Born in Liège, Jean-Philippe Stassen started travelling at a young age. He travelled through Algeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Marocco, and his experiences have been an influence throughout his work. He was introduced to the magazine L'Écho des Savanes by Stéphane Colman when he was 17 years old. Stassen soon made his debut with the albums 'Bahama' and 'Bullwhite' at Albin Michel in 1988 and 1989, both written by Denis Lapière.
Stassen and Lapière continued their collaboration in the collection Aire Libre of Dupuis, where they created the diptych 'Le Bar du Vieux Français' in 1992. The story won them several prizes. Stassen then wrote 'Louis le Portugais' on his own, another touching human tragedy, this time situated in Liège. He then changed the setting of this stories to Africa again, and created 'Thérèse'. This was followed by the masterpiece 'Déogratias', about the genocide in Rwanda, and 'Les Enfants'.