Bruxelles Babel by JL Lejeune
'Bruxelles Babel'. Pantomime comic based on a real-life legend about a man who was sentenced to execution on the Grand Market of Brussels in the Middle Ages, but the executioner was unable to cut his throat. As the crowd attacked him the prisoner was able to escape and lived a long life with a crooked neck. 

Jean-Louis Lejeune, also known as J.L. Lejeune, is a Belgian cartoonist, illustrator, poster designer, animator and occasional comic artist. His two most notable comics series were the obscure 'Les Extrèmes Se Touchent' (written by Yvan Delporte, 1979) in À Suivre and the surreal 'Le Titre Est La Fin' (1980) for BD Aïe. 

Early life
Jean-Louis Lejeune was born in 1946 in Andenne in the province Namur. After reading Calvo's 'La Bête Est Morte', he wanted to become a cartoonist. In 1966 he studied at the Institut Saint-Luc in Brussels, where he graduated in 1970. He considers Boris Arbtzybasheff, Pierre Bernard, Honoré DaumierGustave Doré, Shigeo Fukuda, Edward GoreyJ.J. Grandville, Heinrich Kley, Alfred Kubin, David Merveille, Ever MeulenBenjamin Rabier, Mario Ramos, Félicien Rops, Teresa Sdralevich, Ronald SearleJoost SwarteTomi Ungerer and Gabrielle Vincent his favorite painters and illustrators. In the field of animation he admires Tex Avery, Ub Iwerks and Picha. His favorite comic artists and cartoonists are BlutchGus Bofa, Bosc, Claire BretécherWilhelm Busch, Chaval, Robert Crumb, Jack Davis, Jean EffelAndré FrançoisAndré Franquin, GébéRick Griffin, Louis JoosFrancis MasseVictor Moscoso, ReiserSempéArt Spiegelman, Saul SteinbergRoland Topor, Willem, Winshluss and Basil Wolverton

In 1968 Lejeune established his own studio. He later became a teacher at the École Supérieure de l'Image le 75 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Lejeune was active as an animator too. He worked in Bob Vandersteen's animation studio for a while, producing cartoons for the Belgian public channel BRTN/RTBF. Lejeune furthermore animated the opening credits of the consumer's TV program 'Minute Papillon' (1982-1992) on the Belgian public channel RTBF. Between 1999 and 2015 he was active as a Tai Chi instructor at the Société Internationale de Tai Chi Taoïste Fung Loy Kok. 


Cover for Knack about the Belgian elections, 6 March 1971, and for L'Instant about the linguistic divide in Belgium, 17- 23 October 1991. 

Cover and poster design
His art has appeared on several covers of magazines like Pourquoi Pas?, Charlie Hebdo, L'Instant, Le Journal de l'Europe, Knack, Le Matin, Media Marketing and Plus Magazine. He furthermore designed several posters for Amnesty International, art expos, theatrical shows and the annual Anima Festival. In 1993 he was hired by Thierry Tinlot to do the restyling of Spirou magazine, including its cover and header design. The first issue with Lejeune's new look was issue #2909 of January 1994.

Artwork by JL Lejeune
'Où sont-ils?' ('Where Are They?'). Work for Amnesty International, 1980, about the people who "disappeared" under the Argentinian junta. 

Book illustrations
He illustrated various books since the late 1970s. These include Richard Olivier's 'Idi Amin Dada, Empereur de Belgique' (1979), 'Love, Love C'est Vite Dit!' (1983, with Jean-Claire Lacroix and Claude Oreel), Francine Léonard's 'Victoria Flique' (1985), 'Dr. Car & Mr. Toon' (1987), 'Pincettes' (1989), 'Quelques Dessins et Quelques Aphorismes Verticaux' (2015) and 'Mes Dessins Généralistes' (museum catalogue, 2015). 

Crossing the line between illustration and comics, he livened up the pages of 'Bruxelles Babel. Chronique illustré de Bruxelles', written by M. Georis (French edition) and Walter Soethoudt (Dutch translation: 'Brussel, De Sjanzende Stad. Brusselse Kronijcken', 1979). The work was published at the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of Brussels and describes intrigueing anecdotes and key events in its history. Lejeune made the witty drawings, which sometimes are mere illustrations but occasionally feature comics and cartoons as well. 


Comic about the Belgian revolution.

Comics
Throughout his career Lejeune has only made a handful of comics, despite drawing in a petulant, cartoony style. In issue #15 of Métal Hurlant (1 March 1977) he created the comic strip 'La Femme de Ménage'. In 1979 he also created the gag comic series 'Les Extrèmes Se Touchent', based on scripts by Yvan Delporte. It ran in issues #18-21 of À Suivre, between January and October 1979. For issue #3281 (28 February 2001) and #3332 (20 February 2002) of Spirou he made two illustrations for the column 'Voeux', while he also contributed to issue #119 (26 May 2008) and #121 (26 July 2008) of the magazine Bodoï.  


'Le Titre Est la Fin'.

Le Titre Est La Fin
In 1980 Lejeune's surreal and highly metafictional comics series 'Le Titre Est La Fin' ('The Title Is The Ending') ran in the first three issues of the short-lived comic magazine BD Aïe between 1 February and 1 April 1980. A typical episode features a man in a desolate landscape looking for more meaning in his life by talking to a gigantic smiling Buddha floating in the air.

Graphic contributions
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 first volume, 'Le Plat Pays' (1987) featured a contribution by Lejeune. He was one of many artists to pay tribute to Ever Meulen during the 'Ever Meulen & Friends' exhibition in October 2017 in Brussels. 


Artwork for Amnesty International (1977).

Exhibitions
Between 16 May and 10 July 2013 he was one of several Flemish comic artists to exhibit original artwork during the 'Wereld van de Strips in Originelen' ('The World of Comics in Originals') exhibition in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels. The exhibition, organized by art critic and museum curator Jan Hoet and politician Dany Vandenbossche, later gained controversy when N-VA politician Jan Peumans objected to a French-language speech balloon on the official expo poster. Since the posters were already printed, the speech balloon was simply blanked. Numerous participating comic artists protested against this censorship, with several, including Lejeune, asking to have their own cartoons and comics to be removed from the expo. 

Between 5 November and 31 December 2015 Lejeune's work was also exhibited in the Seed Factory in the Maison de l'Image in Brussels.

Bruxelles Babel by JL Lejeune
'Bruxelles Babel'.

jeanlouislejeune.be

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