Enki Bilal in March 2010
October 7, 1951
Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia
|Area(s)||Comics artist, writer, director|
|Nikopol Trilogy, Légendes d'Aujourd'hui, Partie de chasse|
Bilal was born in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia, to a Czeck mother, Ana, who came to Belgrade as child from Karlovy Vary, and a Bosnian father, Muhamed Hamo Bilal, from Ljubuški, who had been Josip Broz Tito's tailor. When he was five years old, his father managed to take a trip and stay in Paris as a political emigre. Enki and the rest of the family, his mother Ana and sister Enisa, stayed in Yugoslavia, and four years later they followed.
Education and career
At age 14, he met René Goscinny and with his encouragement applied his talent to comics. He produced work for Goscinny's Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote in the 1970s, publishing his first story, Le Bol Maudit, in 1972.
In 1975, Bilal began working with script writer Pierre Christin on a series of dark and surreal tales, resulting in the body of work titled Légendes d'Aujourd'hui.
In 1983, Bilal was asked by film director Alain Resnais to collaborate on his film La vie est un roman, for which Bilal provided painted images that were incorporated in the "medieval" episodes of the film.
He is best known for the Nikopol trilogy (La Foire aux immortels, La Femme piège and Froid Équateur), which took more than a decade to complete. Bilal wrote the script and did the artwork. The final chapter, Froid Équateur, was chosen book of the year by the magazine Lire and is acknowledged by the inventor of chess boxing, Iepe Rubingh as the inspiration for the sport.
Quatre? (2007), the last book in the Hatzfeld tetralogy, deals with the breakup of Yugoslavia from a future viewpoint. The first installment came in 1998 in the shape of Le Sommeil du Monstre opening with the main character, Nike, remembering the war in a series of traumatic flashbacks. The third chapter of the tetralogy is Rendez-vous à Paris (2006), which was the fifth best selling new comic of 2006, with 280,000 copies sold.
His cinematic career was revived with the expensive Immortel, his first attempt to adapt his books to the screen. The film divided critics, some panning the use of CGI characters but others seeing it as a faithful reinterpretation of the books.
On May 13, 2008 a video game based on the Nikopol trilogy was announced titled Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals. Published in North America by Got Game Entertainment in August 2008, the game is a "point and click" adventure for the PC; however, the Lead Designer was Benoit Sokal and not Bilal himself, who was the art designer, along with Yoshitaka Amano, for the video game Beyond Good and Evil 2.
In 2012, Bilal was featured in a solo exhibition at The Louvre. The exhibition, titled "The Ghosts of the Louvre", ran from December 20, 2012 to March 18, 2013. The exhibition was organized by Fabrice Douar, and featured a series of paintings of "Ghosts", done atop photographs that Bilal took of the Louvre's collection.
- 1980: Prix RTL – for best adult comic
- 1987: Angoulême Festival, France, Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême
- 1993: Best book of the year Award from Lire magazine
- 1997: Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, Special Mention
- 1999: Adamson Award, Sweden, for Best International Comic Book Cartoonist
- 1999: Angoulême Festival, Nominated for Best comic book
- 2004: Angoulême Festival, Nominated for Audience award
- 2004: Fantasia Ubisoft Festival, Gold medal for Best Groundbreaking Film, Bronze Medal for Best International Film (public prizes)
- 2006: International Horror Guild Award, Best Illustrated Narrative, for Memories
- (written by Pierre Christin)
- La Croisière des oubliés, 1975 (The Cruise of Lost Souls, also translated as The Voyage Of Those Forgotten)
- Le Vaisseau de pierre, 1976 (Ship of Stone, also translated as Progress!)
- La ville qui n'existait pas, 1977 (The Town That Didn't Exist, also translated as The City That Didn't Exist)
The series was published in English sequentially in Heavy Metal Magazine, as stand-alone graphic novels and as a single volume collection (Townscapes, 2004).
