Monday, May 17, 2010
A prolific cartoon artist from 1959 until his death, Reiser made his debut in the publication La Gazette de Nectar for the Nicolas winery
The comics magazine Hara-Kiri that he founded in 1960 together with Fred and François Cavanna was banned in 1970 by the French minister of the interior for allegedly mocking the recently deceased Charles de Gaulle. Reiser subsequently published his drawings in the followup magazine Charlie Hebdo and several other publications. In 1978 he won the Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême.
He was one of the foremost French humorists of the 1960s and 1970s, infamous for the controversial cartoons and comics he made for magazines like Hara-Kiri, Charlie Hebdo and L'Écho des Savanes. Born Jean-Marc Roussillon in Réhon, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Reiser published his first cartoons in La Gazette de Nectar, the company magazine of the Nicolas winery, in 1959. Shortly afterwards, he made illustrations for Blagues, Cordée and Le Baladin de Paris, which he signed with Jiem.
In 1960, he participated in the launch of Hara-Kiri magazine, together with Georges Bernier, François Cavanna and Fred. Reiser's biting humor and typical drawing style proved perfect for this underground monthly, as well as its weekly counterpart, Hara-Kiri Hebdo (1969). In addition, he contributed to other adult oriented comic magazines of the time, like Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Mensuel, La Gueule Ouverte and B.D.
Throughout the 1960s, Reiser also drew for the big press, providing work to magazines like Arts, Noir et Blanc, La Vie du Rail, Week-End, Paris-Match, Le Journal du Dimanche and Elle. When Hara-Kiri was prohibited for a second time in 1966, Reiser created the sole issue of his own comic Am Stram Gram for Editions Du Square. He then joined Pilote magazine, where his artwork was judged too different by chief editor René Goscinny. So Reiser turned to writing, cooperating with artists like Ramon Monzon, Nikita Mandryka, Bob de Groot, Jean-Claude Mézières, Mic Delinx, Henri Dufranne, Cabu, Gotlib, Jean Chakir, Roger Bussemey, Patrice Ricord, Claude Poppé, Jean Pouzet and Alexis. Due to conflicts between Dargaud and Editions Du Square, the publisher of Hara-Kiri, Reiser left Pilote in 1972.
He died November 5, 1983 in Paris, of bone cancer.