Benoit Peeters

Article

November 30, 2021

Benoît Peeters born August 28, 1956 in Paris, is a Belgian-French writer, screenwriter and critic. He is also a specialist in the universe of Tintin.

Biography

Youth and beginnings

Born in Paris, he nevertheless spent his childhood in Brussels, where his father was one of the first European civil servants. When he was 12, he met the future designer François Schuiten at Don Bosco College, with whom he imagined a newspaper. He did not return to France until 1973. After a hypokhâgne and a khâgne at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and a license in philosophy at the Sorbonne (University Paris I), he prepared for the diploma of the Practical School of Higher Studies under the direction of Roland Barthes. His semiology thesis focuses on "the analysis, box by box, of the Bijoux de la Castafiore". His first novel, Omnibus, imaginary biography of Claude Simon, appeared in 1976 by Editions de Minuit. In 1980, he published a second, La Bibliothèque de Villers, a tribute to Jorge Luis Borges at least as much as to Agatha Christie, at Robert Laffont. In 1977, he discovered gastronomy during a meal at the restaurant of the Troisgros brothers, in Roanne. While still a student and returned to live in Brussels, he tried his hand for a year as a home cook. He recounts this experience much later, in the comic book Comme un chef, drawn by Aurélia Aurita. Since the start of his career, Benoît Peeters has diversified his activities: novelist, biographer, screenwriter, comic book critic and theorist, set designer and publisher. In 2009, his book Writing the Image, an autobiographical essay, appeared. It was originally as part of an Habilitation to direct research (defended at the Sorbonne in 2007) that he wrote this summary work. He has two sons, Archibald and Vladimir.

Hergé specialist

Benoît Peeters first met Hergé in 1977, in Brussels, during an interview he conducted with Patrice Hamel for the review Minuit. In addition to his thesis devoted to the Jewels of the Castafiore (which appeared, revised, in book form in 1984), he published several small studies on Tintin. When Carlsen and Casterman plan to produce a monograph on Hergé, it is the creator of Tintin himself who suggests that the publishers entrust the writing of the work to Peeters. For the purposes of this book (Le Monde d'Hergé), he spoke at length with the designer, three months before the latter's death. Subsequently, Benoît Peeters worked on various projects linked to Hergé, sometimes in collaboration with Pierre Sterckx: the collection L'Œuvre integrale d'Hergé for the Rombaldi editions (1984-1989), the album edition of the last unfinished adventure by Tintin, Tintin and Alph-Art (1986), the documentary film Monsieur Hergé (1988), the exhibitions Hergé designer (1988-1989) and Au Tibet avec Tintin (1994), or the thematic evening Tintin reporter for the Franco-German channel Arte (1995). In 2002, he published the biography of Hergé, son of Tintin, with Flammarion, the fruit of his research and meetings with witnesses. The book is considered a reference. Since 2015, he is one of the three authors of the afterwords of the Hergé collection, the full soap opera, jointly edited by Moulinsart and Casterman.

Comic book writer

From his style as a comic book writer, critics point to a taste for experimentation and the ability to renew his art from album to album. This is precisely what makes the success of the Les Cités obscures series, which he created in 1982 with his friend the cartoonist François Schuiten. It does not obey any of the classic rules of a series: the heroes are not necessarily the same from one story to another; each story takes place in a different city, at a different time.

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