André Franquin

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André Franquin (January 3, 1924 – January 5, 1997) was an influential Belgian comics artist, whose best known comic strip creations are Gaston and Marsupilami, created while he worked on the Spirou et Fantasio comic strip from 1947 to 1969, during a period seen by many as the series' golden age.



Franquin's beginnings

Franquin was born in Etterbeek in 1924.[1] Although he started drawing at an early age, Franquin got his first actual drawing lessons at École Saint-Luc in 1943. A year later however, the school was forced to close down because of the war and Franquin was then hired by CBA, a short-lived animation studio in Brussels. It is there he met some of his future colleagues: Maurice de Bevere (Morris, creator of Lucky Luke), Pierre Culliford (Peyo, creator of the Smurfs), and Eddy Paape. Three of them (minus Peyo) were hired by Dupuis in 1945, following CBA's demise. Peyo, still too young, would only follow them seven years later. Franquin started drawing covers and cartoons for Le Moustique, a weekly magazine about radio and culture.[1] He also worked for Plein Jeu, a monthly scouting magazine.

During this time, Morris and Franquin were coached by Joseph Gillain (Jijé), who had transformed a section of his house into a work space for the two young cartoonists and Will. Jijé was then producing many of the comics that were published in the comics magazine Le Journal de Spirou, including its flagship series Spirou et Fantasio. The team he had assembled at the end of the war is often referred to as La bande des quatre (lit. "The Gang of Four"), and the graphical style they would develop together was later called the Marcinelle school, Marcinelle being an outskirt of the industrial city of Charleroi south of Brussels where Spirou's publisher Dupuis was then situated.

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