Hotep, by Rafael Morales
Hotep #2 - 'La Gloire d'Alexandre'.

Rafael Moralès is a Swiss artist with a specialization in historical comics, especially about ancient Egypt. Between 1996 and 2005, he was the main artist of Jacques Martin's classic series 'Alix', and subsequently created his own series 'Hotep' (2007-2009, 2021).

Early life
Rafael Moralès was born in 1969 in Montreux, Switzerland. His father was an amateur fine art painter, and his mother was a cousin of the Swiss comic artist Derib. As a child, Moralès enjoyed reading the classic European comics, eventually taking a particular liking to the work of Hermann, Jacques Martin, Marc Michetz, Roger Leloup, Alain Dodier and Cosey. While in high school, Moralès made satirical comic strips starring his Latin and math teachers. He also found pleasure in making large drawings with many details or alien cities, subterranean houses and submarines. Another interest was ancient history, starting with the Roman Empire and eventually developing into a passion for Ancient Egypt.

A fan of Jacques Martin's comics since his childhood, he met the famous artist at the 1986 Sierre comic festival. Since both men lived in Lausanne, the self-taught Moralès became Martin's apprentice and assistant in the following year. After doing assistant jobs like background art, lettering and coloring, his first big assignment was illustrating an educational 'Alix' book about the tomb of Tutankhamun for Éditions L'Instant Durable (1987). Moralès then illustrated the installments about Egypt and Rome of 'Les Voyages d'Orion' (1992-1993), a spin-off collection to Martin's comic 'Orion' with educational illustrated books. To tie in with Martin's signature series, the collection was later retitled to 'Les Voyages d'Alix', to which Moralès contributed artwork for additional installments about ancient Egypt in 2009 and 2014.

Alex, by Rafael Morales
Alix - 'La Chute d'Icare'.

In 1996, Moralès was appointed as the new lead artist of 'Alix', Jacques Martin's trademark series about a young, blonde Gaul in the Roman Age. Eight years had passed since the publication of the previous album, 'Le Cheval de Troie' (1988), which Martin had drawn himself in cooperation with Jean Pleyers. Martin was by now suffering from dystrophia and gradually had to resign from drawing himself. Moralès stepped in with the 20th album 'Ô Alexandrie' (1996), and his tenure lasted until book #24, 'Roma, Roma...' (2005). Production of the books was still a team effort. Martin initially still wrote the stories and made the first page layouts. To produce the finished art, Moralès often worked in tandem with fellow artist Marc Henniquiau, while Jacques Martin kept artistic supervision. When Moralès left, Christophe Simon became the new lead artist of the 'Alix' series.

During the 2004 Comic Festival in Blois. Moralès got in touch with the archeologist Jean-Yves Empereur, who supervised excavations in Northern Egypt. Their conversations about Alexander the Great, his tomb and the city of Alexandria inspired him to create his own series. Leaving the Martin team, Moralès then embarked upon writing and drawing a trilogy series for publisher Glénat's Vécu collection, 'Hotep' (2007-2009, 2021). Set in the ancient Egyptian city Thebes during the Ptolemaic dynasty, the main character inherits the function of High Priest of Amun at Karnak, the high office of the Egyptian clergy. The young man revolts the new tax demand of Demias, the new envoy of the pharaoh. Hotep is subsequently sentenced to death, but escapes and goes on a quest to seek justice. After the release of the first two installments in 2007 and 2009, the series went on hiatus. The third and final installment wasn't completed and published until the release of the complete edition in 2021, 'Les Pharaons d'Alexandrie'. For the coloring of the 'Hotep' series, Moralès worked with Micheline Pochez, the mother of fellow Studio Martin comic artist Cédric Hervan.

Post-comics career
Since 2010, Rafael Moralès has largely retired from the comic industry. Between 2010 and 2018, he participated in large-scale archeological excavation projects near the Karnak Temple Complex and the Valley of the Kings. As part of the MANT project (Archaeological Mission in the Theban Necropolis) led by professor Laurent Bavay and the University of Brussels, his task was making photographs and reconstructional drawings of ancient architecture, burial chappels and landscapes. After that, Rafael Moralès chose a career in financial services, working for Swift (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), in the Belgian town La Hulpe.

Roba and other artists of the 'Belgian school'
Rafael Morales and other artists of the "Franco-Belgian school".
From left to right: Rosinski, Will, Roba, Rafael Morales, Jacques Martin, Paul Roux, and Batem.

Series and books by Rafael Moralès you can order today:


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