Artwork for Tigger magazine, by Pepe Ferré.

José Ramon Ferré Elies, better known as Pepe Ferré, was a Catalan comic artist and art director. He was involved in several humorous print publications aimed at children, at first through the studio's Recreo and Sanchis, and then through his own company Comicon S.L. in Barcelona. He served as Comicon's art director from 1988 until his death in 2018, and supervised the studio's art production for a great many licensed properties, mostly for German publishers. He continued to work as an artist himself for children's publications like TIGGER Magazine and Bummi, and for Ravensburger's Disney puzzles. Pepe Ferré should not be confused with the comic artist José Luis Ferrér Rozalen (1946-2012), who worked on realistic comics for British and American publishers. Funny enough, the two men were childhood friends, but not related.

Early life and career
Born in 1949, José Ferré grew up in a small town near Tarragona, then moved to Barcelona to pursue his artistic ambitions. He was the apprentice of a photographer, and subsequently began his career in the field of advertising. After a small stint in animation he turned to comics in the early 1970s.

Disney comics
Between 1976 and 1980, Ferré illustrated about 150 short gags with Walt Disney's 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Goofy' for the Danish publisher Gutenberghus through Francesc Bargadà's Studio Recreo. In the early 1980s, he produced six longer adventure stories with 'Mickey Mouse' for Mondadori's Disney magazine Topolino from Italy as well. In the period 1979-1982, he replaced Julio Ramos as Recreo's art director, before leaving that position to Miquel Pujol.

Horace Horsecollar, by Jose Luis Ferrer (D4552)
'Horace Horsecollar' (D4552).

Studio Comicon
Ferré was later affiliated with the art studio of Blas Sanchis, but he had the longest association with Studio Comicon, of which he was art director from 1988 until 2018. Comicon had its origins in the German town Neubiberg near Munich. In late 1977 Peter Wiechmann and his associate Fred Kipka began an agency under this name to provide magazines like YPS and Rolf Kauka's Fix und Foxi with comic pages. They mostly contracted Spanish artists for the production, which were from 1980 on affiliated with José Canovas' Studio Comicup in Barcelona. When Kipka left Comicon to begin his own Kipkakomiks agency, Wiechmann transferred his activities to Barcelona. Comicon S.L. was founded in the summer of 1988 with Wiechmann as managing and editorial director, and Pepe Ferré as art and creative director. Administrative support was provided by Edwina Taeger (1988-1993) and Mari-Angeles Soldevila (from 1993 onwards). Wiechmann departed in 1997 after which Ferré managed the studio with Christof Ruoss, who continues to run the company to this day (2018). Comicon's staff further consists of the artists Miguel Sanchez, Alex Capera, Ricardo Zaplana and Mariela Barnes, and the art directors Susan Aumann, Eva Blank and Sabine Schwindling. About a hundred affiliated artists provide the pencil art, inking and coloring of comics stories, illustrations and puzzle/activity pages with existing characters, but also concepts and designs for new mascots and brand characters.

'Topolino e il messaggio del re' (Topolino #1297, 1980).

Because of its origins, the studio's main activities have been for German publishing houses like Egmont-Ehapa, Pabel-Moewig and Blue Ocean Entertainment. Comicon produced much material with Rolf Kauka's characters for the Pabel-Moewig Verlag until the demise of Fix und Foxi in 1992. When the magazine was relaunched by Tigerpress between 2006 and 2009, the stories were provided by Comicon's Haimo Kinzler (scripts), Julian Jordan (pencils), Luis José Beltrán (inking) and Oriol San Julian (coloring). Comicon also produced original gag pages based on the Disney TV series 'DuckTales' and 'Rescue Rangers' for the German magazine Limit between 1993 and 1995.

Artwork for 'Der Bär im Grossen Blauen Haus' by Pepe Ferré.

Children's book illustrations
For Egmont-Ehapa, the team of Ferré and Ruoss has worked on several pre-school Disney booklets, the magazine with Kiddinx's 'Bibi und Tina' (2002-2013), comics based on Rolf Kalmuczak's children's book series 'TKKG' (2008-2009) and Fashion Cats magazine (since 2013). Comicon furthermore made comics and illustrations for the German magazine based on the Japanese media anime franchises such as 'Digimon' (2000-2005) and 'Mega Hiro' (2002-2008) for Dino, books and merchandising with 'Diddl', illustrations with the Nickelodeon characters 'Dora the Explorer' and Stephen Hillenburg's 'Spongebob Squarepants', comics based on Futurikon's animated TV series 'Dragon Hunters' and the 'Babylon 5' spin-off 'Technomage' (Carlsen Comics, 2000-2001).

