Immortelle Adèle, with Tardi and Dominique Grange

Excerpts from the interview:

Tell stories

Jacques Tardi tells where his vocation came from: “I liked being told stories. I wanted to do it myself. I wanted to do stories with content, characters in particular situations trying to get out of it… I’m influenced because I heard it at home. My grandfather used to talk about the First World War. I had to ask myself the question of how to make the situations, like the suffering of the soldier in his trench, understandable to readers. The stories of Adèle Blanc-Sec are lighter, even if I add historical elements, so as not to be completely in the adventure.

How Adele Blanc-Sec was born? 1975 was the year of the woman. As apart from Barbarella, there were very few heroines in the comics, I decided to choose a rather female character. She does the same job as me because no one knew the situation of comic book authors. She encounters the same problems as me, with her editor. For example, she is not happy with the covers. Finally, we do not see her working much. »

The Second World War

Jacques Tardi is known for having recounted the First World War (Damn war, it was trench warfare…). But in I, René Tardi, prisoner of war at Stalag II-B, he set about evoking the Second World War.

The author explains: “My father spoke a lot about this period, about his captivity. One day, I asked him to write me all his anecdotes in order. He filled me with five or six school notebooks, in very fine writing, in which he tells why he enlisted in 1937. But also how he was taken prisoner, and his six years of captivity in Pomerania.

We went to the camp site in Pomerania, a region of Poland, located west of Danzig, a few hundred kilometers from the Baltic. The prisoners traveled in -30° ten kilometers during the day before stopping at a farm and trying to find something to eat.

When my father left the camp, he had on him a small notebook that I still have, in which he had noted the dates, the distances covered, the temperature and the food. So I have everything. We redid the route, and found all the places. It’s interesting to go there, to take pictures, to soak up the atmosphere so as not to talk nonsense.

I’m interested in grassroots people. The problem of the poor guy fascinates me more than that of an authoritarian person who controls. I identify more easily with the guy who doesn’t control, embedded in a story that they didn’t want to live, that they didn’t want to hear about. A man will try to get out of it.”

The real

Jacques Tardi needs the real to stimulate his imagination: “The truth of the drawing allows the imagination, just like projection and identification, to unfold. Image plays an important role. The decor of the streets of Paris in Adèle Blanc-Sec’s albums serves to frame the character, to put him in his historical and daily context, etc., hoping that the reader will be interested in knowing a little more. The details contribute to give a reality, even in completely preposterous stories like those of Adele where nothing is really serious.

The starting point, for example, is the Jardin des Plantes, a real place. I walk around the back of the pavilion of paleontology where there is a window with an egg. He is still there. And me, I hatch it, I actually have a pterodactyl egg… It starts like that. It is the elements that are taken on the spot that will give me pretexts for the story.

I need reality to tell stories. Otherwise, I can’t hold on, I’ll reinvent everything. I also need to cram in real everyday details to try to make people understand how things are going.

I don’t consider myself a writer. In comics, I produce as a designer. I have to accompany my drawings with a text, with a little text. I don’t do literature. I don’t really care if anyone tells me it’s well or badly written. My texts are dialogues of characters who express themselves through spoken language. »


Jacques Tardi: “Yes, I am a feminist. When I hear about, for example, violence against women: it’s absolutely scandalous. Just like the way they have been used in comics, in movies, everywhere… Creating Adèle, which is not just an object with beautiful shapes, is a form of feminism. I don’t have a solution. Women are always sidelined. I sometimes talk about it with friends. They are not always aware of this kind of problem. »


  • “Mistral Winner” – Renaud
  • “The Wave” – ​​Francesca Solleville
  • “The Quest” – Orelsan

Excerpt from“Immortal Adele” (words and music Dominique Grange).


  • Archive broadcast in Inter Actualité on 10/22/1964: Jean-Paul Sartre on the absence of innocent literature and the responsibility of the writer.

Generic: “Veridis Quo” – Daft Punk

🎧 To find out more, listen to the show…

France Inter +

50 mins

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