- La Foire aux immortels (The Carnival of Immortals, 1980)
- La Femme piège (The Woman Trap, 1986)
- Froid Équateur (Cold Equator, 1992)
The Dormant Beast
(Original French title of the tetralogy: Le Sommeil du monstre)
- Le Sommeil du monstre (The Dormant Beast, 1998)
- 32 Décembre (December 32, 2003)
- Rendez-vous à Paris (2006)
- Quatre? (Four?, 2007)
Trilogie du Coup de sang
- Mémoires d'outre-espace, Histoires courtes 1974–1977 (Memories From Outer Space, 1978)
- Exterminateur 17 (Exterminator 17, 1979; written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet)
- Les Phalanges de l'ordre noir (The Black Order Brigade, 1979; written by Pierre Christin)
- Partie de chasse (The Hunting Party, 1983; written by Pierre Christin)
- Los Angeles – L'Étoile oubliée de Laurie Bloom (Los Angeles – The Forgotten Star of Laurie Bloom, 1984)
- Hors Jeu (Off Play, 1987; with Patrick Cauvin)
- Coeurs sanglants et autres faits divers (Bleeding Hearts and Other Stories, 1988; written by Pierre Christin)
- Bleu Sang (Blue Blood, 1994)
- Mémoires d'autre temps, Histoires courtes 1971–1981 (Memories From Other Times, 1996)
- EnkiBilalAnDeuxMilleUn (EnkiBilalInTwoThousandOne, 1996)
- Tykho Moon – livre d'un film (Tykho Moon – Book of a film, 1996)
- Un siècle d'Amour (A century of Love , 1999)
- Le Sarcophage (The Sarcophagus, 2000)
- Magma (2000)
- The Chaos Effect (reprint of Les Phalanges de l'ordre noir and Partie de chasse, 2005)
- Les fantômes du Louvre (2012 Futuropolis)
- BUG (Tome 1, 2017)
- BUG (Tome 2, 2019)
Comics in Heavy Metal Magazine
From its start through the Eighties Bilal was a frequent guest in American Heavy Metal Magazine. Many famous Bilal comics made their English debut in this period of the magazine. Although shorter stories appeared later in the Nineties, Heavy Metal readers had to wait until 2012 for another graphic novel feature from Bilal.
|English title||Date (start)||Issue (start)||Date (end)||Issue (end)||Writer||Number |
|Exterminator 17||1978/10||Vol. 2 No. 6||1979/03||Vol. 2 No. 11||Jean-Pierre Dionnet||60|
|Progress!||1980/07||Vol. 4 No. 4||1980/11||Vol. 4 No. 8||Pierre Christin||54|
|The Nikopol Trilogy: The Immortals' Fete||1981/05||Vol. 5 No. 2||1981/12||Vol. 5 No. 9||Enki Bilal||62|
|The Voyage of Those Forgotten||1982/04||Vol. 6 No. 1||1982/11||Vol. 6 No. 8||Pierre Christin||52|
|The City That Didn't Exist||1983/03||Vol. 6 No. 12||1983/09||Vol. 7 No. 6||Pierre Christin||54|
|The Hunting Party||1984/06||Vol. 8 No. 3||1985/03||Vol. 8 No. 12||Pierre Christin||82|
|The Nikopol Trilogy: The Trapped Woman||1986/Fall||Vol. 10 No. 3||same as start||Enki Bilal||54|
|Animal'z||2012/03||March 2012||2014/04||270||Enki Bilal||87|
|English title||Date||Issue||Note||Number of pages|
|Crossroads of the Universe||1977/07||Vol. 1 No. 4||reprinted in Greatest Hits 1994||7|
|The Death of Orlaon, or: Legendary Immortality||1978/07||Vol. 2 No. 3||reprinted in The Best of 1982||4|
|Ultimate Negotiations||1979/01||Vol. 2 No. 9||4|
|True Tales of Outer Space: The Planet Of No Return||1979/02||Vol. 2 No. 10||7|
|Going Native||1979/04||Vol. 2 No. 12||7|
|The Road to Ruin||1980/02||Vol. 3 No. 10||written by Pierre De La Varech||2|
|Of Needle and Thread||1980/04||Vol. 4 No. 1||reprinted in hardcover version of Greatest Hits 1994||4|
|Only the Plitch||1980/05||Vol. 4 No. 2||reprinted in The Best of No. 2 1986||10|
|Amusing Stories Section: A Day in the Log of the City of Alger||1982/08||Vol. 6 No. 5||written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet||4|
|Enki Bilal Enters the World of Hardcore Science Fiction||1983/10||Vol. 7 No. 7||Art gallery||7|
|The Gray Man||1984/09||Vol. 9 No. 6||reprinted in Greatest Hits 1994||1|
|Over the Wall||1984||Son of Heavy Metal||4|
|The Leader's Surprise||1997/07||Vol. 21 No. 3||4|
|Mondovision||1997/11||Vol. 21 No. 5||4|
|Close the Shutters and Open Your Eyes||1997||Horror Special – Vol. 11 No 1||10|
|On The Wing||1997/Fall||20 Years of Heavy Metal – Vol. 11 No. 2||7|
|New York, 2000 AD.||1998/01||Vol. 21 No. 6||4|
|The Slow Boat to Vega||1998/03||Vol. 22 No. 1||4|
Comic Book Albums
- The Call of the Stars (March 1979. Flying Buttress Publications ISBN 0-918348-02-1, ISBN 978-0-918348-02-9)
A collection of short stories.
