Philémon, by Fred
Philémon - Le Voyage de l'incrédule (1978)

Fred Artistidès, who published under his given name Fred, was a French artist of absurd and surrealistic comics, like his series 'Philémon'. Born in Paris into a family of Greek immigrants, he started making gags in French and foreign papers and magazines like Ici-Paris, France-Dimanche, Le Hérisson, The New Yorker and Punch in the 1950s. He is first comic was 'Journal de Bord', that was printed in Zéro magazine in 1954.

For Men Only, by Fred (1959)
For Men Only (1959)

In 1960, he became art director of Hara-Kiri, the satirical magazine for which Jean Giraud made his first work as Moebius. Fred himself illustrated covers, songs and tales for the magazine, but also comics like 'Les Petits Métiers', 'Le Manu'Manu', 'Tarsinge l'Homme Zan' and 'Petit Cirque'.

Le Petit Cirque by Fred
Le Petit Cirque (1973)

He made his first appearance in Pilote magazine in 1965, when he created his most famous comic, 'Philémon'. This surrealistic and psychedelic series is considered one of the most poetic and original in comics. Fred plays freely with the rules on the comics medium, experimenting with page lay-outs, panels and Deus ex-Machina devices.

Philémon by Fred
Philémon - Le Naufragé du "A" (1972)

'Philémon' appeared in Pilote and companion publications like the pocket books and Pilote & Charlie and was collected in book format by Dargaud until 1987. Dargaud also published several books with Fred's independent stories, such as 'Ça va, ça vient' (1977), 'Magic Palace Hôtel' (1978), 'Y a plus de saisons' (1978) and 'Le Manu Manu et autres histoires naturelles and sociales' (1979).

Y a plus de saisons by Fred
Le Poisson Rouge (Y a plus de saisons (1978)

Besides 'Philemon', Fred also made illustrations with "black humor" for Pilote, some of which were collected in the book 'Le Fond de l'Air... et Fred'. At the same time, he was a versatile writer for other artists, such as Jean-Claude Mézières, Loro, Georges Pichard, Hubuc, Mic Delinx and most notably Alexis, with whom he created the 'Timoléon' series between 1973 and 1975.

Philémon by Fred
Philémon - L'Île des brigadiers (1975)

In 1979, he had a brief appearance in Pif Gadget, with 'Cythère, l'Apprentie Sorcière'. In the 1980s, he turned to self-publishing as a member of the H.A. (Humoristes Associés), releasing 'Parade'. In the following years, he produced 'La Magique Lanterne Magique' for Les Imageries Pellerin and his adaptation of the diaries of French writer Jules Renard for Le Matin de Paris. In 1987-1988 the publishing company Brain Factory International released a four-volume comic book series where Franco-Belgian comic authors visualized several songs by singer Jacques Brel in comic strip form. The third volume, 'Ces Gens-là' (1988) featured a contribution by Fred. Besides comics, Fred has written songs for singers like Jacques Dutronc ('Le fond de l'air est frais' in 1971), as well as scripts for films by Jacques Rouffio, Daniel Vigne, Gérard Zingg and Pierre-Henri Salfati in the early 1990s.

Corbac aux Baskets, by Fred
L'Histoire du corback aux baskets (1993)

After leaving comics, Fred suffered from a severe depression, which led to admission in a psychiatric hospital. Inspired by this experience, he released 'L'Histoire du corbac aux baskets', a book that won the Alph Art prize during the Angoulême comic festival of 1994. Next, he published 'L'Histoire du conteur électrique' and 'L'Histoire de la dernière image', as well as a collection of his best gags called 'Fredissimo'.

L'Histoire du Conteur Électrique
L'Histoire du conteur électrique (1995)

He lived in Puiseux-le-Hauberger and eventually settled in a retirement home in Domont. Several expositions of his work were held, and a retrospective book called 'Fred, L'Histoire d'un conteur éclectique' was published in 2011. During his career Fred has received various awards for his innovating work. After a period of declining health, a final 'Philémon' book was published in February 2013, 25 years after the last installment in the series. Fred Othon Aristidès passed away two months later, in April 2013.

In 1983, Fred was one of many comic artists paying homage to the recently deceased Hergé in a special issue of (À Suivre), titled 'Adieu Hergé'. He paid tribute to Nikita Mandryka in the collective comic book 'Tronches de Concombre' (Dupuis, 1995). 

Philémon by Fred
Philémon - Simbabbad de Batbad (1974)

Series and books by Fred you can order today:


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