Plans, galleys, moped breakdowns… When Frank Margerin takes a bite out of Renaud

Renaud’s favorite cartoonist returns with a new musical box set with illustrated pockets dedicated to the singer.

“In my comics, there are a lot of Renaud plans, galleys, moped breakdowns.” Between designer Frank Margerin and the bandana singer, the story is not new. But it is expanding with the release of a nine-disc box set and its new illustrated sleeves entitled Fucking box. “When David Séchan (brother of the singer) thought of me, it made me happy, I was touched and I thought that indeed, it was coherent”confided to AFP this figure of the 9th art, grand prize of the Angoulême comic book festival in 1992.

From the 1980s, Frank Margerin made a name for himself in comics with Lucien, his emblematic character. In the album Radio Lucian, released in 1982, we discover his rocker banana and his perfecto in a Parisian suburban setting close to that songs by Renaud period Let it go Where Walk in the shade. “We have a bit of the same universe: the suburbs, the hooligans, guys who have their jackets stolen”, continues the contemporary of the musician (both are 70 years old). In Renaud’s album Let it gowe even find the song Lucien’s Band. The singer with the “wild chetron”, one of his nicknames, even evokes in this piece a certain Riton, the name of a character that we also come across in Margerin’s comics.

The covers of Renaud’s albums, illustrated by Frank Margerin. (Frank Margerin / Polydor-Panthéon / Universal Music)

“Initially, I refuse”

“As a kid I had a friend named Lucien, that’s how I thought of this first name for this character; it was when I listened to the song again later that I realized that Renaud had also put on a Riton, but we did not consult each other”smiles the designer.

Margerin also dabbled in music, on a more modest level, as a member in the 1980s of a rock group, Dennis’ Twist, made up of cartoonists. “We met on TV sets, Renaud was in full glory, we poor designers making music; and he came to see me to find out if his performance was good. It surprised me, he was never sure of himself.

A “good feeling” passes between the two men in the 1980s. Margerin will design in 1985 the cover of the maxi 45 rpm charity Ethiopia of the collective singers without borders, song written by Renaud. Then, a comic book publisher had the idea of ​​one of the first works of its kind dedicated to a singer, Renaud, in 1986, Renaud’s gang/The beautiful stories of onc’ Renaud. “At first I refused, I said to myself ‘it’s an opportunistic thing'”recalls Margerin. “Then I say to myself ‘shit, all the cartoonists are playing the game and I’m not into it, Renaud is going to think that I don’t like him!’ (laughs), so I go and I even did the cover.”

This blanket has become iconic, with Renaud’s bowed legs from behind. It is this image that David Séchan asked Margerin to adapt for the poster of the exhibition devoted to his brother at the Philharmonie de Paris two years ago (Renaud, Whore of expo).

For Fucking boxMargerin thought of “crobard-style illustrations (sketch, editor’s note)” for the different covers (6 studio albums and 3 live albums, an 80-page booklet with all the lyrics, more than 50 unpublished drawings, as well as a 60 x 60 cm poster). “Renaud’s songs are like a sketchbook”slips Margerin, who shares with the singer a great tenderness for his characters and a hard tooth against the “beaufs”. “Dogs, but not with 36 colors, it wouldn’t have made sense, black, white and red, the color of his bandana.”

We thus see a red flipper on the cover of Let it go or a red dress for my chick. We also obviously think of Renaud’s song red suburb. In addition to his anthology box set, Renaud released an album of covers in the spring meticwhere he revisits Georges Moustaki or Jean Ferrat in his dented voice.

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