Soda, by Luc Warnant

Luc Warnant is a Belgian comic artist and 3D animator. He had a short but remarkable stint as comic author in Spirou magazine during the 1980s, at first with his own creation 'Timothée Octave Wang' (1981-1984) and finally as the original artist of the action-filled crime comic 'Soda' (1986-1989), written by Tome.

Assistant work
Born in 1956, Luc Warnant had an early desire to become a comic artist, much to the dismay of his parents, who deemed the profession to uncertain. He enrolled at the École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc in Liège for more serious art studies, but dropped out after only one year because he felt there was too little actual drawing going on. He then went to that city's Academy of Fine Arts, where he first made contact with people from the comic industry. While still a student, he was already assisting Mittéï on his comic series 'L'Indésirable Désiré' for Tintin, and joined the studio of Édouard Aidans for two years. There, he was assigned to draw the children's comic 'Pouf et Poil-au-nez' for the newspaper Vers l'Avenir. By 1974 he also saw one of his own short stories published in the 'Carte Blanche' section of Spirou magazine. Even though Mittéï and Aidans gave Warnant his first jobs, it was André Beckers who helped the young man with building a portfolio and presenting his work to publishers.


Spirou magazine
In the late 1970s, Warnant met Gos, then the artist of 'Gil Jourdan', the detective created by the late Maurice Tillieux. Gos introduced him to the editor of Spirou magazine, Thierry Martens, who proposed him to take of the art duties of 'Gil Jourdan'. A meeting with publisher Charles Dupuis changed these plans, however. Dupuis was charmed by one of Warnant's own creations, and proposed if he wouldn't rather have his own comic in Spirou instead? The young and ambitious artist took the plunge, and went to work.

T.O. Wong, by Luc Warnant
'T.O. Wang'.

Timothée Octave Wang
'Timothée Octave Wang' ('T.O. Wang') was introduced in Spirou #2230 of 8 January 1981. Wang is a bold Tibetan who masters the arts of levitation, telepathy and other supernatural crafts of the Buddhist monks. He uses his skills to help his friend Lafouille and his clumsy nephew Philbert during two scientific adventures, one of twenty pages and one full length story of 44 pages, published in 1984 under the title 'La Statue Vivante'. Warnant wrote and drew these stories all by himself, although he received help for the dialogues by R. Quarre and J.L. Berger for the second episode. Soleil Productions released 'La Statue Vivante' in book format in 1989. It took until 2018 before Éditions Hématine published both stories in one luxury volume in a limited print run.

'Le Long Voyage' (Spirou/Robbedoes #2274, 1984).

In addition to his own series, Warnant worked on a couple of short stories for Spirou on the side. Even before the publication of 'T. O. Wang', he made two short stories in cooperation with Stéphane Colman, published throughout 1980. With Stephen Desberg, he made 'Le Long Voyage', a short story which addressed the topic of lab experiments on animals. In 1984 he cooperated with Tome and Janry on the short story 'P'tit Beurre', followed a couple of issues later by his own short story 'Le Miroir aux Arlouettes'. Warnant's graphical talents did not go by unnoticed. His dynamic drawing style resembled  Franco-Belgian comic legend André Franquin, who at one point suggested he'd take over 'Gaston Lagaffe'. Editor Philippe Vandooren paired Warnant with Yann for a comic about the Vietnam war. However, the artist didn't feel at ease with the serious subject matter or the cynical tone of Yann's script, and the project was aborted. Instead he teamed up with 'Spirou' author Philippe Tome for an action-filled crime comic set in New York City.

Tome and Warnant's 'Soda' debuted in Spirou #2507 of 1986. The series' subject matter and violence was a remarkable step ahead for Spirou magazine, which until recently had stayed loyal to its Catholic roots. The main hero, David Solomon, is a moody and anti-authoritarian lieutenant with the NYPD, for whom shoot-outs are a daily routine. He shares an apartment with his elderly and widowed mother, a heart patient, who must never know of her son's dangerous job. To her, he is a devoted priest, who leaves the appartment every morning in his clerical clothing. During the elevator ride he however changes into a more casual outfit, although he carries out some investigations in his priest persona.

Soda - 'Lettres à Satan'.

Luc Warnant drew two full length stories, and the beginning of the third. After 'Un Ange Trépasse' (1986), he and Tome explored the back story of their character in the critically acclaimed 'Lettres à Satan' (1987). The stories stood out not only for its daring concept, but also for Warnant's raw and dynamic, yet caricatural artwork. It was Warnant's idea to give Soda only three fingers on his gloved left hand, adding to the character's mysterious nature. The artist however dropped out over the course of 1989, after finishing eleven pages of the third story, 'Tu ne buteras point'. Warnant was a meticulous and slow worker, who felt overwhelmed by the solitude of a comic artist's profession and the pressure of maintaining a regular production for a hit series. In 1991, he and Tome made another, independent short story called 'L'Un de Nous Deux Doit Mourir', but this remained his final comics work to date. 'Soda' was continued until 2005 by Bruno Gazzotti, the assistant of Tome and Janry on 'Le Petit Spirou'. The series was revived in 2015, by now drawn by Janry's other assistant, Dan Verlinden.

3D animator
His perfectionist nature motivated Warnant to sculpt and make photographs 3D models helped him find the best camera viewpoints for his action sequences. Through a friend he was introduced to computer graphics, at the time still a novelty. It made him drop comics altogether and join an animation studio affiliated with the Luxembourg broadcasting company RTL, which explored the possibilities of the new 3D animation techniques. Warnant became an expert in texturizing, and experimented with methods to apply 3D animation to not only inanimate objects like cars and planes, but also to human characters, trees, etc. He worked mostly on advertising projects, but with Paul Hannequart's Luxanima studio he also participated as a character designer in the production of Thierry Schiel's animated feature film 'Tristan et Iseult' (2002) by Oniria Pictures. In the early 2000s, Warnant became a teacher in 3D modeling and sculpting at the Haut École Albert Jacquard in Namur, Belgium.

By now retired, Luc Warnant has the ambition to one day make another comic with the help of 3D modeling.

'L'Un de Nous Deux Doit Mourir' (Spirou #2775, 1991).

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