The irreverent little girl who seduces those over 8 years old was created in 2012 by author Antoine Dole, alias “Mr Tan”, at the time with designer Miss Prickly, who handed over the reins two years later to Diane Le Feyer.

This bubbly 41-year-old Lyonnaise, originally from Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme), enthusiastically accepted the publisher’s challenge “to try”, because comics were not really her department.

Having passed through Ireland or Canada, Diane Le Feyer first made a name for herself in video games and cartoons, particularly within the Irish animation company Cartoon Saloon, then turned to the children’s book in France and especially abroad.

She collaborated with publishers as prestigious as Hallmark, Harper and Collins, Mattel, Scholastic, Igloo Books or Five Mile before joining the Mortelle Adèle adventure.

– Phone call –

It happened in 2014. “Phone call, on a Friday, just before picking up my daughter from kindergarten. I was told: would you be interested in taking over Mortelle Adèle? She’s a little girl who has a lot of character.”

“I found it really funny. So I said to them: Let’s go!”.

Eight years and 11 volumes, 3 collectors, 3 novels and 3 Ajax (series inspired by Adele’s whipping cat) later, Diane Le Feyer is still hard at work.

Bayard Jeunesse’s comic strip, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has already sold 11 million copies, in addition to specials and other derivative products. His albums, bathed in irony and black humour, have been translated into ten languages.

Adèle who orders a crocodile on the internet, Adèle who blows up the neighbours’ house with a rocket, the delusions follow one another and the readers follow.

“She allows herself completely crazy things that do good to readers, which make them laugh and take them away from an often anxiety-provoking world”, analyzes the designer, recalling the exceptional boom in sales at the time of confinement.

The artist, whose red hair is reminiscent of that of the young heroine, assures us that her life has not changed despite this enthusiasm, of a rare magnitude in children’s books.

“At school sometimes they give me a book to sign, but that’s it. I don’t have dark glasses when I go out on the street,” smiles Diane Le Feyer, who still works in a modest workshop. of the 7th arrondissement of Lyon, in the company of a small, close-knit group of graphic designers, designers and illustrators.

– Child of the 1980s –

The genesis of her passion goes back a long way, when she was “very young”. “I am a child of the 80s, that is to say when all the cartoons arrived: Ulysses 31, The Cities of Gold, Cat’s Eyes… completely crazy stories with incredible universes.”

“Little by little I understood that if I have an idea, I take my paper, my pencil, I do it and it moves,” says the designer.

A relentless hard worker according to her office neighbors, she still leads several projects at the same time, including teaching in a drawing school. But she had to give up – at least temporarily – the cartoon. “Animation is a long job, when you do a sequence, you have to be able to design it while you’re in it, without stopping.”

On Mortelle Adèle, his complicity with “Mr. Tan” is total. “We have the same references, the current is going very well”, even from a distance. “Generally, Antoine calls me and says good, I have the idea for the next volume. This is the common thread. He sends me the text and I add the graphic dimension, making it even more funny”, she says, claiming to enjoy a “great freedom”.

At the end of June, the two accomplices surprised the publishing world by announcing their break with Bayard to create their own house, following the recent example of Riad Sattouf. “A search for independence, on many aspects”, says Diane Le Feyer, who will specify their intentions in September.

In the meantime, a third novel is expected at the end of August and volume 19 – the last with Bayard – will be released in October. In the longer term, other projects under consideration are likely to make noise, such as an animated TV series and even a feature film.