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Who REALLY designed the Colonial Warrior costume?!?
Written by Marcel Damen   
Friday, 10 September 2010

Battlestar Galactica premiered on the ABC television network in September 1978 and it was one of the most spectacular shows ever produced for television. The special Emmy Award winning costume designs from Jean-Pierre Dorléac contributed to the unique look and feel of the Battlestar Galactica universe. One of the most prolific and loved costumes is the Colonial Warrior costume, but did Jean-Pierre Dorléac really design it?

In the wake of the success of the 1977 film Star Wars, Glen Larson created Battlestar Galactica. The series of television movies (and later TV series) was based on a story called Adam's Ark that Glen Larson wrote almost a decade earlier in the late 1960s. Man was setting foot on the moon, science fiction subgenres like Space Opera and Space Western suddenly made science fiction more accessible to a wider audience. Television series like Lost in Space and Star Trek quickly picked up on that, but the cancellation of both series led to a loss of interest by the studios. Also Glen Larson didn't get any financial backing for his Adam's Ark project until Star Wars reignited the worldwide interest in science fiction in 1977.

In the 1960s science fiction comics were also immensely popular, yet EC Comics were almost driven out of business by the wave of anti-comics feeling stirred-up among parents and educators by Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent. In spite of the opposition, science fiction comics did continue to come out, also for an adolescent audience in the form of hippy underground comics. In Europe on the other hand science fiction comics were immensely popular with a much wider audience existing of both children and adults. In the UK magazines like Eagle and Look and Learn were publishing science fiction series like Dan Dare and The Trigan Empire. In France, magazines like Pilote and later Métal Hurlant were publishing graphic novels that were specifically aimed at a more adolescent audience rather than children. Graphic novel artists like Jean (Mœbius) Giraud, Enki Bilal, Jean-Claude Mézières and Philippe Druillet were spearheading that movement.



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



In 1966 French graphic novel artist Phillippe Druillet creates the character Lone Sloane. Lone Sloane's eight adventure is called Delirius and is probably Phillippe Druillet's best work. The imagery is deeply layered in scale -- the finest pen-marks turn out to be human forms wrenched from Dante's Inferno. At larger scale, he builds textures up from textures, crushing the tiniest humans into mere structure. His figures are often grotesques. The major characters, especially women, are rendered in human ways. He often uses degree of grotesquerie to show degree of human worth, and precious little worth is to be seen. The book was first published in 1973 in French and English and has long been out of print. The serious reader of comics and comic art will find much to enjoy here, or at least to study... especially to Battlestar Galactica fans! Cosmic freebooter/adventurer Lone Sloane must have impressed Jean-Pierre Dorléac, since the Battlestar Galactica's Colonial Warrior costume is an EXACT copy of the costume Loan Sloane is wearing in Delirius. But let me start to feast your eyes on some of the splash pages from this great graphic novel.



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



This was all just background history and I know you're all dying to see what the fuss is about in relationship to the Colonial Warrior costume from Battlestar Galactica. In Phillippe Druillet's Delirius the Lone Sloane character wears multiple outfits in the different chapters of the story. Though I will show Jean-Pierre Dorléac might have used costume elements from other chapters as well, it's the chapter "Rose" which gives the most conclusive evidence that this isn't all just coincidental or him being inspired by it -- he made an EXACT copy of Phillippe Druillet's costume design! The image below shows Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane wearing the costume that Jean-Pierre Dorléac copied for the Colonial Warrior costume for Battlestar Galactica (mind again: Phillippe Druillet's image was published in 1973, a good 4 years before the preproduction of Battlestar Galactica started). Since not all of you are costume experts and probably only vaguely know all the details of Jean-Pierre Dorléac's Colonial Warrior costume, I added Jean-Pierre Dorléac's design below Phillippe Druillet's image as a first way of comparing the two.



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorleac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorléac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)



This goes beyond both of them wearing a dark brown jacket with shoulder patches (though it's stunning to see that even the colors match). Check the images below to see how far the match between Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane costume and Jean-Pierre Dorléac's Colonial Warrior costume goes. I'll start with the jacket. The pattern on the jacket is an EXACT match, from left to right -- even the amount of buckles fits.



