André Franquin Comics artist (1924-1997) André Franquin was born in Etterbeek, Brussels, and was one of the greatest Belgian strip-cartoon artists. Hergé, creator of Tintin is quoted as saying “I am nothing compared to Franquin”. His first cartoons were published in a Belgian newspaper in 1935, and, after finishing school, he studied religious art at the Ecole Saint-Luc. In 1944, his teacher showed some of his drawings to Eddy Paape, an ex-pupil at Saint-Luc, who ran an animated cartoon studio, and Franquin was hired on the spot. When Paape’s studio collapsed in 1945 due to competition from American comics, Franquin joined le Journal du Spirou, one of the leading Belgian cartoon magazines. Here he developed the characters Spirou and Fantasio, whose albums were published by Dupuis. After his marriage in 1950, he developed more characters: the Comte de Champagnac, Marsupilami, Gaston Lagaffe, Modeste & Pompom, le Petit Noël and Isabelle. He collaborated with all the great names in Belgian and French strip-cartoons, but poor health compelled him to pass on many of these to new creative teams from 1990 onwards. He was awarded the Ordre de Léopold in 1993, and the last Gaston Lagaffe album, published in 1996, sold 65,000 copies in three weeks. An exhibition of his work, entitled Le Monde du Franquin was held at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris in 2004-5, before moving to the Autoworld museum in Brussels from 2006-7.