Comic Strips

Comic Strips
   Brussels serves as a major center of the art of the comic strip, which first appeared in the early 20th century. National newspapers in Brussels played a central role in dissemination and growth of the art form. Tintin and his cast of characters, created by Hergé, began life in comic strip form on 10 January 1929 in the pages of Le Petit Vingtième. Hergé's Quick and Flupke, street urchins from Brussels, appeared later in the paper.
   Following World War II, a number of artists crafted dozens of heroic characters who acquired international fame. André Franquin (1924-1997), born in Brussels and a resident of Watermael-Boitsfort, created a dynamic style of drawing in contrast to that of Hergé. His most successful characters are Gaston Lagaffe/Guust Flater, an inveterate creator of chaos, and the Marsupilami, a character combining a monkey and a leopard. Edgar Pierre Jacob worked at the Journal de Tintin during the postwar years. Unable to secure joint credit for his contributions to productions, he ended his collaboration and went on to produce his own comics for the magazine, including the widely popular Blake and Mortimer. Brussels-born Guy Pollaert (1934- ) created work in the 1960s representative of pop art (Jodelle).
   Together with Brussels-born François Schuiten (1956- ), Benoît Peeters (1956- ) has produced the "Cities of the Fantastic" series (Les cités obscures) since 1982. The artists explore the boundaries between real and imaginary architecture in their graphic novels. In Brusel (2001), which tells the story of a city whose government redesigns ancient streets and antiquated buildings into a modern city, Peeters and Schuiten satirize overblown bureaucracy and runaway urbanization. Peeters has also authored a biography of Hergé.
   A selective list of characters and their creators and dates of appearance include: Alix l'Intrépide by Martin (1948), Chick Bill by Tibet (1955), Zig et Puce by Greg (1963), Jonathan by Cosey (1975), and Bob Fish (1982) and Bèreke (1986) by Yves Chaland. Chaland (1957- ), from Lyons, France, wrote and designed Bob Fish, détec-tief, in 1982. The strip was notable in employing expressions in the bruxellois dialect. Pierre Culliford (1928-1992), alias Peyo, created the Smurfs.
   Publishing firms and their major strips have included Casterman (Tintin), Dargaud (Boule et Bill), Dupuis (Spirou, Largo Winch), Del-court (La Bande à Renaud), Le Lombard (Ric Hochet), and Glenat (Titeuf).
   Newspapers traditionally included weekly supplements and it is in these supplements that readers first became acquainted with many comic strip characters.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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