David Vander Meulen
Born in 1968, David Vander Meulen is a French-speaking Belgian comic book writer and illustrator. After studying art and art history, he opened an underground cafe theatre in Brussels with a friend and created his first self-published comics.
His drawing style of this period is characteristic of the École Marcinelle, a group of Belgian comic artists whose dynamic caricatures and humorous strips appeared in the magazine »Spirou« after the Second World War. One of his creations beyond the comic realm is the fictional character Monsieur Léopold Ferdinand David Vandermeulen, an ironically drawn alter-ego, posing as a supporter of the monarchy, who comments on current events on a website and is the author of several satirical books. In addition to his humorous works Vandermeulen has made himself a name in recent years mainly as a writer and illustrator of the biographies of historical figures. His most ambitious project to date is the biography of the German Jewish chemist Fritz Haber (1868-1934), the first instalment of which appeared in 2005 and which was continued in early 2014 with the fourth of a proposed six volumes. In this award-winning series Vandermeulen examines the contradictory personality of the Nobel Prize winner, whose work both formed the basis for the massive development of artificial fertilizers and paved the way for the use of poison gas in the First World War. For this book Vandermeulen has adopted a new style which combines photorealistic elements with a twisted, sepia-toned watercolour aesthetic. In a review the »Nouvel Observateur« especially praised the meticulous craftsmanship and historical authenticity of the series. One reviewer on the website, www.critiqueslibres.com states, »Here the art of the comic takes on an artistic form that requires the reader to engage with the best and the worst aspects of human nature and recognise them in themselves. It is an adult book in the truest sense of the word«. As a scriptwriter Vandermeulen has also created numerous comic stories in collaboration with other artists, such as an adaptation of »Faust«, the book, »La Passion des Anabaptistes« with the draftsman Ambre, »La journée d’un journaliste américain en 2889« with Guillaume Guerse and biographies of »Shelley« (2012) and »Chamisso« (2014) with Daniel Casanave. Alongside this work he continues to publish experimental projects. In 2012 his album, »Ric Remix«, appropriated scenes from the Franco-Belgian comic book series »Rick Master« by André Oaul Duchâteau and Tibet in the form of a collage which both satirised and paid homage to the comic book classic.