The Illustrators

To date, a single illustrator is known to us: André L’Archevêque (1923-2015), the son of Eugène L’Archevêque (the founder of Éditions du Bavard, the first publisher of dime novels in Quebec). As it happens, the first cover he produced was for a romance novel published in 1945 by Éditions du Bavard, Dans son cœur brisé by Jean Brétigny.[1] As the foremost illustrator of Éditions Police-Journal, L’Archevêque ended up creating one cover illustration per day. It is said that between 1947 and the mid-1950s, L’Archevêque created, for Éditions Police-Journal alone, around 5000 illustrations. As a freelancer, he initially earned $4 per illustration, but was soon making $10, $11, $ and $12.[2] He likewise produced the cover illustrations for the magazine Histoires vraies, also published by Éditions Police-Journal. The latter thus had the good fortune of being able to count on a prolific illustrator trained at the École des Beaux-Arts, as well as at the Sir George Williams School of Arts in Montreal.

 

What about the other publishing houses, those who were perhaps not financially solid enough to offer their illustrators a fair wage? The same questions involving the authors, in other words, also pertain to the artists. Did they use pseudonyms to separate their subsistence production from a so-called more legitimate body of work? Who were Lily, Nony D'or, Paul Hardy and Paul Hardi, Jack Buck or Ray?

 

[1] See André L’Archevêque’s interview with Jean Layette on September 30, 2008, by clicking here.

[2] Vincent Nadeau and Michel René, “Une littérature industrielle,” in Le Phénomène IXE-13, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 1984, p. 47.