Cover of Espiègle Lili #47, by Jacques ArbeauCover of Espiègle Lili 54, by Jacques Arbeau

Jacques Arbeau, who often used the pseudonym Jacarbo, was a French artist with a productive career for comic magazines and newspapers. He is mainly known for his comic strip adaptations, and for his work on classic series like 'Brik', 'L'Espiègle Lili' and 'Les Pieds Nickelés'.

Early life and career
Jacques Arbeau worked as a librarian when he made his first illustrations for text stories and novels in the Del Duca magazine L'Intrépide in 1949. In 1952 he created his first comic, 'Dop le Chien', in Reflets, a local magazine from Villeneuve-sur-Lot. Arbeau then moved to Paris, where he published 'En Avant la Flibuste' in Junior in 1954. Between 1954 and 1972, Arbeau worked for a great many magazines of the time, such as Âmes Vaillantes, Record, Fripounet, Marius, Ima, Moi en Monsieur and Tintin, creating various short stories, game pages and editorial drawings.

Le Roman de la Table Ronde by Jacarbo
'Le Roman de la Table Ronde'.

Newspaper comics
He also worked on several horizontal and vertical strips for newspapers, for which he assumed a semi-realistic drawing style. He made vertical strips of an educational nature with writer Edith Hare for the Presse-Service-Magazine, and a great many adaptations of novels for the agencies Intermonde Presse and Mondial Presse. These included features in Paris-Jour ('Accusé, levez-vous!', 'Colomba', 'L'Horloger du Diable') and Franc-Tireur ('Truand et Gentilhomme' with Yves Dermèze in 1956). One of his most notable works of this period was the Arthurian serial 'Le Roman de la Table Ronde', which he made with writer François Gratier for Intermonde Press in 1966. It was published in 630 strips in regional papers through Intermonde Presse, including Le Républicain Lorrain, Nord Eclair, L'Espoir, Le Progrès, Le Midi Libre, Nord-Matin and L'Espoir de Nice.

Brik by Jacques Arbeau

In 1959, Arbeau took over the pirate comics series 'Brik' from its creators J.K. Melwyn-Nash and Jean Cézard at Éditions Aventures et Voyages. He additionally drew the romantic adventures of 'Perle' with Roger Lécureux in the comic book Anouk of Éditions Jeunesse et Vacances in 1967 and 'Mirabelle et Sauriné' in the local Lorraine Magazine from 1969. He also made illustrations of fairy tales by Jean Vartier for the latter magazine, and also for educational books by Chancerel and hagiographic collections by Fleurus/Univers Média (biographies of Elisabeth de Surville, Anne Le Roy and Emilie de Villeneuve) and Le Rameau/Sadifa ('La Force d'Évangile').

La Disparue de Montgeron by Jacques Arbeau
'La Disparue de Montgeron'.

L' Espiègle Lili
In 1974, he took over another famous series following the death of the previous author Gérard Alexandre. 'L'Espiègle Lili' was one of the classic characters of the Société Parisienne d'Édition (S.P.E.), created by Jo Valle and André Vallet in 1909. He made new stories starring the roguish girl for Lili-Aggie Magazine, yet with a more modern set-up, and used her in nine books in cooperation with Paulette Blonay published by S.P.E. between 1980 and 1986. Jacarbo and Blonay's 'Lili' was a far deviation from the original 'Lili', as she rode a motorcycle and proved to be a capable detective.

Les Pieds Nickelés
Arbeau later took over another S.P.E. mainstay, 'Les Pieds Nickelés', a gang of vagabonds created by Louis Forton in 1908. Arbeau made six new stories in cooperation with writer Serge Saint-Michel in 1982 and 1983.

From 1981 on, he furthermore he illustrated the editorial sections 'Jardinage' and 'Bricolage' in Système D, and a great many historical comic stories for the magazine Marius. Again with Serge Saint-Michel, he made 'Des Pépins dans le Pruneau' (1986) and 'La Disparue de Montgeron' (1988) for Éditions Imagi, and the subsequently made two books about the history of the Lot-et-Garonne area with writer Jacques Dubourg ('Aventures d'Agenius'). His last known comics work was 'Destination Espoir' (1990), a comics series in support of Doctors of the World, made in cooperation with Philippe Meyer.

During his career, Jacarbo produced over 40,000 comics pages in all sorts of styles and genres, but only few of them saw a publication in album format.

Agenius by Jacarbo

Series and books by Jacques Arbeau in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.