A major client is Blue Ocean Entertainment, which has published a great many German children's magazines since 2005. These include properties licensed from Kiddinx ('Benjamin Blümchen', 'Bibi Blocksberg'), Coppenrath ('Käpt'n Sharky'), Geobra Brandstätter ('Playmobil Magazin', 'Playmobil Comic-Spezial', 'Playmobil Girls'), SCG Power Rangers LLC ('Power Rangers: Samurai'), The Lego Group ('Lego: Ninjago', 'Lego: Chima', 'Lego: Friends'), Verlag Friedrich Oetinger ('Die Olchis', based on the children's book series by Erhard Dietl) and Dracco Company ('Predators DNA Fusion'). The studio was additionally responsible for the graphical creation of characters like 'Salusino' for the food supplements company Salus Haus, 'Schluffi' for pharmacy calendars through Goerler Werbe GmbH, 'Bille, Kim & Kiko' for AnyCare GmbH, 'Viktor und die Schlemmerbande' for Mövenpick, 'Extrem Bissig!' and 'Lilly & Luna' for Blue Ocean Entertainment and 'Lissy Magic Ponys' and 'Die Zauberflocke' for Pabel-Moewig.

'Prinzessin Emmy und ihre Pferde' storybook art by Pepe Ferré.

Magazine art
Comicon furthermore delivered magazine art to Einfach Tierisch, Diddl's Käseblatt, Tiggers Spielekiste, Traum-Prinzessin, Bobby and Bastei Verlag's pulp book series 'Geisterjäger John Sinclair'. Book publishers who requested Comicon's services were Pestalozzi (books with Jim Henson/Disney Channel's 'Bear in the Big Blue House'), Ellermann (Nici's 'Little Wingels'), Xenos (Disney children's books, pop-up books, 'Sesame Street' books, and more), Ladybird (books based on Dreamworks' 'The Prince of Egypt') and Nelson/Lingen (booklets with Kiddinx characters). Additional artwork was made for digital and online projects like 'Sumsi', the mascot of the Raiffeisen bank goup), Coppenrath's 'Hase Felix', a Nintendo DS game with Sony's 'Hexe Lilli' and online activities with KVG Baltrum's 'Onnie und die Ahois'.

Bummi artwork by Pepe Ferré.

As art director, Pepe Ferré was involved in the development and design concepts of many Comicon projects. He also kept doing pencil and inking duties on some regular productions. In the 1990s he illustrated Disney jigsaw puzzles for Ravensburger. Between 1999 and 2002 he created the entire publishing concept and supplied complete artwork for Egmont-Ehapa's Der Bär im Grossen Blauen Haus (based on Jim Henson's TV series 'Bear in the Big Blue House'). Another productive artist for this magazine was Antonio Bancells Pujadas. Pepe Ferré was the lead artist on Egmont's bi-monthly TIGGER magazine (2002-2008), starring the character from Walt Disney's 'Winnie the Pooh'. He was responsible for the restyling of the German pre-school monthly about the bear Bummi, published by Bauer Media's subdivision Pabel-Moewig. Between 2009 and 2017 Ferré furthermore pencilled and inked a great many stories and illustration for this former DDR children's magazine. His collaboration ended when the title transferred to Blue Ocean Entertainment. Since 2014 he worked sporadically on the Egmont brand 'Prinzessin Emmy und ihre Pferde' ('Princess Emmy and her Horses'), supplying the line-art for two storybooks as well as story art for several magazine issues.

Final years and death
Pepe Ferré continued to run his company with Ruoss until he had to undergo surgery because of complications with regard to his heart condition. He unfortunately never left the hospital. He spent several weeks in a coma, and passed away in Barcelona on 5 July 2018 at the age of 69.

Comicon staff artists Sergi San Julian and Miguel Sanchez made this farewell drawing on the day of Pepe Ferré's passing.

Among the many talented writers, pencilers, inkers and colorists who have worked for Studio Comicon are:

