This one-pager by Yohan Sacré (25) finished first in the fourth Spirou Challenge, in which contestants were to create their own Spirou comic. It was printed, along with the four other winners, in Journal de Spirou #3979.
The magazine also ran an interview with Sacré:
Your Spirou is so dreamlike and mysterious!
I’ve carried this Spirou story within me for ten years. But I never thought it would be published in the Journal! I was born in Charleroi and immersed in the Spirou universe since I was little, and Valley of the Exiles by Tome & Janry left quite a mark on me. It’s an album where the real main character isn’t Spirou, but rather nature and its surreal fauna. I too wanted to create such an off-kilter atmosphere by putting Spip at the center of my page.
Your drawing style is very personal. Are you surprised that you were selected?
It’s completely… unimaginable! That said, even if my art isn’t in classic comic-book style, I feel close to artists such as Olivier Schwartz or Émile Bravo. Like them, I have a lot of respect for this untouchable icon that is Spirou, even in trying to create something rather different. I’ve made no compromises in my page, where I’ve used a layout that draws as much on storybook illustration as on comics.
Still, it’s not the first time you’ve been published in the Journal, is it?
When I was 17 I won a trip to the Angoulême Festival, in a “Young Talents” contest at La Grande Ourse, the Andenne comics festival. Having nothing to show except my notebook with the sketches for this Spirou story, I didn’t go see the Dupuis delegation. But Yuio, an artist who’d been in Spirou, forced me to say hello to Patrick Pinchard, who was then editor-in-chief. He in turn had me work on a few pages, and I ended up submitting a Carte blanche (the Journal‘s open submissions section), which appeared in issue #3954. To be published again is a real dream come true! My grandfather, who left me an attic full of old Spirou comics, must be happy. And besides, to continue his collection, I’m picking the one-year subscription as my prize.
We’ve been told that Yoann complains that his identity has been stolen! (Yohan and Yoann are pronounced the same in French.)
That would be a shame. Our names are not written the same way, and I love his work!