Zep, pen name of Philippe Chappuis, is the creator of 'Titeuf', one of the bestselling French comic series of all time. Geneva-born Chappuis launched his own comics magazine when he was twelve years old. He called it 'Zep...' as an hommage to his favorite band, Led Zeppelin. He kept the name as his pseudonym from then on. After his studies in decorative arts in Geneva, Zep made his debut in the Belgian magazine Spirou with the gag series 'Victor' between 1987 and 1991. This full-color strip already showed traces of Zep's easily recognizable trademark comics style.
His first albums were published by Kesselring, G.S.S.A. and Atoz. These include a 'Victor' collection, and the books 'Léon Coquillard' (1990, text by Christophe Gilli) and 'Kradok' (1991, text by Leglode). By 1992, Zep also appeared in Fluide Glacial. In addition, his artwork was published in magazines like Femmes d'Aujourd'hui, Champagne!, Jeudi-Sports Magazine, La Vie, L'Hebdo and Le Nouveau Quotidien.
His 'Titeuf' character, an eight-year old boy with an impressive cowlick, made its first appearance in the fanzine Sauve Qui Peut in 1990. The name comes from "P'tit Oeuf" ("little egg"), because of the shape of his head. 'Titeuf' caught the attention of the publishing house Glénat, that released the first book in 1992. It sold only a few thousand copies, but within a couple of years, 'Titeuf' was one of France's bestselling comics. By 2008, 'Titeuf' had sold 16 million copies in 25 languages. Most of the stories deal with Titeuf and his friends (Manu, Hugo and François) discovering the world of adults. The mysteries of girls, sex and seduction are also explored, not only in the comics, but also in 'Le Guide du zizi sexuel'. This was an informative book by Zep and his then-wife Hélène Bruller regarding sexuality. 250 episodes of an animated TV series based on the 'Titeuf' comics were broadcasted by Canal J from 2001, and an animated feature film was released in 2011.
One of Titeuf's catchphrases became the title of the monthly comics magazine Tchô!, which Zep and Jean-Claude Camano launched in 1998. Glénat published it until 2010, and then Éditions Fleurus continued it until 2013. Tchô! became breeding ground for a new generation of humorous comic artists, that all worked in the tradition of 'Titeuf', including Nob, Dab's, Olivier Supiot, Téhem, Christophe Bertschy, Boulet and Julien Neel. Zep himself co-created the superhero parody 'Captain Biceps' with Tebo, and 'Les Chronokids' with Stan & Vince, about two time traveling kids. Tchô! also spawned a collection of the same name at Glénat, which collected most of the magazine's features in book format.
Besides his successful comic series, Zep has also done some side projects. He created a booklet called 'Les Amours Contrariées de Cain et Labelle' for the B.D.-Club of Genève in 1995. Éditions Dupuis published two gag books by Zep dealing with the life of an adolescent. 'Les Filles Électriques' (1997) dealt with girls and sexuality, while 'L'Enfer des Concerts' (1999) focused on rock fandom. These were later included in Zep's "Happy" collection, a series of topical books with ironic and adult humor, such as 'Happy Sex' (2009), 'Happy Girls' (2010), 'Happy Rock' (2010) and 'Happy Parents' (2014).
Together with 20 other comic artists (Ptiluc, Frank Margerin, Yslaire, Cosey, Philippe Vuillemin, Milo Manara, Loustal, Gilbert Shelton, Max Cabanes, Dupuy & Berberian, François Boucq, Gérald Poussin, Thomas Ott, Frank Pé, Frank Le Gall, Riff Reb's, Eric Buche, Enrico Marini and Valott) he illustrated a record single for the project '20 Vraies Fausses Pochettes De Disque Par 20 Vrais Dessinateurs de BD' (1995). Zep chose for a song by Willy Deville.
Zep furthermore wrote an erotic one-shot called 'Esmera' for Vince in 2015. He alternates his cartoony work with watercolor drawings he makes for his travel diaries, and more stylized designs for his CD covers, such as Jean-Jacques Goldman's 2001 album 'Chansons pour les pieds'. Always an avid fan of music, Zep has also written and performed comical songs with his bands Zep'n'Greg and Blük Blük.
In September 2015, Zep made a powerful statement on his blog with regard to the refugee issue