Sergent O'Brien by Jean Pape
Sergent O'Brien (Le Petit Journal in Quebec, 2-3-1952)

Jean Pape was a comic artist and editor-in-chief for the French pocket comics ("Petits Formats") published by SEG/SFPI. Born as Jean Papazian in Smyrne, Turkey, Pape moved to France at the age of 5. After completing his studies, he went to work at the publishing house Mondiales in 1941, initially as a letterer. In the following year, he did artwork on a half page of 'Robin des Bois' in L'Aventureux, before being engaged to work in Germany during wartime.

Back in France, he went to work for several publishers, illustrating novel covers and pulp crime books. He also illustrated stories in the collection 'A Travers le Monde' of the Société d'Édition Générale. Pape continued to work for this company for the rest of his career, since he was soon afterwards hired by Jean Chapelle to become head of production for Jeudi Magazine, which would become Zorro.

comic art by Jean Pape

There, he traced pages of the Belgian comic 'Corentin' by Paul Cuvelier, which was published under the title 'Robin l'Intrepide'. 'Robin l'Intrepide' eventually became a comic in its own right, drawn by André Oulié, and Pape moved on to illustrate several adventure stories between 1948 and 1955, including 'Sergent O'Brien'. This series got its own comic book in 1953 (15 issues) and was also published on the British market.

Sergent O'Brien by Jean Pape
Sergent O'Brien (Le Petit Journal in Quebec, 2-3-1952)

In 1953, he briefly drew the religious comics 'Tony' and 'Gaby et Mouloud' in Jeunesse et Missions, which were his sole works outside of SEG. From 1955, Pape focused specifically on the pocket comics, becoming head of the SFPI (former SEG) artist team, which included Pierre Dupuis, André Oulié, Maxime Roubinet, Marcel Radenen, Pierre Le Goff and Jean Marcellin. Under his supervision, the team produced comics in genres varying from comical (Zappy, Teddy, Dennis, Bimbo, Tartine, Geppo), western (Zorro, Aigle d'Or, Kwai, Bison Noir, Alamo), espionage (Cap 7, MI5), science fiction (Titan) and historic (Erik, Olac, Ajax).

In addition, Pape worked on his own comics, such as 'Jim Gordon' in Zappy, 'Mic Arsène' in Dennis and 'Dan Jerry' in Cap 7. In 1968, upon the retirement of André Oulié, he took over the French 'Zorro' comic in alternation with Maxime Roubinet and the Nicola Del Principe studios. Jean Pape went into retirement in 1980, when the SFPI had to close its doors. He passed away in Basse-Normandie in 2002.

Zorro, by Jean Pape

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