Celebrated cartoonist Claire Bretécher dies aged 79

Claire Bretécher, one of the most celebrated French cartoonists of recent decades and the first woman to achieve significant prominence in the genre in France, has died aged 79.

Bretécher rose to fame in the 1970s with the comic-book series Les Frustres, (The Frustrated Ones) which tackled issues of gender and sexuality with a mordant and deadpan humour.

Her most famous character was Agrippine, a spoilt adolescent dealing with the troubles of growing up.

Sandrine Chevalier

We lost a great cartoonist today. A women’s rights activist, the one who had innovated in terms of the representation of women in comics. And whose comics made me laugh so much. R I P #clairebretecher ?

February 11, 2020

In France, comic books are known as bandes dessinées, or simply BD, and are regarded as a serious literary art form for adults as well as children.

In 1976, philosopher Roland Barthes hailed Bretécher as the “best sociologist of the year”, a term she laughed off at the time.

“She was one of the pioneers of this literary genre and imposed a style, a tone and an offbeat gaze that was of total originality,” her publishers Dargaud said in a statement this week. It said she often tackled social issues well ahead of her contemporaries. “Bretecher traced a path that was unique in the comic book. Her humour and spirit of mind were immense.”


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