Claire Bretécher – RIP

Famed French cartoonist Claire Bretécher has passed away.

Claire Bretécher
April 7, 1940 – February 10
*, 2020
* A number of early reports gave February 11 as the date of passing.

“Women in comic strips are usually portrayed either as shrews or movie stars. But in real life, women, like men, are neither of these extremes, so I portray women and men alike, except that the women have two little round things on their chest.” – Claire Bretécher

Le Figaro and Le Monde are just two of the many French newspapers paying tribute to Claire.

In 2016 Cynthia Rose wrote an appreciation for The Comics Journal:

Initially she shared the fascination for US comics. Although Bretécher loved the minimal gags of Jean-Jacques Sempé (then visible every week in L’Express), the comic art that most intrigued her was coming out of New York. She adored MAD magazine, Jules Feiffer and the strips by Johnny Hart and Brant Parker.

The latter’s Wizard of Id inspired her early efforts Robin des Foies, Baratine et Molgaga and Cellulite. All of these series feature medieval kingdoms, dim protagonists and crabby heroines. Deliberately peppered with ’60s anachronisms, most of their humour is aimed at social hierarchies. Yet each contains its glimpse of the ligne Claire to come, with its amazingly concise distillations of character. Critics soon became aware that, as Kim Thompson once wrote, “Bretécher’s bizarre faces can convey any feeling or any mixture of feelings”.

During her formative years, Bretécher free-lanced tirelessly. She worked at TinTin in ’65 and ’66, for Spirou in ’68 and, starting in ’69, for Goscinny at Pilote. Although determined to live by her art alone, she found it difficult. “Today that period gets held up as a golden age. But it was really atrocious, always moving from squat to squat.”

By the mid-’70s Bretécher was a star

update: Now upon the death of the artist the same Cynthia Rose offers another tribute.

European Masters: Claire Bretécher from Europe Comics
and Claire’s Lambiek Comiclopedia entry have more praise and background.

I only knew Claire’s work from decades ago as seen in National Lampoon.

Claire’s Facebook page has links to tributes from around the world.




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