We love Alex A. and Jon Le Bon! The graphic novels have already made their way from page to the small screen and now they’re headed somewhere even bigger: on a tour across Canada! We sat down with Alex A. to ask him about the tour, writing, drawing and Jon!
You’re going on a tour all across Canada this fall, visiting young readers! What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
I really like to meet my readers across the country. It’s always an energizing experience that makes me want to keep writing and creating, because I see and understand the impact my work has on people. It’s also the perfect opportunity to share my work with people that don’t know my series yet. Jon never has enough fans for me! I love to see that I can inspire children to write and to draw their own things, too. That’s one of my missions!
How did you get your start as a writer and illustrator for kids?
I started very, very young. I was nine years old when I made my first comic book, and I loved it so much that I just never stopped! I already understood at that age that it would be my career one day. I spent the following years perfecting my art to hopefully, one day, become a professional. It’s that simple! It comes from a passion that just never left me.
Did you read comics and graphic novels as a kid? How did they influence you as a creator?
Of course! The first comic that I read was a French science fiction/cartoon/comedy called Les aventures de Célestin. I was in third grade. It was so good and funny! I remember, while I was reading it, saying to myself: “I think I can do that, too!” And not long after, I made my very first book. After that, I started looking for comics of any kind in libraries and magazines — Garfield, Batman, Asterix and so on. I wanted to have as many different influences as possible, to see how this art was done and to be able to learn as quickly as possible.
We love the characters in Jon Le Bon! How do you come up with all of the unique character designs?
Jon is a very old character! He was created when I was about 11, at a time when I literally created dozens of characters each day. I drew anything and everything. It could be humans, aliens, robots, animals, talking objects — anything! One day I drew a deer, and I immediately liked it. I then decided to make it a secret agent because I loved the James Bond world. And everything started from there! I couldn’t have guessed that this character would survive for so long. He was one of hundreds!
How do you bring together the writing and illustrating of graphic novels?
It comes naturally. For me, there is no distinction between drawing and writing. When I write, I immediately see the characters moving in my head. And I need to see my characters on paper before I start writing their stories. It’s really one big thing for me.
What do you love the most about Jon Le Bon as a character?
I think it’s his perpetual good mood. He always sees everything with an extremely positive eye. But not because he is stupid or slow. He is simply a character who never judges anyone, and he is not afraid of anything. For him, life is a game, and he is there to have fun, no matter the challenges that the universe throws at him.
What are you working on next? What is next for Jon Le Bon?
At the moment, I am working very hard with a great team on a Jon Le Bon animated TV show. That’s a big thing! Also, I continue to work on the awaited Season 2 of the book series. I think I have a lot of very cool and interesting ideas for the future, and I can’t wait to show them all to my fans!
Alex A. has always written and drawn. He came up with the character of Jon Le Bon when he was no older than the series’ fans are today. Over the years, he has surrounded his lovable anti-hero with colourful sidekicks and thrown them into outrageous situations to see what happens. In 2011, his dream came true: his secret agent’s adventures were finally published! L’Agent Jean! is a big hit and is adored by young readers in Quebec, France, Switzerland and Belgium. The series is also published in English Canada as Super Agent Jon Le Bon!
A prolific cartoonist, Alex A. has three series and more than 10 comic books to his name. His source of inspiration? Anything under the sun, and more importantly… his imagination! Alex A. lives in Montreal, with his dog, Wolfy. In his spare time he climbs, reads superhero comics and plays video games. Find out more at www.alexbd.com/en