Emmanuel Larcenet, better known as Manu Larcenet. He is a French comics writer, illustrator and colourist. A prominent name in Franco-Belgian comics. To date, he has worked on in excess of 50 books. Larcenet is known for his humour, showcased on title Bill Baroud and Le retour à la terre (The return to earth). However, he has demonstrated a great strength to handle deeper social and emotional content, evident in Le combat ordinaire (Ordinary Victories) and Blast.
Born in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, Larcenet was making comics from the age of 10. He studied art in Sèvres and then completed a visual communication degree at École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués et des métiers, also called Olivier de Serres.
Larcenet’s first published comic work was in rock fanzines, while he was a singer in a punk band. In 1994, he published his first story, l’Expert-comptable de la jungle in Fluide Glacial magazine. He continued his drawing for the magazine up until 2006. Larcenet also contributed cartoons to Spirou magazine from 1997 to 2004.
Larcenet is one of those rare illustrators who can capture humour just as well as he tackle serious matters and in 2008 Larcenet started writing and drawing one of his darkest tales. Blast is a is a four volume masterpiece. Rendered in black and white, for the most part, the melancholy tale follows the self-destructive path of Polza Mancini as he deals with his past, alcoholism and trust issues. Dargaud published the first volume, Grasse Carcasse, in 2009. Its concluding volume, Pourvu que les bouddhistes se trompent, was released in 2014. The series has received unanimous critical acclaim. It has been translated to German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, however sadly not in English…yet.
You can watch a very interesting discussion of the book and it’s subject matters in an interview with Manu Larcenet on French talk show, On n’est pas couché.
In 1997, he co-founder publisher Les Rêveurs, where you can find a good collection of his books. In 2012, Galerie Champaka hosted an exhibition dedicated to the work of Manu Larcenet and has a great gallery of his work.