Philippe Francq

Philippe Francq was born in Etterbeek on 13 December 1961. His schooling was unremarkable, though he decided to finish his secondary education in an artistic department and enrolled at Saint-Luc in September 1978. It was here that he really learnt how to hold a pencil and to fill a sheet of paper. In 1981, he studied for a further three years in the cartoon section, which at the time was directed by Claude Renard. He was concerned both by the drawing and the even more serious problem of the words. Aged 23, he graduated from Saint-Luc with a string of academic titles and started looking for a publisher and inspiration. He worked successively with Gabrielle Borille, a writer with whom he produced the first ten strips of an uncompleted story, and also worked with Bob de Moor at the Hergé Studio. Bob de Groot suggested they work together on a series called "Des villes et des femmes", and they produced two albums for Dargaud. For the same publisher, Francq then produced two volumes of "Léo Tomasini" with words by Francis Delvaux. His meeting with Jean Van Hamme in 1988 changed his destiny. This writer of books and cartoons suggested that he illustrate the adaptations based on a series of six of his books that had been successful at Mercure de France at the beginning of his career. "Largo Winch" is a series of modern thrillers, often exotic, and always set in the world of high finance. The project was initially extremely in advance for its time and was not widely distributed. The precise and efficient drawings of Francq placed the series amongst the top best-selling cartoons. Launched in the "Repérages" collection, the first volume sold more than 50,000 copies when it was brought out, whilst the tenth edition sold around 500,000! At the same time, the novels were reissued in various forms and a major 39 episode television series has been broadcast worldwide.