Jean-Claude Mézières


In spite of his training in the applied arts in 1950s Paris, it wouldn't be through wallpaper designs that Jean-Claude Mézières would make his name. It was actually his childhood passion for comic books that would be the guiding light of his career. Way back in 1967, he and his friend Pierre Christin created the sci-fi characters Valerian and Laureline for Pilote magazine, never once imagining that the collection would amount to over 20 titles, and become one of the classics of Franco-Belgian comics. Mézières was awarded the Grand Prix of Angoulême festival in 1984. While Valerian might be his only full series, Mézières likes to mix things up a bit. In 1987, he and Christin produced Lady Polaris, a fictional documentary on the ports of Europe. Then, in 1991, the pair came up with an encyclopedia called Les Habitants du Ciel, a study of all the fantastical creatures that Valerian and Laureline come across in their cosmic adventures. In 1992 Mézières was approached by Luc Besson to create the futuristic set design for the film The Fifth Element. Mézières brought his personal touch to the film, as well as the flying taxis that Valerian took during Les Cercles du pouvoir (The Circles of Power, Europe Comics/Cinebook 2016).  In 2000 Mézières was asked by the French Southern and Antarctic Lands to produce a set of stamps for the territories. Four further sets were published over the next few years, and allowed him to spend a month on the ship "Marion Dufresne" on a tour of the Austral Islands in the Indian Ocean. During the cultural project Lille 2004, you simply couldn't miss Mézières’ “Star Path,” a gigantic astroport installed in the town center. In 2006 the San Diego Comic Con awarded Mézières with an Inkpot Award, and a few years later, in 2010, the final volume of Valerian and Laureline's adventures was released. But Christin and Mézières would never abandon their famous creations, and have continued working on expanding their world ever since... Awarded the Grand Prix of the city of Angoulême in 1984, as well as an Inkpot Award at the ComicCon in San Diego in 2006, and the Max & Moritz prize at the Erlangen fair in 2018, Jean-Claude Mézières never ceased to make his readers dream and to inspire his fellow artists through his work. The director Avril Tembouret dedicated a documentary film to him, L'Histoire de la page 52, which retraces the design of a page from a Valerian and Laureline adventure. In September 2021, the publisher Dargaud paid tribute to him with L'Art de Mézières, an illustrated book that reviews his career as a comics artist, from his unpublished childhood drawings to his most recent works. A graphic assessment that Jean-Claude, in the file sent to the press, summarized with a sadly premonitory remark: "That’s a wrap! This will clearly be my last book. At 83, it is better to close the door and withdraw without making too much noise...". Jean-Claude Mézières passed away on January 23, 2022.

Country of origin: France Europe Comics Publisher: Dargaud (France)