Review by Ian Keogh
We’re in the mid 21st century when Earth’s climate is basically screwed. An ever-widening hole in the ozone layer has resulted in a Northern hemisphere perpetually covered in snow. Mankind survives, but in inordinately harsh conditions, and often in pockets of civilisation devoid of law and order. In order to ensure the provision of supplies, the super highway C3C encircles the globe, and it takes an extremely brave and adventurous person to become a global trucker. They not only face the perilous condition of the road itself, but constant threats of hijacking, murder and bankruptcy.
Our hero is Tsagoi, the gipsy of the title, who we first see barely into his teens protecting his infant sister Oblivia in Romania, but who progresses into the brutally pragmatic trucker he needs to be to survive. She joins him, now in her teens, at a point when he can no longer cover the expenses of her Swiss boarding school education.
Thierry Smolderen’s plot is slam-bang thank you m’am, (except for the pages where it’s wham-bam, thank you m’am) with all the complexity of a video game. Yet he knows what he’s doing. The basic plot of racing trucks, skullduggery and sex that he hands over to artist Enrico Marini is transformed into page after page of thrilling cinematic action. Fantastic scenery is combined with great machinery for a high-octane read. Tsagoi is a man with large appetites, though, and the sex scenes are as explicit as they come in English language graphic novels not classified as erotica.
And about that English language, the translation is clumsy, literal rather than idiomatic, with Tsagoi’s flowery curses never convincing, and his habit of referring to himself in the third person as “Gypsy” (down to Smolderen), also stands out as eccentric in an awkward fashion. You’ll also note the primary mistake of constantly referring to “Gypsy” in a book titled Gipsy.
In Europe the series ran to six books, but only two were published by NBM, the next being The Fires of Siberia. Heavy Metal later issued Gypsy Collected, which gathers both along with The Day of the Czar, and serialised the remainder in their magazine.