If one superlative can be used to describe Michel Gagné, it would be “passionate.” That is, in everything he does, he does it with a passion. He will do whatever it takes to accomplish his goal. He is a perfectionist. He does not compromise. He pursues excellence. And he does not give up.
As a result, he keeps improving his craft. Prelude to Eden was a monumental achievement. How could he possibly top it? But he did, as one can see from his later works.
While supervising special effects at Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Michel pursued his own creative interests in his off-hours. In April 2000, I talked with him about his personal projects for Animation World Magazine, archived here.
Michel branched out into being a painter, a sculptor, and then, an author/illustrator/publisher of his own books. He released A Search for Meaning: The Story of Rex in 1998, published in black and white, followed by a color edition in 2002. Rex was an inquisitive little fox who, in his quest for the meaning of life, encounters many strange creatures and environments, as only Michel Gagné could depict. Curious Rex would later appear in a series of graphic novel anthologies called Flight beginning in Volume Two in 2005, ending with Volume Seven in 2010. That same year, the epic tale was compiled in a single volume, The Saga of Rex.
Michel’s second publication was The Mystery of He in 1999, followed by The Great Shadow Migration and The Bird, The Spider and The Octopus in 2000. Then in 2001 he published Insanely Twisted Rabbits, a series of drawings he began during his days at Sullivan Bluth.
The deformed creatures motif continued in later books, Frenzied Fauna: From A to Z in 2002, and Freaky Flora: From A to Z in 2004, compiled as Frenzied Fauna and Freaky Flora in 2008. Wildlife from the Hot Spots came out in 2008. As one can see from the illustrations, Michel’s artistry had progressed to more detail in both design and color.
In 2001 Michel decided to conquer another field: comic books. He published a series called Zed, involving an alien inventor, a megalomaniac, and cosmic-scale conflict. Issue #10, the finale, was published this year. Has Michel left Zed for good? Not yet. Perfectionist that he is, he is now revising the artwork and story and improving upon it. Zed: A Cosmic Epic, is slated to be published as a 250-page graphic novel. Zed was originally conceived to be an animated series. Who knows? It may yet happen.
Michel’s published work is documented online here.
His long biography can be read here.
More to come!