François Bourgeon

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François Bourgeon
FrançoisBourgeon october 2014.jpg
Born (1945-07-05) July 5, 1945 (age 71)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Area(s) artist, writer, colourist
Pseudonym(s) Bourgeon
Notable works
Les Passagers du vent
Les Compagnons du crépuscule
Le Cycle de Cyann
Awards full list

François Bourgeon (born July 5, 1945, Paris) is a French comics artist, author of several noted European comic books.


Bourgeon was originally educated as a master stained glass artist, but difficulties in finding employment and a passion for drawing altered his course onto a different career. Getting illustrations published in magazines from 1971 eventually led him to pursue graphic storytelling and to develop his craft over the next few years. When the Les passagers du vent (The Passengers of the Wind) series was serialised in Circus magazine in 1979, it became recognised as one of the most important European comic series of its era. His graphic novels have ranged from nautical and medieval historical fiction to science fiction, and characteristically, within settings of violence and sexuality, epic stories revolve around strong female characters. Isa, Mariotte and Cyann are the heroines of each their series, The Passagers of the Wind, The Twilight Companions and The Cyann Saga, respectively. Bourgeon is noted as a thorough researcher and his drawings, from 17th-century ships to 14th-century clothing, have a reputation for historical accuracy. For example, when working on The Passengers of the Wind, he did a vast amount of background reading, consulted academic specialists and visited the Maritime Museum in Nantes. For this series he also made scale models both of colonial architectural structures and one of the ships on which the main characters sail, in order to ensure that the dimensions and the interior layouts were correct.[1] He lives in Cornouaille in Brittany.

The Cyann Saga affair[edit]

Cyann Olsimar

When Bourgeon's usual editor since 1983, the family-owned company Casterman, was bought by the large corporation Flammarion, problems arose.[2] Bourgeon and Lacroix claimed that Flammarion had altered the sales numbers to slow down royalty payments to the authors, and then committed other irregularities. The authors took Flammarion to court in 1999. Flammarion countersued separately, charging the authors over failure to produce a new album of the Cyann series in less than three years. The contract between the authors and Casterman had never specified a fixed date or time period for producing any album, but despite this, on October 30, 2001, a court decided in favor of Flammarion and ordered the authors to produce an album (the third of the series), with a fine of €1000 per each day's delay. On April 27, 2004 an appeals court finally overturned the judgment of the previous court.[3] In the meantime these litigations had become a "cause célèbre" in France, because of the intellectual freedom questions and copyright issues they raised in literary circles. In the end, the authors got their liberty and their rights and the third album of the cycle finally came out in 2005, eight years after the previous one, through a different publishing house, Vents d'Ouest.

Nature of collaboration with Claude Lacroix[edit]

In an interview in the "Dare-Dare" program of Radio Suisse Romande (available on their Web site) and an interview on the site on the occasion of the February 2007 launch of "Les couleurs de Marcade" the most recent album in the "Cycle de Cyann" series, François Bourgeon revealed the nature of the collaboration between him and Claude Lacroix. For this most recent album as well as the others in the Cyann series Lacroix had the task of creating nearly all of the complex decors, natural or man made be they planets or islands, cities or buildings. In this way he created for Bourgeon the futuristic equivalent of the thorough documentation which had always been the basis for his previous series.

Lacroix, an old friend and collaborator of Bourgeon from times pre-dating those of his other series, created the decors and many of the more important objects of the Cyann series by making sketches and drawings and paintings, and also a few solid three-dimensional models at times. The solid model for the city in "Les couleurs de Marcade" took up several meters of space at Lacroix's home. The process for this universe-making was always interactive and non-exclusive. In some instances Bourgeon would choose to make himself some of those background sketches, and he would later show them to Lacroix for his opinion. Regardless of who initiated a sketch or large drawing, the two would exchange comments at all steps as the decor went from early sketch form to finished product within the BD.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Les Passagers du vent (The Passengers of the Wind)[edit]

Isa from
Passengers of the Wind

Les Compagnons du crépuscule (The Twilight Companions)[edit]

Le Cycle de Cyann (The Cyann Saga)[edit]

(with Claude Lacroix)




  1. ^ Screech, Matthew (2005). Masters of the Ninth Art: 'Bandes Dessinées' and Franco-Belgian Identity. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. pp. 192–193. ISBN 978-0853239383. 
  2. ^ Deppey, Dirk (2003-12-05). "François Bourgeon's war". The Comics Journal. 
  3. ^ Anspach, Nicolas (2004-05-21). "Bourgeon et Lacroix, enfin libres de créer à nouveau ?" (in French). 

External links[edit]