  • Marc Alberich (inker: Extrem Bissig!, Lego)
  • Meritxell Andreu (Kiddinx)
  • Carlos Arroyo (penciller & inker: John Sinclair, Lego)
  • Susan Aumann
  • Toni Bancells (Kiddinx, Playmobil)
  • Mariela Barnes (inker: Disney, Kiddinx, Die Olchis, Traum-Prinzessin)
  • Laura Bartels
  • Jordi Bartoll (colorist: Disney, Jason Dark Comic)
  • Marie Belaerts (Salusino)
  • Josep Maria Beroy (penciller: Bobby, Digimon)
  • José Luis Beltran (penciller: Kauka, Schfluffis, Sesame Street)
  • Luis José Beltrán (inker: Kauka, Lissy Magic Ponys, Little Wingels, Nickelodeon)
  • Nadine Bernhard
  • Ivan Boix (colorist: Salusino)
  • Alfonso Borillo (penciller: Salusino)
  • Kerstin Braun
  • Margarita Bou
  • Miguel Bultó-Just
  • Antonio Burgos
  • Alex Capera (inker, colorist: Bummi, Diddl)
  • Gema Cardona
  • Jose Cardona
  • Marta Cardona (Diddl)
  • José Antonio Caruana (Disney)
  • José Maria Casanovas
  • Giovanni Castro (Disney, Kiddinx, Die Olchis)
  • Javi Chaler (colorist: Lego)
  • Mario Cortés (Disney)
  • Esdras Cristóbal (penciller: Power Rangers)
  • Fernando Dominguez (penciller: Disney, Kiddinx, Lego)
  • Diana Egea (penciller: Lilly & Luna)
  • Judith Ender
  • Juan Escandell (Kiddinx)
  • Victor Escandell
  • Begoña Esteban Sanchez
  • Mirta Fasanella (Disney, Kiddinx, Nickelodeon, Playmobil)
  • Jon Fernandez (penciller: Lego)
  • Fernando Fernandez
  • Miguel Fernandez
  • Pepe Ferré (penciller: Bummi, Disney, Salusino)
  • Jordi Fresquet (penciller: Käpt'n Sharky)
  • P. Fuentes (Disney)
  • Pau Gamez Rancaño (Zauberflocke)
  • Roberto Garcia (Nickelodeon, Schluffis)
  • Segundo Garcia
  • Eloi Garijo (Little Wingels)
  • Ali Garousi
  • Paqui Ginestar
  • Ana Giralt (graphic designer)
  • Flavia Gonzales
  • Astrid Helble
  • Miriam Hidalgo (colorist: Bummi, Lego, Playmobil)
  • Roger Ibañez
  • Julian Jordan (penciller: Kauka, Lissy Magic Ponys, Nickelodeon, Schluffis, Sesame Street)
  • Miguel Jordan (penciller: Digimon)
  • Noemi Juanes
  • Haimo Kinzler
  • Aurora Lago
  • Juan Manuel Larumbe
  • Pia Lehmann
  • Rene León
  • Joan Lopez
  • Michael Luithlen
  • Victor Luna
  • Ignasi Majoral
  • Josep Martí
  • Conchita Más Fuentes (inker)
  • Francesc Mateu
  • Isidre Mones (TKKG)
  • Manuel Montero (Disney, Kiddinx, Lissy Magic Ponys, Nickelodeon, Playmobil)
  • Pedro Montero
  • Mercé Mora
  • Tomás Moron
  • Iñigo Motxo (Little Wingels)
  • Jordi Muray
  • Isabel Nadal
  • Juan Pablo Navas
  • Sabine Oeler (Disney, Sesame Street)
  • Ulla Overbeck
  • David Parcerisa (penciller: Technomage)
  • Joerg Peter
  • Montse Porredon
  • Josep Maria Polls (scripts: Technomage)
  • Enric Prat Prat
  • Albert Puig (inker: Digimon)
  • Carlos Puig (penciller: Bille, Kim & Kiko, Viktor und die Schlemmerbande)
  • Peter Puls
  • Allan Rabelo (Zauberflocke)
  • Francesc Rigol
  • Oriol Roca
  • Arturo Rojas
  • Angel Rodriguez
  • Ferran Rodriguez (penciller: Lego)
  • Pepe Rubio
  • Lorena Soriano
  • Miguel Sanchez (penciller: Disney, Dragon Hunters, Lego, Salusino, Traum-Prinzessin)
  • Oriol San Julián (colorist: Bobby, Extrem Bissig!, Kiddinx, Käpt'n Sharky, Lego, Little Wingels, Nickelodeon, Power Rangers, Technomage, TKKG, Traum-Prinzessin, Zauberflocke)
  • Sergi San Julián (Extrem Bissig!, Technomage, TKKG, Zauberflocke)
  • Paco Sabaté
  • Bernat Serrat (Kiddinx)
  • Dani Solans (inker: Digimon, Dragon Hunters, Kiddinx)
  • Ivan Solans (inker: Disney, Dragon Hunters, Kiddinx, Lego)
  • L. Soriano (Lilly & Luna)
  • Ulrich Stampa
  • Yolanda Tebar
  • Trini Tinturé
  • Carmen de la Torre
  • Juan Torres (Diddl)
  • Eva Tuengerthal
  • Gaby Unger
  • Felix Vega
  • Juan Vernet
  • Tunet Vila
  • Albert Xiques (penciller: Digimon)
  • Ricardo Zaplana (penciller: Diddl, Nickelodeon, Die Olchis)
  • Kerstin Zipfel
  • Miguel Zueras


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