I Love Paris by Maarten Vande Wiele
'I Love Paris'.

Maarten Vande Wiele is a Belgian comics artist who works in colourful, highly stylized linework, inspired by fashion design. Recurring themes in his work are tales about the dark side of glamour, such as his graphic novels 'I Love Paris' (2009),  'I Hate Paris' (2009) and 'Zeep' (2017). He also gained fame with the Maupassant comics adaptation 'Monsieur Bermutier' (2014) and 'Abba Zoekt Frida' (2016), a graphic novel about an Abba cover band. Van de Wiele's comics have been translated in English, French, German and Italian. 

Early life and influences
Vande Wiele was born in Ghent in 1977. From a young age he was fascinated by glitter and glamour. He loved watching campy soap operas such as 'Charlie's Angels', 'Dynasty' and 'Melrose Place' and considers stories about bitchy but elegant career women a guilty pleasure. Another passion are horror stories, like EC Comics' 'The Vault of Horror', Barbie dolls and the 'James Bond' franchise. His graphical influences are are Matto, Kirsten Ulve, Seth, Hanco Kolk, Peter De Wit, Gemma Correll, Bastien Vivès, Charles Burns, Guy Delisle, Dupuy and Berberian. Vande Wiele started studying animation at the Hogeschool van Gent, but soon switched to photography. He graduated with a master in decorative arts. Between 2011 and 2012 he was an art teacher at the art academy of Wetteren for one school year. 

Best Girlfriends Forever, by Maarten Vande Wiele
'Best Girlfriends Forever 2000'

Early comics
His first work was a photo comic based on the TV series 'Dynasty'. After publishing some comics in the magazines Beeldstorm and Zozolala he caught the attention of Dutch comics legends Hanco Kolk and Peter De Wit, who asked Vande Wiele to contribute a story to their Pincet series. Thus the short comic strip 'Glamourissimo' (2000) was made, tackling the decadent life of ladies living in high society. In 2004 he created the 'Charlie's Angels' parody 'Best Girlfriends Forever 2000' for the Incognito collection, which he later regarded as an old shame. This was followed by a series of short comics called 'Strip Noir' (2005) and the psychedelic comic strip 'Dr. Carnacki' (2005), which was written by Stefan Nieuwenhuis. The latter was based on William Hope Hodgson's thriller 'The Whistling Room'.

Strip Noir by Maarten Vande Wiele
'Strip Noir'

I Love Paris
His breakthrough and best-known work is 'I Love Paris' (2008). Defined as a so-called "graphic trash novel" by the author, the comic book centers around three young women, Hope, Faith and Chastity, who want to make it in the Parisian jet-set. The plot was inspired by two books, Jacqueline Susann's 'Valley of the Dolls' (1966) and comics artist Erika Raven 's novel 'Het Kreng' (2004). Vande Wiele even managed to get Raven out of her self-chosen retirement and write the script. 'I Love Paris' delves deep in his love-hate relationship with the hollow, yet morbidly attractive fashion world. Sex, drugs, gossip, plastic surgery, cat fights, success and failure are all stewed together. The sequel, 'I Hate Paris' (2009), continues on the same path, but was written by Peter Moerenhout after Raven showed no interest in writing another script.

I Hate Paris by Maarten Vande Wiele
'I Hate Paris'.

Monsieur Bermutier
In 2014 Vande Wiele published 'Monsieur Bermutier', a story about a judge who investigates a murder mystery. The book was a comic strip adaptation of five stories by French novelist Guy de Maupassant from his novel 'Le Horla'.

Abba Zoekt Frida
His next project, 'Abba Zoekt Frida' (2016), dealt with the members of an Abba cover band, The Honey Honeys, who suddenly hit it big. All is not well, though, when their own private lives start to mirror the decline of the real Abba. Vande Wiele got the idea after seeing a real Abba tribute band, Abba Gold, perform during the Gentse Feesten. 

Monsieur Bermutier by Maarten Vande Wiele
'Monsieur Bermutier'.

Zeep
In 2017 Vande Wiele published 'Zeep' (2017), a two-volume graphic novel which expressed his guilty pleasure for kitschy soap operas like 'Dynasty'. The story revolves around an innocent secretary, Barbra, who gets involved in a long series of family intrigues. Vande Wiele sprinkled his story with every possible soap opera cliché: from cat fights, alcoholism, wedding dramas to characters who suddenly return out of nowhere after a long absence. 

Graphic contributions
In 2010 he made a graphic contribution to the collective comic book 'Jommekes Bij De Vleet' (2010), a homage to Jef Nys. In 2017 he also paid tribute to André Franquin's 'Gaston Lagaffe' in the collective homage album 'Gefeliciflaterd!' (2017). Vande Wiele publishes in Ché, Menzo, Nina and Flair, and has illustrated covers for Vrij Nederland, Zozolala, Stripschrift and ZIZO. 

Abba zoekt Frida by Maarten Vande Wiele
'Abba Zoekt Frida'.

www.maartenvandewiele.be

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