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Enki Bilal

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Enki Bilal
BornEnes Bilal
(1951-10-07) 7 October 1951 (age 72)
Belgrade, PR Serbia, Yugoslavia
Area(s)Artist, writer, director
Notable works
Nikopol Trilogy, Légendes d'Aujourd'hui, Partie de chasse
AwardsFull list

Enki Bilal (born Enes Bilal; born 7 October 1951) is a French comic book creator and film director.


Early life[edit]

Bilal was born in Belgrade, PR Serbia, Yugoslavia,[1] to a Czech mother, Ana, who came to Belgrade as child from Karlovy Vary, and a Bosnian Muslim father, Muhamed Hamo Bilal, from Ljubuški, who had been Josip Broz Tito's tailor. When he was five years old, his father managed to take a trip and stay in Paris as a political émigré. Enki and the rest of the family, his mother Ana and sister Enisa, stayed in Yugoslavia, and four years later they followed.[2][3] Enki Bilal has no sense of belonging to any ethnic group and religion, nor is he obsessed with soil and roots. He said in one interview: "I also feel Bosnian by my father's origin, a Serb by my place of birth and a Croat by my relationship with a certain one to my childhood friends, not to mention my other Czech half, who I am inherited from mother".[4]

Education and career[edit]

At age 14, he met René Goscinny and with his encouragement applied his talent to comics. He produced work for Goscinny's Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote in the 1970s, publishing his first story, Le Bol Maudit, in 1972.

In 1975, Bilal began working with script writer Pierre Christin on a series of dark and surreal tales, resulting in the body of work titled Légendes d'Aujourd'hui.

In 1983, Bilal was asked by film director Alain Resnais to collaborate on his film La vie est un roman, for which Bilal provided painted images that were incorporated in the "medieval" episodes of the film.

He is best known for the Nikopol trilogy (La Foire aux immortels, La Femme piège and Froid Équateur), which took more than a decade to complete. Bilal wrote the script and did the artwork. The final chapter, Froid Équateur, was chosen book of the year by the magazine Lire and is acknowledged by the inventor of chess boxing, Iepe Rubingh as the inspiration for the sport.

Quatre? (2007), the last book in the Hatzfeld tetralogy, deals with the breakup of Yugoslavia from a future viewpoint. The first installment came in 1998 in the shape of Le Sommeil du Monstre opening with the main character, Nike, remembering the war in a series of traumatic flashbacks. The third chapter of the tetralogy is Rendez-vous à Paris (2006), which was the fifth best selling new comic of 2006, with 280,000 copies sold.[5]

His cinematic career was revived with the expensive Immortel, his first attempt to adapt his books to the screen. The film divided critics, some panning the use of CGI characters but others seeing it as a faithful reinterpretation of the books.[citation needed]

On 13 May 2008 a video game based on the Nikopol trilogy was announced titled Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals. Published in North America by Got Game Entertainment in August 2008, the game is a "point and click" adventure for the PC; however, the Lead Designer was Marc Rutschlé[6] and not Bilal himself, who was the art designer, along with Yoshitaka Amano, for the video game Beyond Good and Evil 2.

In 2012, Bilal was featured in a solo exhibition at The Louvre. The exhibition, titled "The Ghosts of the Louvre", ran from 20 December 2012 to 18 March 2013. The exhibition was organized by Fabrice Douar, and featured a series of paintings of "Ghosts", done atop photographs that Bilal took of the Louvre's collection.[7]



Légendes d'Aujourd'hui[edit]

(written by Pierre Christin)
  • La Croisière des oubliés (1975, Dargaud; The Cruise of Lost Souls, also translated as The Voyage Of Those Forgotten)
  • Le Vaisseau de pierre (1976, Dargaud; Ship of Stone, also translated as Progress!)
  • La ville qui n'existait pas (1977, Dargaud; The Town That Didn't Exist, also translated as The City That Didn't Exist)

Fins de Siècle[edit]

(written by Pierre Christin)



Coup de Sang[edit]



  • Mémoires d'outre-espace, Histoires courtes 1974–1977 (Memories From Outer Space, 1978)
  • Exterminateur 17 (Exterminator 17, 1979; written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet)
  • Los Angeles – L'Étoile oubliée de Laurie Bloom (Los Angeles – The Forgotten Star of Laurie Bloom, 1984)
  • Hors Jeu (Off Play, 1987; with Patrick Cauvin)
  • Coeurs sanglants et autres faits divers (Bleeding Hearts and Other Stories, 1988; written by Pierre Christin)
  • Bleu Sang (Blue Blood, 1994)
  • Mémoires d'autre temps, Histoires courtes 1971–1981 (Memories From Other Times, 1996)
  • EnkiBilalAnDeuxMilleUn (EnkiBilalInTwoThousandOne, 1996)
  • Tykho Moon – livre d'un film (Tykho Moon – Book of a Film, 1996)
  • Un Siècle d'Amour (A century of Love , 1999)
  • Le Sarcophage (The Sarcophagus, 2000)
  • Magma (2000)
  • Les Fantômes du Louvre (2012)

English translations[edit]

Comics in Heavy Metal Magazine[edit]

From its start through the 1980s, Bilal was a frequent contributor to the American Heavy Metal magazine. Many notable Bilal comics made their English debut in this period of the magazine. Although shorter stories appeared later in the '90s, Heavy Metal readers had to wait until 2012 for another graphic novel feature from Bilal.

