22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Romain Renard

Portrait Romain Renard
© Hartwig Klappert

Romain Renard was born in 1975 and studied at the École supérieure des arts Saint-Luc Bruxelles (ESA). He wrote numerous storyboards for the cinema and worked as part of the team led by Franco Dragone (Cirque du Soleil) on developing shows in both the US and Belgium.

The graphic novel »American Seasons« (2005), which he illustrated and Yves Vasseur wrote, won the Festival Polar de Cognac prize. The plot is centered on an insurance company detective tasked with investigating a death at a Ukrainian circus stationed in Maryland. The FBI and CIA are also interested in the case, making things particularly politically charged considering the year: 1963, the apex of the Cold War. »The End: Jim Morrison« (2007), which Renard wrote to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the release of the first album by The Doors, recounts the life of the songwriter and band front man in flashbacks. Renard’s graphic novel »Un hiver de glace« (2011; tr. Glacial winter), an adaptation of the novel »Winter’s Bone« by Daniel Woodrell, is set in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. 16-year-old Ree Dolly, whose mother is mentally ill, must take care of her two younger brothers. The father, who earns his money dealing drugs, has disappeared despite a pending court date. To prevent her family from losing their house, Ree must find him somewhere in their snowy environs within seven days, dead or alive. In his adaptation, Renard emphasizes the desolate cold; the faces are gently framed; the pages are dominated by white, black and sepia tones. Two books from Renard’s »Melvile« series have been published in German. With imposing landscapes, a realistic style and a surprising peripeteia, volume one of »Melvile«, » L’histoire de Samuel Beauclair« (2015; tr. The story of Samuel Beauclair), tells of a novelist who retreats into the quiet of the eponymous location in order to overcome his writer’s block. However, his creativity fails to return and he numbs his senses with alcohol until he responds to a dubious job offer. The book won the Prix Diagonale for best graphic novel of the year in Belgium, and Prix Espoir for best story at the Versailles Festival and at the International Comic Festival in Alger. Renard also adapted it for the stage, composed an accompanying soundtrack and developed an app documenting the artistic creation process. The second volume, »L’histoire de Saul Miller« (2017; tr. The story of Saul Miller), focuses on a retired professor who is spending his tranquil twilight years at this fabled location until a series of unsettling circumstances explodes his world. It won the best graphic novel award in 2016 at the Festival du Polar, had an original soundtrack to accompany the book and, under the title »Chroniques de Melvile«, was also brought to the stage.

Renard was a songwriter for the French rock band ROM’s first album, »L’étoile du sud«. He lives in Brussels, Belgium.