(1951- ) Yugoslav/French illustrator, a very distinctive, innovative and original creator of sensuous, decadent futures. Bilal was born in Belgrade, moving with his family to France in 1961. He attended the Académie des Beaux Arts briefly in the early 1970s. In 1971 he won a competition to create an sf Comic-strip story run by the magazine Pilote, in which he subsequently published a number of strips later collected in book form as L'appel des étoiles ["The Call of the Stars"] (graph coll 1974; vt Le bol maudit ["The Cursed Bowl"] 1982). A further collection was Memoires d'outre éspace (graph coll 1978; trans as Outer States 1990). In 1973 he met and teamed up with sf writer Pierre Christin (1938- ) to produce five graphic novels: La croisière des oubliés (graph 1975; trans in Heavy Metal April-November 1982 as "The Voyage of Those Forgotten"), Le vaisseau de pierre (graph 1976; trans in Heavy Metal July-November 1980 as "Progress"), La ville qui n'existait pas (graph 1977; trans in Heavy Metal March-September 1983 as "The City that Didn't Exist"), Les phalanges de l'ordre noir (graph 1979; trans as The Ranks of the Black Order 1989) and Partie de chasse (graph 1982; trans in Heavy Metal June 1984-March 1985 as "The Hunting Party"). He collaborated with writer Pierre Dionnet to produce Exterminateur 17 (graph 1979; trans in Heavy Metal October 1977-March 1978 as Exterminator 17; 1986). In 1981 he began to write and draw an as yet unfinished trilogy, so far consisting of La foire aux immortels (graph 1983; trans as Gods in Chaos 1985) and La femme piége (graph 1986; trans as The Woman Trap 1986). In 1989-1990 he collaborated with Christin on a series of reportage fictions from five different cities, under the series title Coeurs sanglants ["Bleeding Hearts"], for which his illustrations comprised photographs with additional features drawn or painted in. Other works include his four-part graphic novel series, Hatzfeld Tetralogy: Le sommeil du monstre (graph 1998), 32 Décembre (graph 2003), Rendez-vous à Paris (graph 2006), and Quatre? (graph 2007), all published by French publisher Les Humanoids. Humanoids also co-published translated volumes of some of Bilal's work in the United States with DC Comics.
Bilal has collaborated with French film-maker Alain Resnais, providing set designs for La vie est un roman (1983; vt Life is a Bed of Roses), and contributed design work to Michael Mann's film The Keep (1983) and to the film version of The Name of the Rose (1986), based on the novel by Umberto Eco. He also directed the sf movie Bunker Palace Hotel (1990), a thriller set in the future and involving Robots, and Immortel (Ad Vitam) (2004), set in a Dystopian New York in 2095. More recent work in the medium of graphic novels has included the highly-regarded Hatzfield tetralogy, a very stylish series concerning a Near-Future world of globalization, terrorism and "the incarnation of pure evil": Le Sommeil du monstre ["The Dormant Beast"] (1998), 32 Décembre (2003) and Rendez-vous à Paris (2006) have so far appeared. [RT/AR/JP]
see also: Heavy Metal; Illustration; Métal Hurlant.
born Belgrade, Yugoslavia: 7 October 1951
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