henryherz.com

Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

Before Comic-Con, there was the Belgian Comic Strip Center

Leave a comment

The Belgian Comic Strip Center (BCSC) is located in a majestic Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta in 1906. The BCSC assembles anything that deals with European comics, from its prestigious beginnings to its latest developments. It is located in one of the oldest districts of Brussels, just a few steps away from Grand’Place and the Royal district.

Our summer vacation included Brussels, and we could not pass up a visit, particularly when viewed as a European prelude to our attendance at San Diego Comic-Con. Here are my sons and co-authors posing with some life-sized Tintin figures.

comic00

My Nimpentoad co-authors at the BCSC with life-sized Tintin characters

Many Americans got their first taste of European comics from The Smurfs and when The Adventures of Tintin was recently released as a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.

Per wikipedia.org, “The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. By the time of the centenary of Hergé’s birth in 2007, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages with sales of more than 200 million copies.”

“The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic and television franchise centered on a group of Smurfs: small blue fictional creatures that live in mushrooms. The Smurfs were first created and introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958. The word “Smurf” is the original Dutch translation of the French “Schtroumpf”, a word invented when during a meal with fellow cartoonist André Franquin, Peyo could not remember the word salt.”

Printing opened everything up to a wide audience

comic01

“The introduction of engraving, published books, newspapers and color prints sold at fairs enabled a wide audience to be reached. Both master of their art, The Englishman, William Hogarth and the Japanese, Katsushika Hokusai, told stories by means of a series of engravings or etchings. They are essential milestones in the history of this nascent art, following the example of the Swiss comic artist, Rodolphe Topffer, who taught movement so well to his pupils.”

Play With Dickie

comic02

This museum display perhaps doesn’t realize how American boys would read it.
Museum display directions: Dickie is mixed up. Arrange some order in the drawings for him.

Tintin is Nobody. Tintin is Everyman

comic04

Image caption: Tintin’s face is made up of a few very simple features. It’s almost expressionless. Because it is neutral, it’s the ideal recipient for the emotions felt and projected by readers.
Depending on the circumstances, Tintin can be young or old, Scandinavian or mediterranean, African or Asian. He’s a universal character. If Tintin is Everyman, he is also you!

Which Tintin Characters Appeared When

comic03

Image caption: Raymond Macherot was born in Verviers in 1924. He is unanimously considered to be the greatest author of animal comics of his generation. With series such as Chlorophylle (Tintin, 1953) and Sybilline (Spirou, 1965), he created a universe characterized by poetry, fable, and satire. ”

Jerom

comic06

Image caption: Jerom (Jethro) began his solo career in the weekly children’s magazine Ons Volkske in 1960 with Het geheim van Brokkelsteen. Willy Vandersteen wrote the first scripts and entrusted the drawings to his assistant Edward De Rop. The appealing strongman soon found a following and became a publishing success for the Vandersteen Studio.

Raymond Macherot

comic05

Image caption: Raymond Macherot was born in Verviers in 1924. He is unanimously considered to be the greatest author of animal comics of his generation. With series such as Chlorophylle (Tintin, 1953) and Sybilline (Spirou, 1965), he created a universe characterized by poetry, fable, and satire.

Willy Vandersteen through his stories

comic07

Per wikipedia.org, “Willy Vandersteen was a Belgian creator of comic books. In a career spanning 50 years, he created a large studio and published more than 1,000 comic albums in over 25 series, selling more than 200 million copies worldwide.

Considered together with Marc Sleen the founding father of Flemish comics, he is mainly popular in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Hergé called him “The Brueghel of the comic strip”, while the creation of his own studio and the mass production and commercialization of his work turned him into “the Walt Disney of the Low Countries”.

Vandersteen is best known for Suske en Wiske (published in English as Spike and Suzy, Luke and Lucy, Willy and Wanda or Bob and Bobette), which in 2008 sold 3.5 million books. His other major series are De Rode Ridder with over 200 albums and Bessy with almost 1,000 albums published in Germany.”

Spirou passed from hand to hand

comic08

Per wikipedia.org, “Spirou (Walloon: Squirrel, mischievous) is the main character of the Spirou et Fantasio and Le Petit Spirou comic strips. The character was originally created by Robert Velter (Rob-Vel) for the launch of Le Journal de Spirou in 1938. Spirou was originally an elevator operator and bell-boy at the fictional Moustique Hotel. At some point he became a reporter for the eponymous magazine, though he remained dressed in his trademark red uniform.”

Smurfs!

comic10

In the US, probably the most well-known European comic characters are the Smurfs. Per wikipedia.org, “The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic and television franchise centered on a group of Smurfs: small blue fictional creatures that live in mushrooms. The Smurfs were first created and introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958. The word “Smurf” is the original Dutch translation of the French “Schtroumpf”, a word invented when during a meal with fellow cartoonist André Franquin, Peyo could not remember the word salt.”

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

Advertisements

Author: Henry Herz

Children's book author

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s