France might be the last place someone looks for the next fabulous Star Trek artist. However, Elsa Charretier is illustrating comics in plain sight in her hometown, Pernes les Fontaines. After her stint producing two stunning variant covers for Starfleet Academy #1 and Star Trek/Green Lantern #1, respectively, it is obvious the talented artist was born to illustrate stories for the 23rd and 24th centuries. Now she just needs an offer, and the time.
Networking connections are so important in professional life. It is not always what you know or can do, but who you know, as was the case for Charretier when the opportunity arose to illustrate the two Star Trek covers. She was afforded the opportunity by her The Infinite Loop editor at IDW Publishing, Sarah Gaydos, who is also the editor on IDW’s Star Trek comics.
“Last year she put me on my first Star Trek Cover, for the Green Lantern/Star Trek crossover that Mike Johnson wrote, “Charretier explained. “When Star Trek Academy came along, also written by Mike, Sarah offered me to do a variant cover. And that was it.”
While some might think two variant covers might be a stretch to illustrating a monthly comic, Charretier has already demonstrated her exceptional storytelling ability after the six-issue The Infinite Loop and a recent four-issue run on DC Comics’ Starfire. It might just be destiny or fate that sees Charretier drawing more and more from the fantasy and sci-fi worlds.
Readers and Star Trek fans should instantly see a world very familiar to the ideas of Gene Roddenberry, as The Infinite Loop tells a tale of breaking down society’s perceived moralities and rules to allow new ideas to grow and assist society in realizing its true potential. The story written by Pierrick Colinet and illustrated by Charretier has some groundbreaking ideas about tolerance, acceptance and hope.
Safety is key for artists to be able to tell a story, especially one that could be perceived in so many different ways by people with differing agendas. Safety is a reason Charretier still resides in her childhood hometown, and a reason she collaborate with Colinet, someone she has known since she was 12 years old. Plus, Colinet also is the one responsible for introducing her to the comic book medium.
“We went to Paris together to work in the entertainment industry,” Charretier explained. “I was an actress, and he wanted to write TV shows. After 7 years, we both realized it wasn’t for us. So we left Paris, and started working on comic books.”
Working in the same studio allowed the duo to collaborate on The Infinite Loop in a unique way, which saw it grow into its finished product. That does not happen if the artist does not feel safe to produce something so powerful and moving. Especially in today’s fan environment.
“We work in the same studio, so we were able to go back and forth on the pages. I would suggest something, and he’d add it on the script. Same for me; it helped a lot to have his instant feedbacks on my work. It definitely made The Infinite Loop the book it is today; it allowed me to express myself in a different way for the first time.
“I am so proud of The Infinite Loop. Not because of the art, but because we were able to build this project from scratch, have it published, and achieve everything we had in mind. I’m proud of us, as a team.”
Artist, actress, writer, storyteller. Charretier definitely has the skills necessary to succeed in the final frontier. Plus, just like Ano, Charretier is always looking to grow and diversify. Almost might remind fans of IDIC – Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations.
“I would like to keep improving myself until the end of my career. And diversify. I’d really like to explore other ways of expressing myself. But for now I’ll stick at doing the best comics I can.”