Jean Van Hamme is a prolific comic writer, author of large and already mythical series such as XIII, Largo Winch or Thorgal, to name the most famous.
Van Hamme was born in Brussels in 1939 and began studying business administration and working as a journalist. At this time he began to write, but it was not until 1976 that he devoted himself fully to literary creation.
His first great success was achieved in 1977 thanks to Thorgal, the Viking hero created together with Rosinski, originally published in the magazine Tintin. Thorgal wasn't a regular historical comic about a group of Vikings. Playing with fantastic elements, the series is more a heroic fantasy. Van Hamme and Rosinski additionally made the widely praised fantasy story Le grand pouvoir du Chninkel for Casterman in 1988.
In 1984, he created XIII, illustrated by William Vance, and published by Dargaud. Based on Robert Ludlum's book 'The Bourne Identity', the series is built around a character in search of his true identity. What follows is a series of exciting intrigues, government and military cover-ups, murder attempts and action scenes, following the story of a mysterious amnesiac agent persecuted around the world.. At the same time, he produced the political-fiction series S.O.S. Bonheur for Griffo, which was published in the Aire Libre collection of the publishing house Dupuis.
In1989, Jean Van Hamme began adapting his Largo Winch novels in another successful comic series, illustrated by Philippe Francq. Between 1992 and 1999, Van Hamme wrote a new series of eight books about a dynasty of Belgian brewers, 'Les Maîtres de l'Orge' drawn by Francis Vallès.
Since 1996, he has been working on new stories with Edgar P. Jacobs' Blake et Mortimer, which have been drawn by Ted Benoit, René Sterne, and Antoine Aubin.
Other creations by Van Hamme include the one-shot Lune de Guerre with Hermann (Dupuis, 2000), Wayne Shelton with Christian Denayer in (Dargaud, 2001-2003 and from 2009) and Lady S with Philippe Aymond (Dupuis, since 2005). Van Hamme's unused script for a TV mini-series was turned into the comic series Rani by artist Francis Vallès and scriptwriter Alcante (Lombard, since 2009).
After 2007, Van Hamme stopped writing his series 'XIII' and 'Thorgal', leaving them to Yves Sente. He acts as an advisor for spin-off series like XIII Mystery.
Further works by Van Hamme are the graphic novel Le Télescope, written for Dutch artist Paul Teng.
He received the Prix Saint-Michel for his entire oeuvre during the Brussels Comics Festival in 2009, and became an honorary citizen of the city in 2011. In that same year, he was named Commandeur des Arts et Lettres at the Angoulême festival. Van Hamme was knighted by the Belgian king Albert II in 2015. Since 15 November 2010 'XIII' has his own mural in the Rue Philippe de Champagne/ Philippe de Champagne Straat as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. On 13 November 2013 a mural honouring 'Thorgal' and part of the same route was inaugurated at the Place Anneessens / Anneessensplaats in Brussels.