La véritable histoire de Spirou, 1939-1946
Christelle and Bertrand Pissavy-Yvernault
He is one of the best-known heroes of the Franco-Belgian comic strips. That is the country that also gave the world the Smurfs, Lucky Luke and Astérix. But, while Tintin’s birth was greatly documented, no one knows much about Spirou’s. There is a simple reason for that: while Tintin only depended on Hergé, a true Commander, Spirou on the other hand had various fathers, going from one designer to another for nearly 75 years. This major volume, to be followed by many others, focuses on these first years, when a Belgian editor with a Catholic sensitivity, Jean Dupuis, decided to create a hero who was brave, curious and full of drive. This was in 1938 and the world conflict had a strong impact on the evolution of the young groom designed by cartoonist Rob-Vel. He would change from one cartoon designer to another over a very short period of time, among them a talented painter who died prematurely (Luc Lafnet), then a brilliant jack-of-all-trades (Jijé) before ending up in the hands of André Franquin, a true genius, who gave him all of his aura. The book unreels the role of each one of them, documenting all of the editor’s work during the war, he who chose to interrupt the publication rather thansubmit to the German censorship. It also talks of the merry improvisation these pioneers of comic trips gave out every day, as they were expected to hand out a sheet of drawings every week to give shape to this true tradition of the ninth art.
Review published in the newsletter #307 - from 13 June 2013 to 19 June 2013