ANDRE FRANQUIN, 1924 – 1997, is for me the best comic strip artist ever! the characters he developed, especially GASTON LAGAFFE, the incredible, often very sarcastic humor he added to his drawings, the rough drawing style resulting from a mixture of thin brushwork and nibs, the way he translated the real world into a caricature, the buildings, the cars, nature – he is the absolute master!
franquin was not able to finish artschool in brussels, belgium, because of the second worldwar. after his school closed down, he joined an animation studio CBA – compagnie belge d’animation – for a short time, where he met some of his future comic strip colleagues, MAURICE DE BEVERE or MORRIS ( creator of LUCKY LUKE ), PIERRE CULLIFORD or PEYO ( creator of the SMURFS ) and EDDY PAAPE ( creator of LUC ORIENT and numerous other characters ). they all started to work from the mid-forties on for the comic strip publishing house DUPUIS.
in 1957 franquin started in SPIROU, the famous belgian comic magazine, a new series initiated by YVAN DELPORTE, spirou’s chief editor, GASTON LAGAFFE. gaston is the ‘anti-hero’, the office boy with mishaps and disastrous adventures mostly connected to a publishing house. the series became soon the biggest hit and franquin’s best known creation.
following are three pages of the GASTON series in SPIROU.