The space-time agent “Valerian” has achieved cult status. Jean-Claude Mézières designed the fantastic imagery. Now the comedic artist has died at the age of 83.


French cartoonist Jean-Claude Mézières is dead. The creator of the science fiction comic strip “Valériane” (in German: “Valériane et Véronique”) has died aged 83, as announced by the Carlsen Verlag in Hamburg.

“He leaves a big void, but his fantastical visual worlds remain immortal,” the editor said. “Star Wars” would be unthinkable without “Valerian”, according to program director Klaus Schikowski.

Jean-Claude Mézières was born in 1938. He was already drawing for various French comic book magazines while he was studying art. His most famous series will be “Valériane”, published in the magazine “Pilote”.

According to the publisher, it was particularly amazing that the space-time agent Valerian also received a female main character, Véronique (in French Laureline), who was often vastly superior to her male counterpart due to her intuition. This is how Véronique became one of the first female protagonists of French comics.

For this reason, the series was published directly in Germany in 1978 under the name “Valerian und Veronique” by Carlsen Comics. A total of 23 volumes have been published in the series, which are available in a complete seven-volume edition.

Mézières developed the concept for the film “The Fifth Element” by director Luc Besson in collaboration with French cartoonist Jean Giraud. In 2017, the film adaptation of his sci-fi epic “Valerian” was released, also by Luc Besson. (dpa)