Who Was Jean-Jacques Loup?

By | Tuesday, June 13, 2023 Leave a Comment
When I was a kid in the 1970s, we had this wordless picture book that I kept going back to repeatedly. The art was incredibly detailed, and you could spend hours pouring over the nuances. I don't know what happened to the book, and for the longest time, I couldn't remember the name of the book or the author. I'd periodically try searching online to no avail, and I eventually wrote up a blog post to see if I could enlist the internet hive mind. No luck.

I did eventually across another book that looked like it had the same art style, and I was able to confirm the book and author! The artist's name was Jean-Jacques Loup and the specific book I was remembering was Patatrac. I can't find any really high quality images of the book spreads offhand -- which you really need to get all the fantastic detail in these -- but here's one that's not too bad...
So I looked Loup up. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot written about him, but he was a noted cartoonist in France. Here's the full biography that Lambiek provides on him...
Jean-Jacques Loup was a popular French cartoonist, who is best known for his many crowded and detailed drawings for jigsaw puzzles. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Lyon, and was an architect and jazz pianist. He worked in Paris as a cartoonist from 1969 until his death in 2015.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, he was present in magazines like Mormoil, Fluide Glacial, L'Express, Le Canard Enchaîné, Charlie Mensuel, Libération, Playboy and Marie-Claire. He was editorial illustrator for VSD for 15 years. Album collections of his work have been published by Audie ('Touti Frouti', 1977), Dargaud ('La Bible de...', 1984) and Glénat ('La Vie des Maitres' parts 1 and 2, 1983-85).
Interestingly, the most substantive and detailed biography I've found for him is on a website called Jigsaw Junkies, a fan site for jigsaw puzzles. Many of Loup's works were made into puzzles, and it would seem that he eventually began making pieces specifically for that medium.

His political cartoons, as least the handful I've found, seem pretty sharp and easily justifies his mocking Charlie Hebdo terrorists from beyond the grave in this Placide cartoon.

Patatrac seems well out of print and, while not impossible to find, rare enough that it seems to frequently command a hefty price. One of his other notable works, The Architect, is both easier to find and significantly cheaper. Now that I've discovered who this artist is, and a little more about his background, I'm definitely going to try to track down more about him and his work.
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