Monday, 9 March 2015

Spirou et Fantasio

Spirou et Fantasio

Spirou et Fantasio (Spirou and Fantasio) is a book I picked up while visiting Erlangen Germany for the Comic Saloon. At first I thought It was a Tintin book, but on closer inspection I discovered a whole different history behind this bellhop. The character is considered a popular in Franco- Belgium and one of Europe's most iconic comics and has been running since 21 April 1938. The interesting thing about the character, is that it has been drawn by a succession of artists, where as Herge Drew Tintin and Albert Uderzo drew Asterix and Obelix. Contrary to common practice in Europe, the creator of the comic sold the rights to the strip to the publishers Dupuis.

The comic strip was originally created by the Parisian artist Robert Velter (who signed his work Rob-Vel) for the first issue of Spirou magazine (Le Journal de Spirou) April 1938. The main character was an elevator operator in the Mostique Hotel and remains mainly dressed in his red bellhop uniform to this day. The main character has a pet squirrel called Spip, who was also the series first supporting character, though he was introduced a year after the series originally started. 
The first new artist/writer to take on the role of Spirou was Joseph Gillain (Pen name Jije) in 1943. By 1944 Jije had introduced a new character Fantasio who would become Spirou's best friend. Because Jije had so many artistic commitments by 1946, he ended up handing the work to his understudy Andre Franquin midway through "Spirou et la Manison Prefabriquee."

Above is the book I brought while in Erlangen and started off this blog.. The mysterious machine in the background and the woman dressed in a leopard skin costume a top a roof.

Above shows how the character had developed in the hands of other artist over the years

The image above is a fairy modern take on the 2 characters, though once again drawn by a different artist and this is one of the few images where the Spirou Character isn't seen in his traditional Bell Hop wear.

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