Celebrities in Switzerland: Jacques Martin
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Martin, Jacques (1920 - ) France / Writer / VD

The comic artist who created Alix has lived in Switzerland since 1984. Jacques Martin was born in September, 1920, in Strasbourg. He began his training as an engineer, but then was deported to Germany during the Second World War. His forced labor consisted of designing propellers for the army, however, he chose types of steel that were impossible for his employers to find so that his work would not benefit the German Luftwaffe (Air Force). After the war, he began his career as an illustrator at the age of 25.

Jacques Martin left for Belgium, where he worked with Hergé for the Tintin magazine. Towards the end of Hergé's life, Martin had become the boss' right hand man, creating the majority of the last Tintin editions, while Hergé contented himself with overseeing the work. But Jacques Martin was a creative spirit and he worked on his own projects, creating the character Alix, whose adventures take place during the Antiquity. The Alix books were a huge success and the illustrator went on to create Lefranc in 1952, a copy of Alix set in the modern day (L'Arme absolue, Opération Thor).

Jacques Martin also created the character Jhen. His drawing expertise and excellent historical knowledge has made him one of the great masters of traditional comics. He continued the Alix series with success (Vercingétorix and Les Légions perdues) and worked with Hergé until his death in 1983.

In 1984, the man behind Alix settled in upper Pully, near Lausanne, overlooking Lake Geneva, where he continued his work in a tax environment that is more reasonable for the self-employed. The comic artist feels right at home with the annual International Comic Arts Festival held in Sierre in the Valais region.

Jacques Martin lives in a large apartment decorated with antique furniture, with a splendid view over the lake. In 1990, he created a new character, Orion the Greek, leaving the finishing work to one of his assistants, Christophe Simon, who was trained in what is now referred to as the "Jacques Martin School".

In 2000, the Brussels Museum of Comics and Cartoons held a retrospective in honor of his 80th birthday. Hindered by poor eyesight, he continues to supervise the work of his many assistants who draw, decorate and color the master comic artist's scenarios.

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