Country of origin: France Europe Comics Publisher: Dargaud Benelux (Belgium)
Yann Balac'h was born and raised in Brittany, developing a particular passion for Breton culture and traditions over his school years, and spent much of his spare time playing the Breton pipe and practicing Breton wrestling. At the age of 23, he had an epiphany while visiting the Saint Tugdual church at Concarneau: he decided to become a craftsman of stained-glass windows. He got his qualifications and tried to make a living from his art, but job openings were few and far between. It was after finishing his master’s degree that he discovered comic books, at the Saint-Mayeux festival, and he soon launched into his very first comic book creation: Les exploits de la patrouille des Macareux. It was turned down by the newspaper Ouest-France, but was eventually published in an obscure Belgian comics weekly... named Spirou. That's where he met the artist Hislaire, with whom he started working on Sambre, which was initially set in Brittany... until Hislaire decided he'd prefer it to be in the South of France. Disappointed by this “betrayal,” Yann abandoned comic books, and soon made his way over to the US, where he began to explore “nose art” techniques (the decoration of airplane cockpits) alongside ex-US Air Force pilots. The years went by, with one profession following the next, until he crossed paths back in France with artist Joel Parnotte. The two of them hit it off, and decided to create the Sang des Porphyre saga, based on a true story about a family of bloodthirsty pirates who terrorized the coast of Saint-Malo in the 18th century. He would stick to comics from there on out, and he has now established himself as one of today’s most prominent writers. He has illustrated the striking historical fiction series Pin-Up (Dargaud 1994, Europe Comics 2017), alongside artist Philippe Berthet, and later partnered with the legendary André Juillard for Mezek (Le Lombard 2011, Europe Comics 2016), a fast-moving drama about mercenary fighters at the dawn of the Israeli state. Starting in 2011, Yann also contributed his writing talents to the legendary series Thorgal, giving rise to the sub-series Louve and, a few years later, Thorgal - The Early Years (Le Lombard; Europe Comics in English), in tandem with artist Roman Surzhenko.