Berlin by Pascal LefevreBerlin by Pascal Lefevre

Pascal Lefèvre is a Belgian comic historian and theorist. He wrote history by being the first person in Flanders to write and graduate with a doctorate about comics, 'Suske en Wiske in de krant' (1945-1971). Over the years he published several essays and books about comics. He has analyzed the medium from both historical as well as artistic perspectives. Lefèvre was connected as a researcher with the Belgian Comics Center in Brussels and contributed to various documentaries and expositions. He is one of the few comic theorists who actually made some comics himself. Between 1985 and 1987 he wrote the script to 'O Dierbaar Vlaanderen...', a comic strip illustrated by Katrien van Schuylenbergh (published in Veto), and 'Layla', drawn by Bart Ramakers (published in Film Take One). In 1995 Lefèvre drew a short experimental comic himself under the title 'Berlin', printed in the magazine Frigobox.

Early life and career
Pascal Lefèvre was born in 1963 in Tienen, Flemish Brabant, Belgium. He grew up reading all the familiar Belgian comic classics. In the early 1980s Lefèvre studied Social Sciences and American Studies at the University of Leuven (Louvain). He was so passionate about comics that he devoted his master paper to the medium. His thesis, 'De Selekterende Stripuitgevers. Een Onderzoek Naar De Gatekeeping Bij De Grote Stripuitgeverijen Lombard en Dupuis' (1986) investigated the gatekeeping study of Belgian comic publishers Lombard and Dupuis.

Comics career
As a student in Leuven, Lefèvre was editor of the local student magazine Veto, where he scripted a comic strip, 'O Dierbaar Vlaanderen...' (translation: "O Dear Flanders", 1985), illustrated by Katrien van Schuylenbergh. The humorous comic appeared as a weekly serial. Another comic artist who published in Veto around the same time was Evert Dierickx. For the magazine Film Take One, Lefèvre scripted 'Layla' (1986-1987), a comic strip illustrated by Bart Ramakers. In 1996 Lefèvre also wrote and drew a comic of his own: 'Berlin'. 'Berlin' is a short poetic autobiographical picture story, which appeared in issue #4 of the French magazine Frigobox. 

'Oh, Dierbaar Vlaanderen...' from Veto #1116 (drawn by Katrien van Schuylenbergh).

Research and lectures
After graduation, Lefèvre became a researcher for the Belgian public TV channel BRTN (nowadays the VRT). In 1989 the Belgian Comic Strip Center opened in Brussels, where he worked as a research assistant. Between 1996 and 1999 he was also part-time scientific advisor to the museum. He gave several lectures about comics and visual media at various art departments of Flemish university colleges in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Apart from comics, Lefèvre also conducted a research project about broadsheets for Het Huis van Alijn, a folklore museum in Ghent. In 2007 he created the video opera 'Burning History' (2007). Since 2008 he is additionally an affiliated researcher at the University of Leuven. 

Comic-related books and essays
Lefévre has written many essays and books about comics. Between 4 July and 6 September 1987, art curator Jan Hoet organized an exhibition about European comics in the Museum for Contemporary Art in Ghent. The expo, 'Kunst en Grafische Vernieuwing in het Europees Beeldverhaal' ('Art and Graphic Innovation in European Comics'), featured original artwork by various European comic artists. Lefèvre was one of many writers who contributed texts to the catalogue. Together with Jan Baetens he published 'Strips Anders Lezen' ('Reading Comics Differently', 1993) and the follow-up 'Pour Une Lecture Moderne de la Bande Dessinée' ('For A Modern Reading of Comics', 1993). Both books approached the medium from a more literary and artistic perspective, though slightly differ in content. They were published in book form by Dutch publisher Sherpa, in collaboration with the Belgian Center of Comics in Brussels. 

Lefèvre went on a more historical route with 'Forging A New Medium, The Comic Strip in the 19th Century' (VUB Press, 1998), edited in collaboration with Charles Dierick. For this book Lefèvre and Dierick studied various 19th-century picture stories from various countries and their gradual transformation in what we would nowadays recognize as a comic strip. 'Forging A New Medium' went through several reprints and revised editions. Lefèvre and Morgan Di Salvia additionally co-wrote 'Strip en Illustratie in België. Een Stand van Zaken en de Sociaal-economische Situatie van de Sector'/'Bande Dessinée et Illustration en Belgique. Etats des Lieux et Situation Socio-économique du Secteur' (PVCB-Smart, 2010), a treatise about comics and illustrations in Belgium and their social-economic dimension.

Apart from these general studies, Lefèvre and Yves Kerremans also compiled the book '50 Jaar Nero, Kroniek van een Dagbladverschijnsel' (Standaard Uitgeverij, 1997), a chronological study of every album in Marc Sleen's "Nero" series at that point, to commemorate its 50th anniversary. He wrote articles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske' (in 1995) and Morris' 'Lucky Luke' (in 1996) too. On 1 October 2003 Lefèvre earned his doctorate in Social Science at the University of Leuven with a theoretical analysis of Willy Vandersteen's comic strip 'Suske en Wiske'. His thesis, 'Suske en Wiske in de krant' (1945-1971). Een Theoretisch Kader voor een Vormelijke Analyse van Strips', dealt with the newspaper publications of 'Suske en Wiske' during the period Vandersteen was still personally involved with the scripts and drawings. Lefèvre noticed that the format Vandersteen had to use (two strips a day) influenced his way of storytelling just as much his cultural and historical background. The thesis was extra notable as the first doctorate about comics in Flanders. In 2018 Lefèvre published 'Beeld en Visuele Waarneming' (Lannoo, 2018) about visual perception of images.

On 17 September 2020 Pascal Lefèvre received a honorary doctorate at the University of Malmö, Sweden, for his comic research. 

Homonym confusion
Pascal Lefèvre should not be confused with a Walloon politician and member of the city council of Sint-Pieters Woluwe (°1959), nor a French javelin thrower (°1965), nor an obscure Flemish cyclist (°1971) from Bruges. 

'Forging A New Medium' and 'Pour Une Lecture Moderne de Bande Dessinée'.

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