Gerard Biard, the editor in chief, said the new edition was produced "with pain and with joy," and noted that 3 million copies will be published in multiple languages in contrast to the usual run of 60,000.
"I said to myself, we must do a drawing that above all makes us laugh, and not one on the emotional charge we are victims of," he said.
He drew Muhammad crying, he said, and then cried himself.
"This was not the front page the world wanted us to draw, it was our front page. This is not the front page that the terrorists want us to draw -- there are no terrorists in it, just a man who cries," he said.
"This Muhammad is so much nicer than the ones the terrorists brandish," Biard said, holding the cover aloft. "He's sympathetic. Look at him, he's crying!"
The day of the attack, Jan. 7, was Luzier's birthday, and he was running late and arrived after the attack to see bodies on the ground.
While he conceded that the cover of the latest issue is provocative and "there are risks," he was firm in his resolve to keep drawing.
"We can't remain silent," he said.
"We trust people's intelligence, their sense of humor.… People who committed this attack are just people who lack humor," he said.
"Yes I am Charlie. But I am also a cop. I am Jewish. I am Muslim. And I am atheist," he said, speaking figuratively.
He spoke of "complicated emotions" following the attack, about colleagues still struggling with the emotional impact who he hopes return to work soon.
If the press thrives, he said, "we have really won."