The resurrection of Gaston Lagaffe causes a storm in the world of comics

By Frederic Potet

Posted yesterday at 05:34, updated yesterday at 05:56

And Mr. De Mesmaeker, what does he think of all this? No need to introduce readers to Gaston Lagaffe this angry businessman, victim of the office boy’s repeated blunders. His inability to sign major contracts at the newspaper’s premises Spirou composes a recurring and indestructible gag. If he were gifted with life, what would he think, yes, of the controversy that is tearing apart Franco-Belgian comics: the revival of Gaston, twenty-five years after the death of its creator, André Franquin? Of contract, it is eminently question, indeed, in this business of a rare animosity. Charges of plagiarism and violation of moral rights are notably pronounced there.

Read also: BD: the return of Gaston Lagaffe already in court

Brought to justice by Isabelle Franquin, the daughter of the designer, the dispute must be judged in summary proceedings, Monday May 16. A court in Brussels must decide on the prepublication, in Spirou, new gags from Gaston. The operation had been interrupted by the publishing house Dupuis (owner of the magazine) after the controversy caused by the distribution of a board a month ago. Another procedure, on the merits, will decide this summer on the release of a 44-page album signed by the buyer “appointed” de Gaston, the Canadian Marc Delafontaine, alias Delaf. Since the announcement of the project on March 17, an unprecedented storm has been blowing over the 9e art, on a par with the cult devoted to Franquin and his favorite character.

Gaston Lagaffe, by Franquin.

Like Tintin, Lagaffe has always had the reputation of being impossible to take back. Firstly because of Franquin’s style, his inimitable expressiveness and dynamism. Then with regard to the intimate relationship that united him to this paper double, relentless pacifist and green before his time. The fact is, too, that Franquin never envisaged Gaston surviving him. “I would very much like, if tomorrow I am run over by a bus, that we don’t take Gaston back”he confided, in 1986, to the Liège fanzine Saucysson magazine, before specifying, premonitory: “Last wishes are very nice, but once a guy is dead, it’s over, who cares. »

Although he reiterated his refusal several times, Franquin never did so categorically, even half-wordly suggesting the names of designers who could take up the challenge, if by chance a series of gags were given to his series. Highlighted by Dupuis, this ambivalence is swept away by Isabelle Franquin: “My father did not want Gaston to exist after him. It was implicit. Neither I nor my children remember hearing him say otherwise. If we had known that things would turn out like this, we would have threatened him with a revolver so that he would write it down in black and white.confides the beneficiary, in the offices of SA Franquin, responsible for protecting the paternal work.

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