Jean-Pierre Gibrat was born in Paris in 1954, less than a decade after the Second World War. “In my generation,” he says, “everyone was at least once asked the question: ‘What would you have done if you had lived at that time?’”
He was raised in a strong union (General Confederation of Labor) household and held a fascination for history and philosophy. He received his B. A. in 1972 and began his career as a graphic designer and advertising artist. He made his comics debut in 1977, illustrating short stories for the popular French comics magazine Pilote. In 1978 he teamed with writer Jackie Berroyer on Goudard, a coming-cf-age series about a teenaged boy that would eventually be collected in five books. In 1982 he and Berroyer created La Parisienne, about a young woman; the two characters would later team-up in several albums.
In the 1980s and ’90s Gibrat provided illustrations for general magazines and illustrated many other graphic stories, including several books in the Doctors Without Borders series—about missions in Africa, Thailand, and Guatemala (with writers Guy Vidal and Dominique Leguillier)—and Pinocchia, an erotic version of Collodi’s classic (from a script by Francis Leroi).
It was with the award-winning The Reprieve (Le Sursis), published in two volumes between 1997 and 1999, that Gibrat began writing his own scenarios, seamlessly uniting words and pictures. He also united his interest in history with his love of art. The Reprieve takes place during the Occupation in 1943 and introduced the heroine Cecile, whose sister Jeanne is the protagonist of Flight of the Raven (Le Vol du Corbeau), which was published in two parts, in 2002 and 2005.
Gibrat has also written and illustrated Matteo, a sweeping epic that follows its lead character from the First World War, through the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, and into World War Two.
In 2014 Jean-Pierre Gibrat was knighted in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.