Graphic novels

English title Date (start) Issue (start) Date (end) Issue (end) Writer Number
of pages
Exterminator 17 1978/10 Vol. 2 No. 6 1979/03 Vol. 2 No. 11 Jean-Pierre Dionnet 60
Progress! 1980/07 Vol. 4 No. 4 1980/11 Vol. 4 No. 8 Pierre Christin 54
The Nikopol Trilogy: The Immortals' Fete 1981/05 Vol. 5 No. 2 1981/12 Vol. 5 No. 9 Enki Bilal 62
The Voyage of Those Forgotten 1982/04 Vol. 6 No. 1 1982/11 Vol. 6 No. 8 Pierre Christin 52
The City That Didn't Exist 1983/03 Vol. 6 No. 12 1983/09 Vol. 7 No. 6 Pierre Christin 54
The Hunting Party 1984/06 Vol. 8 No. 3 1985/03 Vol. 8 No. 12 Pierre Christin 82
The Nikopol Trilogy: The Trapped Woman 1986/Fall Vol. 10 No. 3 same as start Enki Bilal 54
Animal'z 2012/03 March 2012 2014/04 270 Enki Bilal 87

Short stories

English title Date Issue Note Number of pages
"Crossroads of the Universe" 1977/07 Vol. 1 No. 4 reprinted in Greatest Hits 1994 7
"The Death of Orlaon, or: Legendary Immortality" 1978/07 Vol. 2 No. 3 reprinted in The Best of 1982 4
"Ultimate Negotiations" 1979/01 Vol. 2 No. 9 4
"True Tales of Outer Space: The Planet of no Return" 1979/02 Vol. 2 No. 10 7
"Going Native" 1979/04 Vol. 2 No. 12 7
"The Road to Ruin" 1980/02 Vol. 3 No. 10 written by Pierre De La Varech 2
"Of Needle and Thread" 1980/04 Vol. 4 No. 1 reprinted in hardcover version of Greatest Hits 1994 4
"Only the Plitch" 1980/05 Vol. 4 No. 2 reprinted in The Best of No. 2 1986 10
"Amusing Stories Section: A Day in the Log of the City of Alger" 1982/08 Vol. 6 No. 5 written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet 4
"Enki Bilal Enters the World of Hardcore Science Fiction" 1983/10 Vol. 7 No. 7 Art gallery 7
"The Gray Man" 1984/09 Vol. 9 No. 6 reprinted in Greatest Hits 1994 1
"Over the Wall" 1984 Son of Heavy Metal 4
"The Leader's Surprise" 1997/07 Vol. 21 No. 3 4
"Mondovision" 1997/11 Vol. 21 No. 5 4
"Close the Shutters and Open Your Eyes" 1997 Horror Special – Vol. 11 No 1 10
"On the Wing" 1997/Fall 20 Years of Heavy Metal – Vol. 11 No. 2 7
"New York, 2000 AD." 1998/01 Vol. 21 No. 6 4
"The Slow Boat to Vega" 1998/03 Vol. 22 No. 1 4

Comic Book Albums[edit]

Since the late seventies, it were publishers NBM,[14] Catalan Communications, Humanoids Publishing, and Titan Comics that have released several albums by Bilal.

  • The Call of the Stars (March 1979. Flying Buttress Publications ISBN 0-918348-02-1, ISBN 978-0-918348-02-9)

A collection of short stories.

Catalan Communications (NY publishing house)[edit]

Paperback books

Humanoids Publishing[edit]

Hardcover, large format books

The Bilal Library: (small format – 190 × 260 cm – paperbacks)

Trade Paperback:

Titan Comics[edit]

Hardcover, large format books


Year Title Director Writer
1989 Bunker Palace Hôtel Yes Yes
1996 Tykho Moon Yes Yes
2004 Immortel, ad vitam Yes Yes


  1. ^ Život bez formata Archived 2008-02-09 at the Wayback Machine;Popboks, December 26, 2007
  2. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Enki Bilal".
  3. ^ Dr. Halid Sadiković (12 September 2013). "Enki Bilal". Ljubušaci.com (in Bosnian). Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  4. ^ Enki Bilal (September 12, 2013). "Enki Bilal".
  5. ^ Beatty, Bart (January 3, 2007). "ACBD Status Report for 2006". The Comics Reporter.
  6. ^ "Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals credits (Windows, 2008)". MobyGames. Retrieved 2024-04-05.
  7. ^ Louvre Exhibitions (December 20, 2012). "The Ghosts of the Louvre, Enki Bilal".
  8. ^ a b Enki Bilal biography bilal.enki.free.fr
  9. ^ ToutEnBD. "Le Palmarès 1987" (in French). Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Dutrey, Jacques (July 1987). "Enki Bilal Wins Top Prize at Angoulême". The Comics Journal (116). Fantagraphics Books: 130.
  11. ^ La Médiathèque. "1997". Archived from the original on May 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Press release Fantasia Ubisoft 2004 Festival
  13. ^ "IHG Award Recipients (2005)". Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  14. ^ [Hervé St.Louis: Interview with Terry Nantier – Publisher of NBM Publishing on Comic Book Bin]


External links[edit]