Enki Bilal (born October 7, 1951) is a French-Yugoslavian comics writer and artist, best known for "The Carnival of Immortals", initially intended as a stand-alone album, but whose success would result in two sequels, "The Woman Trap" in 1986 and "Equator Cold" in 1993. The three albums form the Nikopol Trilogy.
On his own, he also wrote and drew The Monster's Tetralogy, the first book of which somehow anticipated 9/11 in 1998... which is the publication date. Keep in mind Enki Bilal often takes three years to finish one single album.
While continuing to work primarily as a graphic artist and illustrator, Bilal has directed three movies, "Bunker Palace Hotel" in 1989 (a parable on the collapse of dictatorships), "Tykho Moon" in 1997, and Immortal (based on the aforementioned "The Carnival of Immortals" and "The Woman Trap") in 2004.
As a bit of trivia, it's been theorised that Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was named after him - "Bilal" and "Viral" would be pronounced the same in Japanese, Viral pilots a mecha called the Enki, and his Leitmotif is called "Nikopol".
Bilal's works contain examples of the following tropes:
- Abstract Scale: Equator Cold has a boxing match which is graded on a ten-point scale for elements such as footwork and violence. During the match the violence gets so high that the scale-exceeding scale is applied! The healthiness of people is also graded on a ten-point scale, with a full ten representing some kind of abstract perfection of both mind and body and a harmonious connection between the two.
- Badass Grandpa: The heroes and the villains of The Black Order Brigade.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Blood Sport: A homicidal version of ice hockey in "The Carnival of Immortals".
- Body Snatcher: Horus in the "The Carnival of Immortals"... even a case of BodySurf until he finds Nikopol as a suitable host (which means one who can bear his possession without his brains exploded after a few hours). Happens again in the sequel.
- Cyberpunk Most of his settings. Most obviously The Monster's Tetralogy
- Defictionalization: In "Equator Cold", Bilal invented a sport called Chess Boxing. It now exists in Real Life.
- Fan Disservice: There's plenty of nudity, but very little of it is meant to be arousing.
- Human Popsicle: Alcide Nikopol, the main character of "The Carnival of Immortals" and "Equator Cold", was an astronaut who spent 30 years in cryogenic sleep and comes back to Earth as a Fish out of Temporal Water.
- Physical God: "The Carnival of Immortals" depicts the gods of the Egyptian pantheon, and Horus in particular, as physical beings.
- Schedule Slip: Averted! He takes his time to do it.
- Used Future: Bilal's more futuristic stories take place in a dilapidated setting.
- Warsaw Pact: "The Hunting Party" is about an informal get-together of high-ranking officials from various Soviet satellites, and their bitter realization that the political system they have worked for all their lives is rotten to the core.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The characters of "The Black Order Brigade".
- World Half Empty