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Gilles Chaillet, 1946-2011
posted January 1, 2012


The artist and comics writer Gilles Chaillet died on September 14 in the small community of Margency just north of Paris. He was 65 years old.

Chaillet was born in Paris and as a child had twin passions: European history and serial adventure comics. He began working for Studios Dargaud in 1965 as a colorist, working on classic series like Blueberry. Chaillet's resume indicates he was something of a jack-of-all-trades early in his career: he published a couple of gag cartoons in Tintin in 1966, finished a Barbe-Rouge story in 1968 when its creator became ill, did any number of advertising and licensing jobs related to Dargaud characters and anonymously drew 14 small books featuring the adventures of Albert Uderzo's dog-character Idéfix.

His first public break came in 1976 with Jacques Martin on the Lefranc series, a gig the artist kept for the next two decades. He also worked on the Alix series and again with Martin drawing two installments of the Voyages d'Orion books and working on several of the texts throughout the series.

He is perhaps best known for his own creation, the serial Vasco about a young banking clerk in 14th Century Italy since collected in 23 albums. With writer Didier Convard on Le Triangle Secret and more recently Vinci. Those fans of the artist not aware of him for books like the Vasco series may known him for his impressive 2004 map-laden book Dans la Rome des Césars, a book that tapped Chaillet's extensive knowledge of the city and that time period. In the last decade he also wrote for other artists such as Bernard Capo (Tomelaine), Gine (Les Boucliers de Mars) and Christophe Ansar (Cognito).

A 24th volume of Vasco -- written but not drawn by the cartoonist -- will be released next year.