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Marvano © P. Pinchart
Marvano
Art

Born in Zolder (Belgium) in 1953, Mark Van Oppen, otherwise known as Marvano, started his working life as an interior designer. A few years down the line, his passion for sci-fi and drawing got the better of him, motivating him to start an alternative career as an illustrator. Going by the pseudonym of Marvano, created from the contraction of his first name and surname, he started off by doing news illustrations for Orbit, a Dutch sci-fi mag.

In 1982, he decided to give up his interior design job once and for all in favor becoming editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Kuifje, the Dutch edition of the Tintin journal. Four years later, he took on the management of the comics department of Flemish publisher De Gulden Engel, at the same time publishing the first of his own comics in the special editions of Tintin, Robedoes and the Dutch version of the Spirou comic.

But there was one project in particular preying on his mind: illustrating a thriller by American writer Joe Haldeman. In 1980, the illustrator and the author met at a sci-fi convention in Gand (Belgium), and they hit it off right away. Marvano managed to convince Halderman to work with him on a comic book adaptation of his novel. The result of this collaboration was the famous trilogy "La Guerre éternelle," published in 1988 and 1989 in Dupuis' Aire Libre collection. Marvano's success with this title caught the attention of Jean Van Hamme. The writer of the prodigious XIII and Thorgal series said of Maravno that "any illustrator who's name persistently comes up for the Landerneau Prize can't be far off becoming one of the greats." This prediction began to come true when, in 1990, "Le Solitaire" (Le Lombard, written by Bon Van Laerhoven) and "Red Knight" (Stabdaard, written by Ronald Grossey) were released in quick succession. Then in 1991, Marvano took on the illustration of "Rourke" (Dupuis), best-selling novel by Paul-Loup Sulitzer, adapted into four comics by Annestay and Rouffa.

In 1994, he completed "Les Sept Nains," a solo project for Dupuis' Aire Libre collection. In 1996, he reunited with his friend and accomplice Joe Halderman, with whom he went on to create the series "Dallas Barr" (Dupuis). This fruitful collaboration once again came into play with "Libre à Jamais" (Dargaud) the follow-on, as unexpected as it was intense, to "La Guerre éternelle."
In 2007 and 2008, he signed for two solo comics which with "Les Sept Nains" would constitute the Berlin Trilogy. In 2010, the first volume of the "Grand Prix" series, "Renaissance," was released by Dargaud, followed by "Rosemeyer!" in 2011. The trilogy was concluded in 2012 with "Adieu."

Marvano is now working on a new trilogy, "La Brigade Juive" (2013 Dargaud Benelux, "The Jewish Brigade" 2016 Europe Comics).