Today is the 50th birthday of Émile Bravo. Bravo has only made one Spirou album so far, Le Journal d’un ingénu (“The Diary of a Naive Young Man”) in 2008, but what an album! Going back to the origin of the character, and re-imagining it in a more realistic, historically grounded setting, it does for Spirou what Alan Moore did for superheroes. A big hit with both critics and readers, it was an “Essential” pick at the 2009 Angoulême Comics Festival, and is rated as one of the best Spirou albums of all time by fans over at InediSpirou. It is available in French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Finnish, Danish and Swedish, as well as an edition in Brussels dialect. Bravo is currently working on a sequel in two volumes, projected for publication in 2015 and 2016.
Bravo was born in Paris to Spanish-born parents; his father had fled from Franco’s Spain. Bravo debuted with Fingers in 1988. Early on he was strongly influenced by Yves Chaland, notably in Ivoire (1990), his first of many collaborations with Jean Regnaud. With Regnaud he made three albums with the adventures of Aleksis Strogonov (1993–1998), which marked a breakthrough in his work. In 1999, Bravo launched a new series, the adventures of Jules, very much in the tradition of Tintin, and then in 2004 Boucle d’Or et les sept ours nains (“Goldilocks and the Seven Squat Bears“) for younger children. Bravo has also illustrated children’s books: Ma maman est en Amérique, elle a recontré Buffalo Bill (“My Mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill“), written by Regnaud and told in a mixed comic/storybook style, was also an Angoulême Essential and was adapted as an animated movie in 2013.
Happy birthday, Émile!