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Jean-Claude Forest

Jean-Claude Forest was born in Paris in 1930 and passed away there 68 years later. In between he was the creator of the world-famous character Barbarella, and was once dubbed "the Magician of Comics" by admiring French fans. He was honored by the issuance of a French postage stamp in 1989.

Forest graduated from the Paris School of Design in the early 1950s and immediately began working as an illustrator. His first comic strip, "Flèche Noire" [Black Arrow] was drawn while in art school. He went on to publish "Le Vaisseau Hanté" [The Haunted Ship] and drew several issues of the popular "Charlot" comic book series, loosely based on Charlie Chaplin's 'Little Tramp' character. He became the premier cover artist of the then-leading French science-fiction paperback imprint, "Le Rayon Fantastique" (Hachette-Gallimard), and created original covers for numerous French newspapers and magazines, including "France-Soir", "Les Nouvelles Littéraires" and "Fiction". Forest was one of the founders of the French Comic-Strip Club in the early 1960s, together with renowned film director Alain Resnais.

Forest became world-famous when he created the sexy sci-fi strip "Barbarella", which was originally published in France in V-Magazine in 1962. The strip was an immediate bestseller and was soon translated into a dozen languages. In 1967 it was adapted for the movies by Terry Southern and Roger Vadim, with Forest acting as design consultant.

Forest also created several other comic book series, including "Bebe Cyanure" (Baby Cyanide, 1964), "Mysterieuse Matin, Midi et Soir" (Mysterious Planet, 1971), "Hypocrite" (1971), and "Enfants, c'est l'Hydragon qui Passe" (Children, Watch The Hydragon Go By, 1984). He also wrote scripts for other comic strips and for French television.

Like many artists of the '50's and '60's Forest was heavily influenced by the work of comic strip artist Milton Caniff. He was awarded the Grand Prize at the 1984 Angouleme Comics Festival and in Sierre (Switzerland) in 1986.

Jean-Claude Forest had suffered from severe asthma for many years and passed away in 1998.

written by Andy Etris 2000

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