Catalan Communications (NY publishing house)
- Exterminator 17 (June 1986. 60 pages ISBN 0-87416-024-3, ISBN 978-0-87416-024-6)
- Gods in Chaos: A Graphic Novel (February 1988. ISBN 0-87416-049-9, ISBN 978-0-87416-049-9) – First installment of the Nikopol Trilogy
- The Woman Trap (May 1988. ISBN 0-87416-050-2, ISBN 978-0-87416-050-5) – Second installment of the Nikopol Trilogy
- The Town That Didn't Exist (February 1989. 56 pages. ISBN 0-87416-051-0, ISBN 978-0-87416-051-2)
- The Ranks of the Black Order (June 1989. 80 pages. ISBN 0-87416-052-9, ISBN 978-0874160529)
- The Hunting Party (March 1990. ISBN 0-87416-053-7)
- Outer States (July 1990. ISBN 0-87416-085-5, ISBN 978-0-87416-085-7)
Hardcover, large format books
- The Nikopol Trilogy (February 2000. 176 pages. ISBN 0-9672401-2-3)
- The Black Order Brigade (May 2000. 88 pages, hardcover. ISBN 0-9672401-8-2, ISBN 978-0-9672401-8-3)
- Ship of stone (2001. ISBN 1-930652-39-9, ISBN 978-1-930652-39-2)
- The Cruise of Lost Souls (2001. 56 pages ISBN 1-930652-38-0, ISBN 978-1-930652-38-5)
- The Hunting Party (March 2002. 100 pages. ISBN 0-9672401-7-4)
- Memories From Outer Space (April 2002. 52 pages. ISBN 1-930652-26-7)
- Exterminator 17 (June 2002. 66 pages. ISBN 1-930652-50-X)
- The Dormant Beast (October 5, 2002. 72 pages. ISBN 1-930652-83-6, ISBN 978-1-930652-83-5)
- The Town That Didn't Exist (March 2003. 56 pages, Hardcover. ISBN 1-930652-37-2, ISBN 978-1-930652-37-8)
The Bilal Library: (small format – 190 × 260 cm – paperbacks)
- Townscapes (July 1, 2004. 176 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0361-2)
- The Beast Trilogy: Chapters 1& 2 (September 29, 2004. 128 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0398-1)
- The Nikopol Trilogy (November 10, 2004. 176 pages ISBN 1-4012-0384-1)
- The Chaos Effect (January 19, 2005. 168 pages) Containing The Black Order Brigade and The Hunting Party
- Memories (April 20, 2005. 144 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0380-9) Contains Memories of Outer Space and Memories of Outer Times
Hardcover, large format books
- The Nikopol Trilogy (April 2016. 183 pages. ISBN 1-7827635-3-8)
- Exterminator 17 (November 2018. 128 pages. ISBN 1-7858673-3-4)
- Monster (September 2019. 264 pages. ISBN 1-7858687-3-X)
- Život bez formata;Popboks, December 26, 2007
- Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Enki Bilal".
- Dr. Halid Sadiković (September 12, 2013). "Enki Bilal". Ljubušaci.com (in Bosnian). Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- Beatty, Bart (January 3, 2007). "ACBD Status Report for 2006". The Comics Reporter.
- Louvre Exhibitions (December 20, 2012). "The Ghosts of the Louvre, Enki Bilal".
- Enki Bilal biography bilal.enki.free.fr
- ToutEnBD. "Le Palmarès 1987" (in French). Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
- Dutrey, Jacques (July 1987). "Enki Bilal Wins Top Prize at Angoulême". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (116): 130.
- La Médiathèque. "1997". Archived from the original on May 27, 2012.
- Press release Fantasia Ubisoft 2004 Festival
- "IHG Award Recipients (2005)". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
- [Hervé St.Louis: Interview with Terry Nantier – Publisher of NBM Publishing on Comic Book Bin]
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