By Alex J. Shepard
Phillipe Honoré was born in Vichy, France in 1941. Which, all told, was not a great year to start out. He was a self-taught artist, cartoonist, and regular contributor to Charlie Hebdo who started his career early; he was only sixteen when his cartoons started getting picked up by French newspapers. Honoré is one of the original gang of Charlie Hebdo, as he was a contributor to its predecessor, Hara-Kiri Hebdo, along with John Cabut and Georges Wolinski. He also drew cartoons for several other publications, including Le Monde, Libération, and Les Inrockuptibles. (source).
What struck me about this guy is that he made the last public statement of Charlie Hebdo before the attack. He drew the cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi that was in the tweet the magazine published just a few minutes prior to the extremist cowards shooting the place up. Unlike most of the other casualties of this tragedy, he did not die on the scene, either; he succumbed to his wounds in an emergency room. (source).
According to Paris Match, Honoré was a “bearded giant” who, despite the provocative nature of his cartoons, possessed “legendary” gentleness and kindness. There were only two kinds of people he despised: “the bastards and the idiots.” (source). I can get behind that.
He wasn’t as well-known as his other colleagues at Charlie Hebdo because he was “foremost a virtuoso illustrator who expressed himself more in graphics than words.” (source). He got to make work he was proud of and say something important while doing so. He wrote some books in his time, one of which is entitled “Je hais les petites phrases,” or “I hate soundbites.” It’s an illustrated anthology of all the stupid little things former French president Nikolas Sarkozy and other French politicians said during his tenure. (source). Even if you don’t speak French (I certainly don’t), his illustrations are really entertaining.
I don’t know what Honoré said in the emergency room, if he said anything. But let’s remember the last words he spoke in the medium he loved: “Et surtout la santé,” or “And above all, health.”