Léa Mazé

What fascinates me about comics is not so much the drawing as the storytelling, the cutting, the layout…this is where all the magic happens !

Winner of a 2018 Youth Prize from the Association of Comic Book Critics and Journalists for her album Les Croques, Léa Mazé explores a dark and explosive universe, breaking away from the more often euphoric atmosphere of youth comics. From albums in albums, her fine, detailed lines take on macabre stories, drawing from them all their poetic, almost mystical, richness.

Published on 19/05/2020

2 min

Born in 1990 in Finistère, Léa Mazé studied applied arts at college and joined the prestigious École Estienne specialising in film animation before continuing her more specifically comic-oriented training at the Lycée Auguste-Renoir in Paris. She completed her course in 2013 with her graduation project, which became her first album, Nora, published in 2015 by Éditions de la Gouttière.

Recognised as a promising author, Léa Mazé began two collaborations as a designer: with Jérémie Semet, who wrote the text for La Porte des pluies (The Rain Gate, 2017, Éditions La Marmite à mots) and with Ingrid Chabbert, who wrote the screenplay for Elma, une vie d’ours (Elma, A Bear’s Life, 2018, Éditions Dargaud). The first volume of her solo trilogy, Les Croques (Volume 1, Tuer le temps/Killing Time, Editions de la Gouttière), appeared in 2018 and met with immediate critical and public acclaim.

Embracing themes that are evidently dark and aren't recommended for a child audience, such is the challenge that Léa Mazé takes on from book to book by placing death at the heart of her work.

Already present in her first album Nora, death occupies a central place in La Porte des pluies, an album about mourning for over-sixes, and especially in Les Croques, her first trilogy.

It recounts the adventures of Céline and Colin, twins who are cruelly teased at school because their house is next to the cemetery and their parents run a funeral company. Léa Mazé constructs a thriller in the middle of the graves, explaining that she has investigated behind the scenes of the profession and worked on the contrast between the joyful nature of her two heroes and the macabre decor that lends itself to quite some feats in terms of drawing...

While Léa Mazé grew up reading adventure and gag comics, the discovery of Manu Larcenet’s Combat ordinaire (Ordinary Combat, 2003, Éditions Dargaud) changed the way she approached a story, discovering the possibility of constructing intimate narratives with slow, contemplative storytelling, just as she says she was inspired by the dark side of Blast (2009, Éditions Dargaud), a series by the same author.

The publication of her first album Nora earned Léa Mazé her first reward with the 2016 Tibet Prize awarded by the Department of Aube at the Troyes Regional Book Fair for Young People, before the Les Croques series marked a real turning point in her career.

The first volume of Croques, Tuer le temps – which features in the « 10 Best Comics of 2018 » ranking of Monde des ados (World of Teens) – won the prestigious ACBD (Association of Comic Book Critics and Journalists) Youth Prize in 2018 and the Du vent dans les BD Literary Prize in 2019.

Her album Nora was released in Spain and the two albums in the Elma, une vie d’ours series for which she created the drawings were translated into English.

  • 1990


    Léa Mazé is born in Crozon, Finistère.

  • 2013


    She submits her final year project work, L’Âge de raison (The Age of Reason), to Éditions de la Gouttière, which is published two years later under the title Nora.

  • 2018


    Les Croques, Volume 1 (Tuer le temps) receives the ACBD (Association of Comic Book Critics and Journalists) Youth Prize.

  • 2019


    Publication of the second volume of Croques (Oiseaux de malheur) (Birds of Woe) and the second volume of Elma, une vie d’ours (Derrière la montagne) or Elma, A Life of Bears (Behind the Mountain) by Editions de la Gouttière.

The Institut français and the artist

In 2020, Léa Mazé is one of the authors honored at the exhibition « The renewal of youth comics ».

This exhibition, supported by the Institut français, provides an opportunity to discover the works of the new generation of French and Francophone comic book authors whose talent is recognised in France and abroad.

Find out more information about « The renewal of youth comics »

L'institut français, LAB