE TUNDRA”.



Venthole (22)


In the French, “VANTOUZ”. Less than a parsec from the asteroid.



Volny (15)




The planet from which Barcolls hail. Has a gravity of 0.7 on the Osborn scale. (Also the name of a cartoonist.)



Vorst (23)




Identified as a thug and a bandit in 25; yet, in 23, the context suggests “VORST” may be a word meaning “Talk!”



Yetchem (25)


The name of the archer.

     (An article on the work of Moebius by Thierry Lagarde appeared in a 1977 fanzine, STP 0. In the same issue were articles on Vaughan Bode and Jack Kirby, signed Yetchem. The application of the name to the archer may be nothing more than a semi-private joke (of which there are plenty in Le Garage). On the other hand, it may also be an acknowledgement that the narrated world of the story is sustained by extra-narrative concerns—and that the archer’s interest in Barnier is a critical interest.)




zapper (4)


In the original, a “ZiP”. A device that leads its possessor to the nearest of the many locks.



Zareth (18)


We know nothing about Zareth beyond the fact that she or he saw the Major’s android spy looking over the chronotic circuitry.

     On the other hand, if Zareth happens to be the name of the woman Orne Batmagoo lives with, that might be her he’s talking to in 27. (This proposition appears unwarranted by the evidence.)

     In the third issue of Epic’s four-issue reprinting of The Airtight Garage (on a page that, three decades earlier, might have been identified as a “Marvel Pin-Up Page”) ZARETH THE SLY is identified as “Master of disguise, prodigious swordsman, martial arts artiste extraordinaire... the best and ablest spy employed by the President of ARMJOURTH”. If you wish to believe this arrant nonsense—that the prancing figure in this 1986 picture is the individual who, back in 1977, saw Samuel L. Mohad nosing around Sper Gossi’s research laboratory—then I wish you the very best of luck in your future career on this planet, and strongly recommend that you take care while crossing the roads.

     Back in 1977, when the episode first appeared, there was no reference whatsoever to Zareth. Batmagoo’s words were re-written in 1979.

     Zareth does not exist.






appendix: a guide to the episodes


   1 (2pp) “1st episode: DANGEROUS OVERHAUL


  3 (2pp) “3rd EPISODE” – Barnier shoots a guard.


  5 (2pp) “(5th episode) THE MAJOR’S EVASION

  6 (2pp) Grubert makes his way through Schwans country. 

  7 (2pp) The splendid steam-powered train is attacked.

  8 (2pp) A ticket inspector enters the carriage.

  9 (2pp) Mausoleum L33.

 10 (4pp) Grubert enters Armjourth.

 11 (2pp) The archer finds Barnier.

 12 (2pp) Grubert sleeps.

 13 (4pp) Grubert is taken to the holog.

 14 (2pp) The splendid steam-powered is being repaired.

 15 (2pp) Barnier meets Jasper.


 17 (2pp) The archer tells Grubert’s life-story.

 18 (2pp) Grubert meets Samuel L. Mohad.

 19 (2pp) Samuel L. Mohad is shot.

 20 (4pp) Lark Dalxtrey is sent on his way.

 21 (2pp) Grubert takes Okania to a hotel. He asks for Room 6.

 22 (2pp) The archer and Barnier are waiting on a pier.


 24 (3pp) Grubert arrives at Room 6.

 25 (2pp) The President orders the death of the archer and Barnier.

 26 (2pp) The airplane of destiny is shot down.

 27 (2pp) Grubert enters Room 6.

 28 (2pp) Grubert meets Graad.

 29 (2pp) Cracks appear in the plasma fabric.

 30 (2pp) Cornelius arrives in Armjourth.

 31 (2pp) Graad prepares Grubert for the first level.

 32 (3pp) The archer catches a submarine. 

 33 (2pp) Malvina can’t contact Grubert.

 34 (5pp) Cornelius finds Grubert.

 35 (7pp) Cornelius and Grubert enter the intermediate zone.

 36 (8pp) Nearly everything is explained.




     23 (“A WESTERN INTERLUDE”) originally consisted of just two pages, and was printed in Metal Hurlant as the twenty-fourth episode. It became the twenty-third in 1979, when the series was collected in the book, Major Fatal. It was then that a third page was added.


     In 1987, a third page was added to 32, for Marvel’s printing of The Airtight Garage


     The two pages of 33 were printed in reverse order in Metal Hurlant #38.


     34 and 35 are listed above as having five and seven pages respectively. In Metal Hurlant #39, only the first four pages of 34 were printed, with the fifth appearing in the next issue, ahead of what is here considered as the seven-page 35.