Berlin by Pascal LefevreBerlin by Pascal Lefevre
'Berlin'.

Pascal Lefèvre is a renowned Belgian comic historian and theorist. He wrote history by being the first person in Flanders to write a doctorate about comics, 'Suske en Wiske in de krant' (1945-1971), and graduate with it. Over the years he published several essays and books about comics. He has analysed 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 comics 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', which appeared in the magazine Frigobox.

Early life and career
Pascal Lefèvre was born in 1963 in Tienen, Belgium. He grew up reading all the familiar Belgian comics 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. Lefèvre  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 Genk. 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 an affiliated researcher at the University of Leuven. 

Essays and books
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 Belgian 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 gave a more literary and artistic insight about the medium and were published by the Belgian Center of Comics in Brussels and the Dutch publisher Sherpa.  While the content is similar, the text itself isn't exactly the same. He went on a more historical route with 'Forging A New Medium, The Comic Strip in the 19th Century' (1998), edited in collaboration with Charles Dierick. A study of various 19th-century picture stories all across their world and the gradual evolution to the modern-day comic strip, the book went through several reprints and revised editions. Lefèvre 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' (2010) with Morgan Di Salvia, a treatise about comics and illustrations in Belgium and their social-economic dimension.

Apart from these general studies he and Yves Kerremans also compiled the book '50 Jaar Nero, Kroniek van een Dagbladverschijnsel' (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' (2018) about visual perception of images.

Recognition
On 17 September 2020 Lefèvre received a honorary doctorate at the University of Malmö, Sweden, for his comics 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. 

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