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Comic strips have origins dating back to ancient times, with illustrations accompanying texts on ancient Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek papyrus scrolls. However, the comic strip as we know it today emerged in 19th century Europe, with publications like the British magazine Punch featuring serialized caricatures. In the United States, comics experienced significant growth with the publication of Superman in 1938 and Captain America in 1940. These comics were followed by many other superheroes that gained widespread popularity among readers. In Europe, comics evolved in a distinct way with the Belgian school of clear line, which focused on storytelling and visual narration rather than action and special effects. This approach was popularized by authors such as Hergé, the creator of Tintin, and Edgar P. Jacobs, the author of Blake and Mortimer. In France, comics also experienced strong growth, with authors such as Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny creating the famous Asterix and Obelix. In Asia, comic strip form manga has experienced tremendous success, particularly in Japan. Manga is characterized by a unique graphic style and a strong emphasis on emotions and character relationships. It has gained popularity worldwide and has contributed to the growth of comics as a recognized art form. In France, comics have been considered the "9th art" since the 1950s due to their narrative and artistic nature. Before this, the visual arts were generally considered to include eight categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, poetry, theater, and cinema. Comics have been recognized as a form of art in their own right, deserving a place among these eight traditional arts.
Zhang Bin, also known as Benjamin or Zhang Lin, is a Chinese author of manhua and novels, born on May 16th, 1974 in the province of Heilongjiang. He studied fashion and design in his hometown before moving to Beijing in 1996 to pursue a career in comic drawing. Persistent, he eventually published his works which gained some success in China. In addition to being a comic artist, Benjamin also plays in a rock band. He is part of the new generation of comic artists who create their comics solely on computer and graphic tablet. Benjamin grew up in a small village near the Russian border and discovered comics as a child. He initially wanted to become a painter, but eventually studied fashion and design in Beijing. He published his first comic, "A Flower That Does Not Live in Summer", in a small magazine in 2000. He then published his first album, "One Day", in January 2002 which is considered one of the founding albums of drawing through graphic tablet and which brings together several of his previous works. In March 2002, he founded an illustration advertising studio. In 2003, he decided to become a full-time comic author and published "Orange", whose style and fabulous colors make it one of the major albums of the artist. In 2004, he won the Gold Dragon Award with "Nobody Can Fly, Nobody Can Remember". In 2007, he published "Savior", which faced a wave of unexpected criticism in China, but was published in France in 2009. That year, he collaborated with Jena Lee on a music video and published an Artbook. He also founded a comic magazine and a digital arts school in Beijing, where he teaches full-time. He no longer publishes albums but participates in covers for franchises such as Star Wars or Marvel, and is exhibited in art galleries in France and invited to international Manga conventions such as Japan Expo or Paris Manga.