Alix - Les Legions Perdues
Jacques Martin was one of the classic artists of Tintin magazine, along with Hergé and E. P. Jacobs. When he was young, Jacques Martin had three passions: classical art, comics and history. In 1942, using the pseudonym Jam, he created 'Les Aventures du Jeune Toddy' in Je Maintiendrai. During the rest of the War, he was put to work in the Messerschmitt factory in Augsburg.
In 1946, after the war had ended, he roamed Belgium in search of an editor. He met Henri Leblicq, with whom he started a collaboration that lasted about a year. They used the pseudonym 'Marleb', and after their association ended, Martin went on using it until 1950.
Marleb alternatively created humorous and realistic comics, such as 'Le Hibou Gris' and 'Le Sept de Trèfle' in L'Indépendance, La Wallonie and Story, as well as 'La Cité Fantastique' in Wrill. For the magazine Bravo! he came up with titles like 'Monsieur Barbichou', 'Lamar l'Homme Invisible' and 'Oeuil-de-Perdrix'.
In 1948, he joined the magazine Tintin and created 'Alix', a series set in ancient Egypt. This historic comic soon became one of the most popular of the genre - by now it has been published in countries worldwide. Four years later, 'Alix' was followed by yet another famous series: 'Lefranc'. Martin additionally illustrated sections like 'Les Chroniques de l'Automobiliste' and 'Les Chroniques de l'Aviation' and worked on 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' and 'Tintin et Milou' through Studio Hergé.
After a while, Martin focused on writing scripts and left the artwork of 'Lefranc' to other artists, subsequently Bob De Moor, Gilles Chaillet, Christophe Simon and Francis Carin. In 1978, together with artist Jean Pleyers, he launched a third successful series, about medieval architect 'Xan', which was retitled to 'Jhen' after two episodes. In 2004, the artwork was handed over to Bernard Capo.
In 1983, Martin started the series about French revolutionary officer 'Arno', together with artwork by André Juillard (later by Jacques Denoël) at Glénat and, in 1990, he created the Athenian 'Orion' under his own label Orix. The educational side-series 'Les Voyages d'Orion' was illustrated by Rafael Morales. In 1998, because of failing eyesight, Jacques Martin also engaged young artists to do the artwork of his other series. He left the drawing of 'Alix' to Rafael Morales, while 'Orion' was continued by Christophe Simon.
Alix - Le Dernier Spartiate
A new educational series, 'Les Voyages d'Alix', was illustrated by artists like Marc Henniquiau, Vincent Henin, Laurent Bouhy, Jacques Denoël and Cédric Hervan. Jacques Martin continued to launch new projects, such as the Egyptian 'Kéos' with Jean Pleyers (1991), 'Histoire d'Alsace' with Georges Bischoff and Christophe Simon (2001) and 'Loïs' with Olivier Paques (2003). After a long and prestigious career, selling more than 15 million albums translated into 10 languages, Jacques Martin passed away on 21 January 2010, at the age of 88.
Hergé (left) with Jacques Martin
Jacques Martin (1921-2010)