Michel Kichka was born in 1954 in Liège, Belgium. While studying architecture he created his first comics for »Curiosity Magazine.« He established in Israel in 1974 and studied Graphic Design at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, where he also later taught, training comic book artists such as Rutu Modan and Uri Fink. Since then, he has been working as a cartoonist and illustrator in French and Hebrew for various media, including the French daily »Le Monde« and weekly »Courrier International,« as well the broadcaster TV5. Since 1995, he has also worked as a caricaturist for Israeli TV, including since 2014 the I24news station. The focus of his political cartoons is Mideast issues.
Kichka’s best-known work is the graphic novel »Deuxième Génération, ce que je n’ai pas dit à mon père« (2012, tr: Second Generation – Things I Never Told my Father). In an interview, the artist said it took years before he ventured to create a comic about the Holocaust, a trepidation no doubt bolstered by the fact that the book also touches on his relationship to his father, Henri Kichka, who survived the concentration camps. The book opens with a picture of the author as a young boy looking at the tattoo on his father’s arm, amazed that the number is etched not only under the skin, but even under the hair. Kichka’s has captioned the image with the grave revelation that his father almost never spoke about his family. On the pages that follow, Kichka provides further insight into a childhood marked by studying the horrific pictures of emaciated inmates taken during the liberation of Buchenwald in the hopes of catching a glimpse of his father, and nightmares of rail tracks and a crematorium that delivers up the ashes of his family to be scattered by the caprices of the winds. But even pleasant childhood memories are not untouched by the horror. For instance, Kichka tells of how he got his love of sketching from his father, with a picture of him sitting on the elder Kichka’s lap as he draws a caricature of Hitler. In a review, the German daily »Tagesspiegel« invented the term »inherited history« for the book’s approach, and praised the author for breaking some of the taboos of dealing with the Shoah, in a disconcerting and critical, but also cheerful way. Some of the graphic novel’s direct references are proof of the author’s reverence for cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who also dealt with the Holocaust, although Kichka’s artistic and narrative originality are on view throughout.
Kichka lives in Jerusalem, where he organized a 2005 gathering of international illustrators. In 2006, he became president of the Israel Cartoonists Guild and a member of the Cartooning for Peace movement. In 2008 he received the Dosh Cartoon Award. In 2011, he was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.