Jean ridder Van Hamme (born 16 January 1939 in Brussels) is a Belgian novelist and comic book writer. He has written scripts for a number of Belgian/French comic series, including Histoire sans héros, Thorgal, XIII and Largo Winch.
After studying business administration at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, he worked as a journalist and in the marketing department of Philips. In the meantime, he started writing, and one of his first scripts was adapted by Paul Cuvelier in 1968. In 1976, he became a full-time writer, and in the next few years he published seven novels and some movie scripts, e.g. for Diva.
Thorgal, XIII and Largo Winch
Van Hamme's main breakthrough came in 1977, when he created the Viking hero Thorgal for Grzegorz Rosiński, a relatively unknown Polish comic artist. The mix of medieval legends and heroic fantasy soon became a huge success in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Tintin. The duo won major awards in the French and Belgian comic book industry.
In the next decade, Jean Van Hamme created two new bestselling series, XIII with William Vance and Largo Winch (based on his own novels) with Philippe Francq. Other series like Les maîtres de l'orge (lit. "The Masters of barley") and Chninkel have received more critical acclaim but lower sales.
The fame of Van Hamme as one of the major comic authors of Europe is quite established.