Max Cabanes began his career in ceramics and drawing Disney postcards. He did his first comics for Record and Pilote from 1972, and his short stories from this period are collected in the book 'Bain d'Encre'. His real storytelling talent revealed itself in his first series, called 'Dans les Villages' (1976). This poetic series, set in a strange parallel universe, first appeared in Tousse Bourin, but was later continued in Fluide Glacial, Pilote and Charlie Mensuel. At the same time, he created 'Contes Fripons' in Fluide Glacial and 'Le Roman de Renart' with scripts by Jean-Claude Forest from the first issue of À Suivre. For the latter magazine, he also began the series of short stories 'Les Rencontres du 3e Sale Type'.
From 1986, he started telling stories of his own tumultuous youth in the 'Colin Maillard' series, experimenting with watercolors and charcoal. For the final issues of Pilote, he did some animal stories, but he returned a more realistic style with 'Les Années Pattes d'Eph' in L'Écho des Savanes from 1992. Also for L'Écho, he collaborated with Sylvia Brasquet on 'Bouquet de Flirts', about the love life of a young girl in the 1970s. From 1996, he produced 'Maxou contre l'Athlète' and 'Bellagamba' for the publishing house Casterman. Besides his work in comics, Cabanes was also a versatile illustrator of several books.