Enki Bilal

Enki Bilal (French: [bilal]; born October 7, 1951) is a French comic book creator, comics artist and film director.

Enki Bilal
Enki Bilal in March 2010
BornEnes Bilal
(1951-10-07) October 7, 1951
Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Area(s)Comics artist, writer, director
Notable works
Nikopol Trilogy, Légendes d'Aujourd'hui, Partie de chasse
Awardsfull list


Born Enes Bilalović in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia,[1] to a Slovak mother and a Bosnian father who had been Josip Broz Tito's tailor, he moved to Paris at the age of 9.[2] 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.[3]

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.

On May 13, 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 Benoit Sokal 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 December 20, 2012 to March 18, 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.[4]



Légendes d'Aujourd'hui

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

The series was published in English sequentially in Heavy Metal Magazine, as stand-alone graphic novels and as a single volume collection (Townscapes, 2004).

Nikopol Trilogy

The Dormant Beast

(Original French title of the tetralogy: Le Sommeil du monstre)

Trilogie du Coup de sang


  • Mémoires d'outre-espace, Histoires courtes 1974–1977 (Memories From Outer Space, 1978)
  • Exterminateur 17 (Exterminator 17, 1979; written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet)
  • Les Phalanges de l'ordre noir (The Black Order Brigade, 1979; written by Pierre Christin)
  • Partie de chasse (The Hunting Party, 1983; written by Pierre Christin)
  • 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)
  • The Chaos Effect (reprint of Les Phalanges de l'ordre noir and Partie de chasse, 2005)
  • Les fantômes du Louvre (2012 Futuropolis)
  • BUG (Tome 1, 2017)

English translations

Comics in Heavy Metal Magazine

From its start through the Eighties Bilal was a frequent guest in American Heavy Metal Magazine. Many famous Bilal comics made their English debut in this period of the magazine. Although shorter stories appeared later in the Nineties, Heavy Metal readers had to wait until 2012 for another graphic novel feature from Bilal.

Graphic novels

English titleDate (start)Issue (start)Date (end)Issue (end)WriterNumber
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 titleDateIssueNoteNumber 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


Since the late seventies publishers like NBM,[11] Catalan Communications, Humanoids publishing 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

paperback books

Humanoids Publishing

hardcover, large format books

  • The Nikopol Trilogy (February 2000. 176 pages. ISBN 0-9672401-2-3)
  • The Black Order Brigade (May 2000. 88 pages, hardcover. ISBN 0-9672401-8-2, ISBN 978-0-9672401-8-3)
  • Ship of stone (2001. ISBN 1-930652-39-9, ISBN 978-1-930652-39-2)
  • The Cruise of Lost Souls (2001. 56 pages ISBN 1-930652-38-0, ISBN 978-1-930652-38-5)
  • The Hunting Party (March 2002. 100 pages. ISBN 0-9672401-7-4)
  • Memories From Outer Space (April 2002. 52 pages. ISBN 1-930652-26-7)
  • Exterminator 17 (June 2002. 66 pages. ISBN 1-930652-50-X)
  • The Dormant Beast (October 5, 2002. 72 pages. ISBN 1-930652-83-6, ISBN 978-1-930652-83-5)
  • The Town That Didn't Exist (March 2003. 56 pages, Hardcover. ISBN 1-930652-37-2, ISBN 978-1-930652-37-8)

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

  • Townscapes (July 1, 2004. 176 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0361-2)
  • The Beast Trilogy: Chapters 1& 2 (September 29, 2004. 128 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0398-1)
  • The Nikopol Trilogy (November 10, 2004. 176 pages ISBN 1-4012-0384-1)
  • The Chaos Effect (January 19, 2005. 168 pages) Containing The Black Order Brigade and The Hunting Party
  • Memories (April 20, 2005. 144 pages. ISBN 1-4012-0380-9) Contains Memories of Outer Space and Memories of Outer Times

Trade Paperback:

  • The Dormant Beast (March 2000. 72 pages. ISBN 0-9672401-5-8)



  1. Život bez formata;Popboks, December 26, 2007
  2. Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Enki Bilal".
  3. Beatty, Bart (January 3, 2007). "ACBD Status Report for 2006". The Comics Reporter.
  4. Louvre Exhibitions (December 20, 2012). "The Ghosts of the Louvre, Enki Bilal".
  5. Enki Bilal biography bilal.enki.free.fr
  6. ToutEnBD. "Le Palmarès 1987" (in French). Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
  7. Dutrey, Jacques (July 1987). "Enki Bilal Wins Top Prize at Angoulême". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (116): 130.
  8. La Médiathèque. "1997". Archived from the original on May 27, 2012.
  9. Press release Fantasia Ubisoft 2004 Festival
  10. "IHG Award Recipients (2005)". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  11. [Hervé St.Louis: Interview with Terry Nantier – Publisher of NBM Publishing on Comic Book Bin]


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