René Goscinny (14 August 1926 – 5 November 1977) was a French-Polish author, editor and humorist, who is best known for the comic book Astérix, which he created with illustrator Albert Uderzo, and for his work on the comic series Lucky Luke with Morris (considered the series' golden age).
Goscinny was born in Paris in 1926, to a family of Polish and Jewish descent; his parents were Stanisław "Simkha" Gościnny (the surname means hospitable in Polish), a chemical engineer from Warsaw, Poland, and Anna Bereśniak-Gościnna from Chodorków, a small village in the Second Polish Republic, now Ukraine. Claude, René's older brother was born 6 years earlier; on 10 December 1920. Stanisław and Anna had met in Paris and married in 1919. The Gościnnys moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, two years after René's birth, because of a chemical engineer post Stanisław had obtained there. He spent a happy childhood in Buenos Aires, and studied in the French schools there. He had a habit of making everyone laugh in class, probably to compensate for a natural shyness. He started drawing very early on, inspired by the illustrated stories which he enjoyed reading.
In December 1943 the year after he graduated from school, 17 year old Goscinny lost his father to a cerebral hemorrhage, forcing him to find a job. The next year, he got his first job, as an assistant accountant in a tire recovery factory, and when he was laid off the following year, he became a junior illustrator in an advertising agency.
Goscinny, along with his mother, left Argentina and went to New York in 1945, to join their uncle, Boris, there. To avoid service in the US military, he travelled to France to join the French Army in 1946. He served at Aubagne, in the 141st Alpine Infantry Battalion. Promoted to senior corporal, he became the appointed illustrator of the regiment and drew illustrations and posters for the army.
The following year, he illustrated the book The Girl with The Eyes of Gold and returned to New York. On his arrival Goscinny went through the most difficult period of his life. For a while, he was jobless, alone and totally broke. By 1948, though, he recovered and started working in a small studio where he met and became friends with future Mad alumni Will Elder, Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman. Goscinny then became art director at Kunen Publishers where he wrote four books for children. Around this time he met Joseph Gillain, better known as Jijé, and Maurice de Bevere aka Morris, the cartoonist and author of the series Lucky Luke (which Goscinny would write from 1955 to his death in 1977).
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