De Platenspeler – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: History
Written by: Zidrou, Raphaël Beuchot
Illustrations: Raphaël Beuchot
Coloring: Raphaël Beuchot, Sarah Murat
Publisher: Le Lombard

De Platenspeler – Comic Book Review

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Good: layout
Bad: illustrations are not very detailed
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Eugène Ysaÿe is probably the most famous Belgian violinist in history. The Belgian queen Elisabeth took violin lessons with him, and even named a competition after him, namely the Eugène Ysaÿe International Competition, which later became the world-renowned Queen Elisabeth Competition. He didn’t only play music, he composed it too. With many composers dedicating their work to him, it is clear that he has influenced many musicians in the past, the present and probably the future.


Brussels, 1931, the rain is pouring down, and Eugène Ysaÿe is leaving the city to play a recital in Congo.  The flight is long, and not very pleasant. Norbert Van Haverbeeck, one of the other passengers, recognizes him and is over the moon to have met such a celebrity, who is even a friend of the queen! Ysaÿe on the other hand, is not that impressed, but unfortunately will have to endure him.

After finally arriving in Leopold City, it turns out the recital has to be cancelled, as master Ysaÿe has a terrible stiff neck. Luckily he stays for another three weeks at the domain of a cousin of his first wife, and he promises not to leave Congo without playing a recital. After arriving at the estate, he meets ‘Platenspeler’ (Record Player), who is a servant responsible for the music in the house. He manages room 78, which is packed with 78 rpm discs. In this room all the music is stored, and Platenspeler chooses the right music for every mood or occasion. Ysaÿe is having a great time at the house of this cousin, but when his son gets injured in a car accident in Leopold City, he travels there as fast as he can, together with his wife. Ysaÿe has to fill his days alone now, and starts to talk with Platenspeler more and more, as they have an obvious mutual interest. He is really impressed that, although Platenspeler can’t read or play any music, he is still able to describe the music, and the feelings that come with it in such a beautiful way. It is something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.


The story isn’t very exciting at all, but still it depicts the life in Congo in the 1930s quite well. It moves at a rather slow pace, nonetheless without  being boring. This is also due to the many dreams Ysaÿe has during his stay, which are very graphical. These dreams are often about him as a child, or about sexuality, which makes you wonder, also because they come without warning.

It is really fun to see that a talented musician like Ysaÿe is chosen to be the lead character of a comic book. Although the story isn’t autobiographical, there are certain things and characters that were important in his real life, that are mentioned in this story as well. For the (classical) musicians it will certainly be fun to discover certain links between these people, which you might not have expected.

Feelings like boredom or irritation are very well suggested by the very down to earth conversations. The musicians among us will certainly roll their eyes at some of the typical jokes, that are usually made by people trying to be interesting, while not knowing anything about it at all.

The drawings themselves are quite basic with often no background at all. This adds to the feeling of repose. The color scheme Raphaël Beuchot uses is quite tempered, which suits the calm 1930s story rather well. Drawings that cover the whole page every now and then add a nice touch to the whole.

There are some sketches and some cover studies at the end of the book. Together with the hardcover and the overall layout, this gives the comic book a feeling of exclusivity.



De platenspeler is a comic book that is quite different than your usual one. The story moves quite slowly, and drawings aren’t specifically detailed. Still the drawings almost speak more than the actual words, and the color scheme definitely adds to that feeling. It is also fun for people with an interest in classical music, because certain references are made, although it isn’t necessary to know anything about music to be able to enjoy the story. If you’re looking for something different, with a calm pace but nonetheless quite interesting, this might be one for you.

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De Platenspeler - Comic Book Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

1 Comment

  1. […] Beuchot teamed up together again for their latest album Marie-Leontine. Their previous album De Platenspeler, which we reviewed about a year ago, was somewhat based on the life of famous violin player, yet […]

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