Claire Bretécher is one of the few European female comics artists of her generation. She was an art teacher for several months, before she began doing illustration work for the magazines of the Bayard group. She teamed up with René Goscinny in 1963 to create 'Le Facteur Rhésus' in L'Os à Moelle. A year later, she also joined Record, doing illustrations, short stories and the 'Baratine et Molgaga' series. From 1965, she was also active for magazine Tintin, where she began the gag series 'Hector'.
From 1967 to 1971, she drew several series for Spirou, such as 'Les Gnan-Gnan', 'Les Naufragés' (written by Raoul Cauvin) and 'Robin des Foies'. Along with Yvan Delporte, she produced the series 'Alfred de Wees' for the Dutch magazine Pep.
From 1969, she was also a regular contributor to Pilote. For this magazine, she did the 'Cellulite' series as well as a series of gags under the name 'Salades de Saison'. Wanting to do more adult comics, Bretécher left Pilote in 1972 and co-founded L'Écho des Savanes with Gotlib and Nikita Mandryka.
Fernand l'orphelin (Le Trombone Illustré, 26/5/1977)
However, Bretécher left this magazine in 1973 to start drawing for Le Nouvel Observateur, creating her best-known series 'Les Frustrés'. She also turned to self-publishing and the first 'Les Frustrés' collection appeared in 1975. She continued working only for Le Nouvel Observateur, and she self-published numerous books from 1976, such as 'Le Cordon Infernal', 'La Vie Passionnée de Thérèse d'Avila', 'Les Mères', 'Le Destin de Monique', 'Docteur Ventouse, Bobologue', 'Tourista' and 'Agrippine'.