August 28, 1971 |
La Fille du professeur
Le chat du rabbin
Life and career
Sfar was born in Nice, the son of Lilou, a pop singer, who died when he was three, and André Sfar, a lawyer well-known for prosecuting Neo-Nazis. As a result of his mother's early death, Sfar was raised by his father and maternal grandfather, a military doctor of Ukranian origin in the Alsace-Lorraine Independent Brigade (France) during World War II. Sfar's grandfather reportedly saved the right hand of the brigade's leader, novelist André Malraux, for which he was awarded French citizenship.
A wildly prolific artist, he is considered one of the most important artists of the new wave of Franco-Belgian comics, though he has rejected the assertion that he, along with artists like Christophe Blain, Marjane Satrapi, and Lewis Trondheim, sought to create an alternative scene or a new movement in comics. Many of his comics were published by L'Association which was founded in 1990 by Jean-Christophe Menu and six other artists. He also worked together with many of the group's main artists, e.g. David B. and Lewis Trondheim. The Donjon series which he created with Trondheim has a cult following in many countries.
Some of his comics are inspired by his Jewish heritage. Sfar is the son of Jewish parents (an Ashkenazi mother whose family was from the Ukraine and a Sephardic father).  He himself says that there is Ashkenazi humor in his Professeur Bell series (loosely based on Joseph Bell), whereas Le chat du rabbin is clearly inspired by his Sephardic side. Les olives noires is a series about a Jewish child in Israel at the time of Jesus. Like Le chat du rabbin, the series contains a lot of historical and theological information.
From 2009 to 2010, Sfar wrote and directed Gainsbourg: Vie Héroïque, a biopic of the illustrious French songwriter and singer, of whom Sfar is a self-confessed fanatic. The film, which draws substantially on Sfar's abilities as a comic book artist through its extensive use of fantasy artwork, animation and puppetry, was released in 2010 to general critical acclaim.
- Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East, First Second Books, New York, 2006.
- Vampire Loves, First Second Books, New York, 2006.
- Sardine in Outer Space, 6 volumes, with Emmanuel Guibert, First Second Books, New York, 2006-2008.
- The Professor's Daughter, with Emmanuel Guibert, First Second Books, New York, 2007.
- The Rabbi's Cat, Pantheon, 2007.
- The Rabbi's Cat 2, Pantheon, 2008.
- Little Vampire, First Second Books, New York, 2008.
- Dungeon (since 1998, with Lewis Trondheim and collective)
- The Little Prince (Comic Adaptation), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2010.
- Petrus Barbygère (with Pierre Dubois, scenario)
- Les Potamoks (with José-Luis Munuera, art)
- La Fille du professeur (1997, with Emmanuel Guibert (art), Dupuis, ISBN 2-8001-2481-4)
- Le petit monde du Golem (1998, L'Association, ISBN 2-909020-98-3)
- Troll (with Olivier Boiscommun, art)
- 3. Mille et un ennuis (1999, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-276-0)
- Professeur Bell (from #3, with Hervé Tanquerelle, art)
- 1. Le mexicain à deux têtes (1999, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-257-4)
- 2. Les poupées de Jérusalem (2000, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-432-1)
- 3. Le cargo du Roi Singe (2002, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-752-5)
- 4. Promenade des Anglaises (2003, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84789-187-0)
- 5. L'Irlande à bicyclette (2006, Delcourt, ISBN 2-7560-0013-2)
- Grand Vampire
- 1. Cupidon s'en fout (2001, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-526-3)
- 2. Mortelles en tête (2002, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-809-2)
- 3. Transatlantique en solitaire (2002, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84055-941-2)
- 4. Quai des brunes (2003, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84789-000-9)
- Books 1-4 published in English as Vampire Loves (2006, First Second, ISBN 1-59643-093-1)
- 5. La Communauté des magiciens (2004, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84789-262-1)
- 6. Le peuple est un Golem (2005, Delcourt, ISBN 2-84789-494-2)
- Les olives noires (with Emmanuel Guibert, art)
- Le chat du rabbin
- 1. La Bar-Mitsva (2002, Dargaud, ISBN 2-205-05207-1)
- 2. Le Malka des Lions (2002, Dargaud, ISBN 2-205-05369-8)
- 3. L'exode (2003, Dargaud, ISBN 2-205-05497-X)
- Books 1-3 published in English as The Rabbi's Cat (2005, Pantheon, ISBN 0-375-42281-1)
- 4. Le Paradis Terrestre (2005, Dargaud, ISBN 2-205-05725-1)
- 5. Jérusalem d'Afrique (2006, Dargaud, ISBN 2-205-05868-1)
- Books 4-5 published in English as The Rabbi's Cat 2 (2008, Pantheon, ISBN 0-375-42507-1)
Filmography as a director
- Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (2010)
- The Rabbi's Cat (2011), released June 2011 (French title: Le Chat du Rabbin)
- L'éternel (2013, Albin Michel, ISBN 2-22-624685-1)
- 1998: Award for First Comic Book and René Goscinny Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, France
- 2000: Nominated for Best Comic Book and for the Youth Award (9 to 12 years) at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2001: Nominated for Best Scenario and for the Humour Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2002: Nominated for Best Artwork and the Canal BD Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2003: Oecumenic Jury Award and Polish award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- Nominated for Best Comic Book, for the Canal BD Award, and for the Prix de la critique at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2004: Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême: 30th anniversary prize, France
- 2005: Nominated for Best Artwork at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2006: Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material at the Eisner Awards, United States
- Nominated for the Audience Award and for Best Series at the Angoulême International Comics Festival
- 2007: Sproing Award, for Best Foreign translated material, Rabbinerens katt (Le chat du rabbin), Norway
- Nominated for Outstanding Series at the Ignatz Awards, United States
- Joann Sfar albums Bedetheque (French)
- Télérama. "Joann Sfar".
- Blog BD de Nice-Matin. "Joann Sfar: "Je pense à un film sur Jacques Médecin"".
- L'Express. "Interview de Joann Sfar".
- Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Joann Sfar".
- George Robinson (2011-08-23). "Being Serge Gainsbourg". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Bellefroid, Thierry. "Interview de Joann Sfar". BDParadisio.(French)
- Balaresque, Nicolas. "Entretien avec Joann Sfar". Parutions.com.(French)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joann Sfar.|
- Joann Sfar at the Internet Movie Database
- Le petit monde de Joan Sfar (French)
- Le vaste monde de Joann Sfar (French)
- Joann Sfar biography on Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Joann Sfar interview on BDParadisio (French)
- Joann Sfar interview on Parutions (French)
- Joann Sfar interview on NPR