Bec-En-Fer, by Jean-Louis Pesch

Jean-Louis Pesch was one of the most successful French artists of animal comics. Originally named Jean-Louis Poisson, he was born in 1928 in Paris, but his family moved to the village of Anjou only weeks after his birth. The rural environment amidst the Loire valley wine country gave Pesch his love for animals and nature. Another passion was drawing, which he started doing at a young age.

From 1948 on, Pesch worked in the advertising and animation for a while, but eventually turned to comics in 1954. He created stories with characters like 'Nouni', 'Pinpin', 'Yoyo', 'Couinou', 'Couic', 'Pik-Pik le Hérisson' and 'Perlipopette et Sacripan' and a host of other animal characters for magazines like Âmes Vaillantes, Coeurs Vaillants, Fripounet et Marisette and Capucine. In the following years Jean-Louis Pesch expanded his activities by working for the magazines Mireille, L'Intripidé and Bernadette.  

'Kwekkerd' (Dutch-language version of one of his early works, published in Het Blad van Barend de Beer #45, 1969).

Many of his early work for these magazines were done in cooperation with writer Henriette Robitaillie, with whom he also made several books in the series 'Nick et Panchito for Éditions Mondiales (1963-64). In 1961, Pesch and Robitaillie also created 'Bec-en-Fer' together for Le Pèlerin. This historical funny animal series was initially rather short-lived, but it returned in the 1980s, when Fleurus and Lombard published the series about the sole heir of the Earl of Phildor, directly in books, by then both written and drawn by Pesch. In the 1980s Jean-Louis Pesch took over the classic series 'Les Pieds Nickelés', originally drawn by Louis Forton and Pellos. Two years later he drew 'Les Primeurs' for Tintin, a series about vegetables, written by Franz.

Sylvain et Sylvette, by Jean-Louis Pesch
'Sylvain et Sylvette'. Dutch-language version. 

Even though Pesch has a big oeuvre of his own, he is mainly remembered for his work on the fairy tale series 'Sylvain et Sylvette', originally created by Maurice Cuvillier. Taken the series over in 1956, Pesch has drawn over 4.000 pages starring the two orphan children and their animal friends.  He initially worked on the series with writer Claude Dubois, until Fleurus cancelled publication in 1986. Pesch moved the characters to Le Lombard in 1990, and then to Dargaud in 2001. By then, the comic had evolved into a series of gags written by Bélom and with graphic assistance of Bérik (Frédéric Bergèse). Allthough having reached the age of retirement a long time ago, Jean-Louis Pesch continued to work on his comics and advertising projects from his hometown Châteauneuf-sur-Sarthe, in Maine-et-Loire until his death in 2023.

Bec-en-Fer, by Jean-Louis Pesch

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