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Philippe Bertrand, 1949-2010
posted May 17, 2010


The French-language comics news clearinghouse is reporting the passing of Philippe Bertrand.

Philippe Bertrand was born in Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle in north central France. His initial work upon leaving school came as a designer in the early '70s on such publications as Partisans and L'Idiot International. By mid-decade, he was providing a lengthy client list -- including Charlie Hebdo -- with illustrations and making personal comics such as 1979's A cet instant aux antipodes.

imageBertrand was perhaps best-known for his erotic work, which he began to work on in earnest in 1983. He employed an off-beat style that sabotaged a lot of the standard erotic signposts in comics art. He called his approach "nouvelle manière." The look of that art, the basic visual approach it embodied, became popular above and beyond the comics in which it was employed. Perhaps its biggest showcase in comics was in the Linda Aime L'Art series in Pilote, which was republished in three stand-alone albums between 1985 and 1992. The success of that work in comics form provided Bertrand with opportunities in areas as disparate as illustration and stage design. It also led to a memorable exhibition at Galerie Lambiek in the early 1990s. The Linda story was even animated.

Bertrand worked a writer for other artists at various points throughout his long career, coming to depend on that model more and more in his later years. Among his creative partners when working as a writer only were Jean-Marie de Busscher (Olympia, published in A Suivre in 1984), Elisabeth Brami (a children's book entitled Les Petits delices from Seuil Jeunesse in 1997), Frederic Beigbeder (two volumes of Rester normal with Dargaud in 2002 and 2004), and Jean Teule (Le Montespan, published by Delcourt in 2008). He also wrote and drew solo books for Futuropolis, a rock magazine called Best and Les Humanoides Associes. He made CD-ROM game called Bugmonsters and was a longtime illustrator for Le Monde in what has been described as a full and significant career.

Philippe Bertrand had just turned 61. His death came after a long period of illness.