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorleac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorléac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)



For the next comparisons, I'd like to use an earlier version of Jean-Pierre Dorléac's Colonial Warrior costume design. The image below shows the boots how Jean-Pierre Dorléac first intended them, BEFORE Glen Larson asked him to change them in the motorcycle boots as shown in the Starbuck image above (the motorcylce boots ended up being used on screen in the Battlestar Galactica series). These earlier boots were another copy of the Lone Sloane version. This earlier version of the Colonial Warrior costume also shows the gun holster legstrap, similar to the one in the Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane image.



Colonial Warrior (earlier version) by Jean-Pierre Dorleac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Colonial Warrior (earlier version) by Jean-Pierre Dorléac for Battlestar Galactica (1978)



Images below show Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane and Jean-Pierre Dorléac's Colonial Warrior with matching direction of the lose hanging gunbelt (including a similar belt pattern!), a matching amount of buckles and spare rounds on the belt, the gun on the side and the gun holster legstrap.



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorleac (earlier version) for Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorléac (earlier version) for Battlestar Galactica (1978)



Next up are the boots. Again matching patterns on Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane boots and Jean-Pierre Dorléac's Colonial Warrior boots ...AND one funny extra detail: both Lone Sloane's boots are alike, but because of the perspective Phillippe Druillet drew them in a way that the top part is "lost" on the left leg. In Jean Pierre Dorléac's design we see this come back as two different boots. Did Jean-Pierre Dorléac use this EXACT image to copy the design?!?



Lone Sloane: Delirius by Phillipe Druillet (1973)

Lone Sloane by Phillipe Druillet (1973)



Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorleac (earlier version) for Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Colonial Warrior by Jean-Pierre Dorléac (earlier version) for Battlestar Galactica (1978)



Let me shed some light on how Jean-Pierre Dorléac probably came in touch with the work of Phillippe Druillet. The most obvious one is that Jean-Pierre Dorléac is a fellow countryman. Since the art and work of Phillippe Druillet was published in the late 1960s in magazines like Pilote and Métal Hurlant, it may very well be Jean-Pierre Dorléac saw the art before moving to the United States in 1968. Next to that while visiting Paris, American publisher Leonard Mogel saw the Métal Hurlant magazine, loved it, licensed the American version and began publishing it as Heavy Metal in April 1977. The new, glossy, full-color monthly started publishing old, translated work from the Métal Hurlant magazine, including the old work of Phillippe Druillet. Only one month after the first issue of Heavy Metal came out, on May 25th, 1977, Star Wars boosted the science fiction industry, including the popularity of the Heavy Metal magazine. George Lucas made no secret that he was a fan of the work of Phillippe Druillet. He asked him to make this gouache, based on the Star Wars film. This shows Phillippe Druillet's work was at least known and loved in the American film industry as well.



Star Wars by Phillipe Druillet (1977)

Star Wars by Phillipe Druillet (1977)



The Battlestar Galactica series has been haunted with accusations of copyright infringement, especially in regards to the special effects (similar effects that were used on Star Wars). Be that as it may, we're in that case talking about people from ILM copying THEMSELVES, reusing THEIR OWN work and techniques on a different show, etc. This however goes beyond that. On another article, The History of the Cylon Centurion Costume, we already showed how Jean-Pierre Dorléac used his prerogative as a costume designer to make insignificant changes to the Cylon Centurion costume design and sign his name to it. This sounds "okay", seen in the light how work was done back in the day, but it basically meant he burglarized Andrew Probert's Cylon Centurion costume design and turned it into his own credit without ever notifying him.



Cylon Centurion costume design for Battlestar Galactica by Andrew Probert

Cylon Centurion costume design for Battlestar Galactica by Andrew Probert



Cylon Centurion costume design made by Jean-Pierre Dorleac

Cylon Centurion costume design for Battlestar Galactica by Jean-Pierre Dorléac



Now we found he actually stole the costume design of Phillippe Druillet's Lone Sloane character and used it as the Colonial Warrior costume on Battlestar Galactica. The Colonial Warrior and the Cylon Centurion are THE most prolific and loved costumes of the Battlestar Galactica series. Those were the costumes with which Jean-Pierre Dorléac won the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Costume Design for a Series".



Special thanks goes out to James Mobius for making this article possible.

 
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