Frederik Peeters is an award-winning Swiss comic book artist. He has published over 30 graphic novels but is best known for the highly acclaimed Pilules Bleues (Blue Pills: a Positive Love Story). He has received five nominations in the ‘Best Book’ category at the prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Peeters studied visual communication at the École Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués (ESAA). He worked as a baggage handler for Swissair for three years, which gave him the opportunity to travel and draw. After which, he devoted himself entirely to comics. He began contributing to several comic magazines, including Le Drozophile, Bile Noire, Lapin and Spirou. In 1997, he founded the Swiss indie-publisher Atrabile, through which he released his first comic Fromage Confiture (Cheese and Jam).
In 2001, Peeters released the autobiographical graphic novel Blue Pills. It tells the story of his relationship with Cati who, along with her young son, tests positive for HIV. It received the Polish Jury Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, where it was nominated for Best Book, it won the Geneva Töppfer prize and the Premios La Cárcel de Papel in Spain for Best Foreign Comic. Blue Pills was Peeters’s first work translated into English, which was published by Jonathan Cape. A TV movie adaptation, directed by Jean-Philippe Amar, was broadcast on Arte in 2014. Blue Pills is a captivating story, which beautifully captures nuances that can only come from life. I cannot recommend it enough.
In 2003, Peeters changed directions delving into science fiction graphic novels. The first of which, Lupus, is an experimental planet-hopping tale set in the not too distant future. Lupus was released in four volumes, ending in 2006. Atrabile has since published a collected version. American publishing company, Top Shelf have announced they will be translating and publishing Lupus soon. Between 2003 and 2010 Peeters worked with writer Pierre Wazem on the series Koma. Published by Les Humanoïdes Associés, Koma was his first work in colour. He worked with documentary film-maker Pierre Oscar Lévy on the strange dream-like tale Pachyderme, followed by the unsettling science fiction, Château de sable (Sandcastle). SelfMadeHero has translated and published both comics for the English market.
Between 2011 and 2014, Peeters wrote and illustrated the four-part science fiction series Aâma. The story follows an amnesiac in search of his past. In 2013, Aâma won the award for best ongoing series at 2013’s Angoulême festival. Discussing his writing process, Peeters is most comfortable working in science fiction due to the freedom it offers, he explained:
I have to preface something. I don’t write scripts. I don’t write scenarios before working. I don’t separate the two things. So I write at the same time as I draw. When you have that in mind, science fiction is the best way for me to work because it allows a lot of strange images and experiments.
— Frederik Peeters, The Quietus
Peeters most recent work is L’Odeur des garçons affamés (The Smell of Hungry Boys), written by French author Loo Hui Phang. It’s an atypical western set in Texas, 1872, where history, mystery and emotion all converge. The artwork is outstanding with sweeping cinematic landscapes and strong atmospheric colours. The graphic novel picked up Prix Saint-Michel and Prix Landerneau awards.