Jean Cyriaque by Jean Solé
'Jean Cyriaque' (Pilote issue #716, 26 July 1973).

Jean Solé is a French comic artist and illustrator, who stood out for the absurd and sometimes psychedelic drawings he made for magazines like Pilote, Fluide Glacial and L'Écho des Savanes. Born in Vic Fezensac, Gers, he made his first appearance in Pilote magazine in 1971. He participated on several news pages in cooperation with Guy Vidal, Jacques Lob, and Jean-Marie Pélaprat, and also made a great many caricatures. He made the psychedelic comics serial 'Jean Cyriaque' with scenario-writer Jean-Pierre Dionnet in 1972-1973, but became best known for his full-page illustrations of grotesque fantasy animals.

Echo des Savanes, cover by Jean SoleFluide Glacial, cover by Jean Solé
Cover illustrations for L'Écho des Savanes issue #23 (1976) and 'Fluide Glacial issue #114 (1985). 

From 1975 on, Solé was also present in Gotlib's magazine Fluide Glacial, where he made illustrations for the music section 'Pop et Rock et Colegram'. This comic series visualized rock song lyrics literally for comedic effect. The translations were done by Alain Dister, while Gotlib and Solé created the illustrations. In the third issue of that same year Solé created a comic strip built around the lyrics of Frank Zappa's song 'Stinkfoot' from his album 'Apostrophe' (1974). The opening page featured a huge splash panel of Zappa's smelly feet in close-up, while he uses air refreshener to smoothen its horrible odor. Solé based the caricature on a publicity photograph of a bare-feeted Zappa. The image was later used for the cover of a Frank Zappa bootleg album, 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly' (1992), but without Solé's permission or knowledge. He only found out about it later. Interestingly enough Zappa re-released many of these bootlegs under his own label again, as part of his 'Beat the Boots' series. He made no effort to change anything about their artwork or sound quality, because he felt these bootleg recordings were "crap" anyway. All he wanted was to let the money he lost from these bootleggers flow in his own pocket, where it belonged. This naturally outraged fans but also meant Solé was in fact bootlegged twice in a row!

Solé also took over the series 'Superdupont' after the death of Alexis in 1978 (scripts by Lefred Thouron and Gotlib), and created the series 'Salle des Machines'. He was also a regular cover artist for L'Écho des Savanes from 1974, and he also made the comic story 'Le Plombier Maudit' for this magazine. Later on in his career, Jean Solé has focused on making illustrations for the press (Le Point, L'Express, La Vie Ouvrière), posters and books (the Vents d'Ouest collection Astrorire).

Solé made a graphic contribution to Marion Vidal's 'Monsieur Schulz et ses Peanuts’ (Albin Michel, 1976), an essay about Charles M. Schulz'’ 'Peanuts’, illustrated with subversive parodies of the comic, that Schulz unsuccessfully tried to sue. He was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to 'Baston Labaffe no. 5: La Ballade des Baffes’ (Goupil, 1983), an official collective parody comic of  André Franquin’s 'Gaston Lagaffe’. 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 third volume, 'Ces Gens-là' (1988) featured a contribution by Solé. He paid tribute to Nikita Mandryka in the collective comic book 'Tronches de Concombre' (Dupuis, 1995). Solé made a graphic contribution to the book 'Françaises, Français, Belges, Belges, Lecteur Chéri, Mon Amour' (Jungle!, 2005), in which comic artists illustrated short stories by comedian Pierre Desproges. 

On 24 November 2016 Jean Solé received the Grand Boum Ville de Blois for his entire oeuvre. 

Animalerie by Jean Solé

Series and books by Jean Solé you can order today:


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