The comic book that broke through time and space

In this article, we will show you the comic that broke time and space. It breaks with the 2-dimensional scheme that we commonly see in traditional comics.

The artist shows us present, past and future in the same story, going through moments that will really leave you perplexed, for all that this entails. Without further ado, read on!

Breaking space and time in an extraordinary way

If you think you know everything about comics, this post will prove you otherwise. The narrative of the stories, in most cases, usually follows the same logical rules about space and time.

Thus, their drawings usually represent in 2 dimensions the characters and elements that are part of that comic, but a comic book artist, has decided, to reflect on those already established rules, and kick the board in a really surprising way.

el comic que rompió el tiempo y el espacio

Check out the comic book series that broke time and space, by Marc Antoine Mathieu.

Marc Antoine Mathieu, French screenwriter and cartoonist, has created a series of experimental comics called Julius Corentin Acquefacques, prisoner of dreams.

In each of the volumes, Acquefacques, the central character, discovers certain imbalances in his two-dimensional world of the comic, we never know if he is dreaming, or awake (he wakes up frequently) something that already questions the notion of reality in the stories.

What is most striking in these comics, however, are the various temporal, spatial and dimensional paradoxes that Acquefacques (and we as readers) face in each volume.


Perhaps, you are wondering about the name of the main character, think about how Acquefacques would be pronounced in French, something like “Akfak” right? Now, reverse that sound and that’s right, Acquefacques is the phonetic reverse of Kafka, the famous Czech writer.

Logically, it is no coincidence the wink that Mathieu makes to the one who wrote books like the Metamorphosis.

The world of Acquefacques is very similar to that of Kafka’s stories, it is absurd, dreamlike, anguished, and surrounded by a bureaucratic atmosphere, with rules (or Processes) that alter the lives of its inhabitants.

Mathieu is a fan of the Argentine writer Borges, whom, according to his words, he reads periodically and has almost entered his unconscious.

The writer set out to play with the paradoxical, the surreal and the mathematical, as in his short story The Library of Babel.

Borges describes a library that seems to be infinite, but, by imposing certain absurd rules, it is not. Each book has a limit of 410 pages, with 40 lines each and 80 symbols per line.

Borges, like Mathieu with his comics, speculates on the possibilities of narrative universes.

Pay attention, what you are about to see will blow your mind!


The Origin: a hole in a comic page, past, present and future, in a single story.

L’Origine (The Origin, 1990) is the first volume of the Julius Corentin Acquefacques series.

Mathieu introduces us to Acquefacques, an employee of the Ministry of Humor, who discovers that he lives in a two-dimensional universe, contained in another three-dimensional one, in which the cartoonist himself lives.

This world is extremely bureaucratic and full of men. Yes, it is a world in which there are no women. According to the author’s words, the characters come from the imagination of the creator (himself) so they cannot procreate among themselves, they do not have the power to generate themselves.

In other words, they are empty characters with no control over their future. Interesting, isn’t it?

What is experimental in this comic, is that Acquefacques receives, at various points in the story, envelopes with pages of this same comic, which leads him to see himself in his past, present and future.

The problem of temporality escalates until we, readers of the comic, reach a page where there is literally a hole in the page.

From that “antivignette”, we can read what happens on previous or following pages, which produces an illustration displaced in time, a dejavu.


La Qu…: A surprising and innovative use of color

La Qu… (1991), is the second volume of the series, yes, the title is like that. Those ellipses indicate that a story with a great enigma is coming.

Acquefacques, between dreams or hallucinations, begins to wonder if his world takes place only in black and white (as in the previous comic).

On the contrary, he surprises us once again when he makes Acquefacques open a hatch in the white sky and discovers that the Qu… is nothing more and nothing less than the quadrichromie (quadrichromie in French). The pages of the comic book are now in color (4 colors to be exact) Great!

el comic que rompió con el tiempo y el espacio

The Process: a spiral in comics

Le Processus (The Process, 1993) is the third volume of the series, and one of the strangest.

The character wakes up one morning, and sees his double as a result of an alteration that makes him start to move forward, then, a chase begins, in which Acquefacques, wants to prevent his double from going to his meeting.

However, a vortex attracts him to a different world, that of the three dimensions, where his creator lives.

The main character manages to return to his two-dimensional world, but nothing is the same anymore. Or rather, EVERYTHING is the same, the time and space lag caused the character to relive infinitely the same actions, in an endless spiral.

In the comic book edition, Mathieu even incorporates a fold-out spiral cut out on a page. And there is still more.

comic espejado

The Beginning of the End: a mirrored comic strip

Le Début de la fin/La fin du début (The Beginning of the End or The End of the Beginning, 1995) is the fourth volume of the series.

Acquefacques, wakes up and notices that all the actions he performs are in reverse, as when he puts on his pajamas to go out in the street.

The whole story focuses on symmetry and reflections, until, in the central page of the comic, he goes through a mirror and relives the same story in the opposite direction.

Mathieu displays all his creativity, making the back cover of the edited comic totally symmetrical to the front cover, see?

imagen del comic que rompió el tiempo y el espacio
imagen inversa del comic


In the world of comics you can always experiment, in this case, it’s something wonderful what Mathieu achieved, going from past, to present, then to future, and so on, not to mention the changes from black and white to color and the super catchy plot of his stories.

I’m sorry to tell you, that’s as far as we get today, what did you think of this experimentation in comics? It remains for you to discover how Mathieu has broken with everything that can be predictable in the following volumes of Acquefacques.

He has even published a comic in 3D, can you imagine, we’ll show you in a future article! It’s really very interesting, and as it says in one part of the article, it will blow your mind, it’s fascinating.

Finally, you can gladly go back to the beginning of the post and read it again as many times as necessary.


Thierry Groensteen (1998-2002) Julius Corentin and me: interview with Marc-Antoine Mathieu.
9ème Art Magazine No.4
Macho Stadler Marta (2015) Julius Corentin Acquefacques, prisoner of dreams. Pensamiento Matemático Magazine, Volume V. Spain.

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