Born in 1966, French comic artist and writer Emmanuel Lepage, whose work Springtime in Chernobyl is being re-published this June by IDW Publishing, began developing his talent as an artist at just 13, He worked hard, aided by careful guidance of the creator of Bizu, Jean-Claude Fournier.
In 1983, the newspaper Ouest-France started featuring some of Lepage’s illustrations, and also published the artist’s first full album, La Fin du monde aura-t-elle lieu?, paid for out of his own pocket.
Also the creator of the fanzine Volapük, he had two albums of the Aventures de Kelvinn published by Ouest-France before getting his break with the major international comics publishers. In 1990, Le Lombard took on two volumes of L’Envoyé, written by Georges Pernin, based on Huguette Carrière’s novel. He and the writer Dieter then worked on the Nevé series for Glénat.
With his elegant drawing style and remarkable gift as a colourist, he got the recognition he deserved when he joined the prestigious “Aire Libre” collection at Dupuis in collaboration with the writer Anne Sibran.
La Terre sans mal reconstructs the lives of Amazonian Indians with incredible authenticity, as perceived by a French ethnologist while World War Two was raging in Europe.
He later continued with Aire Libre with the striking two-part series Muchacho, available here as a collection from Europe Comics.
Here’s a video (in French, obviously), featuring both the artist and his work…
A brand new art book, in French, full of his work, from publisher and art dealer Daniel Maghen, in collaboration with René Follet, will be released in May or June.
IDW Publishing also release a new edition of his award-winning graphic novel Springtime in Chernobyl in June, described as a memoir of disaster, death, and tragedy linking the events of the nuclear meltdown to the survivors who are still dealing with its effects.
April 26, 1986, Chernobyl: the reactor core of the nuclear power plant begins to melt. It is the greatest nuclear disaster of the twentieth century. A cloud laden with radionuclides travels thousands of miles in every direction, contaminating a populace unaware of its danger and who cannot protect themselves. At that time, Emmanuel Lepage was 19 years old, watching and listening, incredulous, to the news on television.
22 years later, April 2008: he travels to Chernobyl to report, both in writing and drawings, about the lives of the survivors and their children living on the highly contaminated land. Upon making the decision to travel there, Emmanuel has the feeling that he is defying death, and when he finds himself on a train to Ukraine, where the old power station is located, a question keeps popping up in his mind: What am I doing here?
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With thanks to artist David Roach for highlighting Emmanuel’s work