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By Roba

Bollie en Billie

 
BB.jpg
Boule and Bill with the logo of the series
Publication information
Publisher Dupuis, Dargaud (in French)
Cinebook Ltd (in English)
Format Bande dessinée
Publication date 1959 – present
Main character(s) Boule, Bill
Creative team
Writer(s) Roba (until 2003)
Artist(s) Roba
Creator(s) Roba, Maurice Rosy

Boule et Bill is a popular comic, created in 1959 by the Belgian writer-artist Jean Roba in collaboration with Maurice Rosy.[1] In 2003 the artistic responsibility of the series was passed on to Roba’s former assistant Laurent Verron. The stories center around a typical family: a man and his wife, their young son Boule and Bill the cocker spaniel.

Contents

History

Boule et Bill first appeared in the comics magazine Spirou on December 24, 1959.[2]. The ambition was to make a sort of European Peanuts. The debut was made in a so-called mini-récit (mini-story), a story in 32 very small pages, printed on the inner spread of the magazine. Roba had until then mainly made illustrations for the magazine and had helped some other authors (including André Franquin), and now started with his own series. A few months later, a four page comic with the same heroes appeared, and shortly thereafter Roba created a weekly one page comic. For the next twenty-five years, Boule et Bill was one of the most popular series of the magazine, and appeared mostly on the back cover. Some of the strips were even published in the rival Le Journal de Mickey, which was based mainly around Walt Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

21 Albums were edited by Dupuis until 1985, containing one long story and some 800 gags. Thereafter, Roba changed from editor, moving to Dargaud. In 2006, Jean Roba died, but he had announced that he wanted the series to be continued, and had appointed Verron as his successor.

Story

Boule et Bill relates the homely adventures of seven-year-old boy Boule and his dog Bill, a Cocker Spaniel, as well as that of Boule’s mother and father and Caroline the turtle. Bill, while slightly anthropomorphized, basically acts as a normal dog, and the whole series places comical adventures in the realistic setting of a normal family in a normal town, with normal lives. Most of the gags happen in or around the house, but also include an almost yearly holiday setting with the family travelling away from home, usually at the beach.

Characters

  • Boule is a young boy, always dressed in a blue overalls and a yellow T-shirt. He is an ordinary boy who goes to school and has friends with whom he plays a lot.
  • Bill is a Cocker Spaniel. He can’t speak but resorts to many tricks to make himself understood. He can communicate with other animals, such as his best friend, Caroline. He is very resourceful and cunning to find food, likes sleeping on sofas but dislikes bathing. Some of the most recurring gags revolve around Boule and his dad tricking Bill into a bathtub for a reluctant wash. His long ears provide him with many abilities.
  • Boule’s mother stays at home and complies with domestic tasks. Her concerns are to keep the house clean and to prevent disasters from Boule and Bill’s ideas.
  • Boule’s father tries to educate his son properly by taking advantage of his questions and blunders. However, he fails most of the time, even if he is quite proud of his personal knowledge. He works for an advertising company, likes gardening and sleeping on a sofa, also appreciated by Bill, which provides some recurring gags.
  • Caroline is a green turtle who belong to Boule’s family. She lives in the garden. When Bill first met her, he feared she could eat his bones, but was then reassured, for she eats only lettuce. Caroline is insomniac.
  • Madame Stick is the neighbour of Boule’s family. The widow of a colonel, she is very strict and severe. She is the owner of Corporal, a cat who is Bill’s greatest enemy.
  • Gérard is a young snobbish boy, owner of a dog similar to him. He tries to dwarf Boule and Bill but ends up being overcome by their inventiveness.
  • Monsieur Coupon-Dubois is the boss of Boule’s father. Very respectable man, Boule’s father sometimes invites him to his home or is being trusted with precious objects, and finds it difficult to prevent Bill’s blunders.
  • Pouf is Boule’s best friend, but is as a rival for Bill, who often teases him. He wear long hair which covers most of his head and a cap.
  • Hildegarde is Pouf’s cousin who lives in the country. She appeared a few times in the series.
  • Boule’s teacher is caricatured under Morris‘s features.

Original albums

Boule et Bill were first published by Dupuis, then from 1988 by Dargaud.

  • 0 : Trésors des minis récits : Boule contre les minis requins, published in 1985
  • 1 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1962
  • 2 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1962
  • 3 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1964
  • 4 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1967
  • 5 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1969
  • 6 : 60 gags de Boule et Bill, 1970
  • 7 : Des gags de Boule et Bill, 1971
  • 8 : Papa, maman, Boule et… moi, 1972
  • 9 : Une vie de chien !, 1973
  • 10 : Attention chien marrant !, 1974
  • 11 : Jeux de Bill, 1975
  • 12 : Ce coquin de cocker, 1976
  • 13 : Carnet de Bill, octobre 1976
  • 14 : Ras le Bill !, 1977
  • 15 : Bill, nom d’un chien, 1978
  • 16 : Souvenirs de famille, 1979
  • 17 : Tu te rappelles Bill ?, 1980
  • 18 : Bill est maboul !, 1980
  • 19 : Globe-trotters, 1982
  • 20 : Strip Cocker, 1984
  • 21 : Billets de Bill 1987
  • 22 : Vl’à Boule et Bill 1988
  • 23 : Faut rigoler ! 1991
  • 24 : Bwouf allo Bill ? 1995

Other publications

  • In 1999, the Boule et Bill series was entirely reedited by Dupuis, in albums of 48 strips, whereas the former albums were composed of either 64, 56 or 48 pages. This series consists of 24 albums published by Dupuis plus three albums originally published by Dargaud and reedited. The nine first albums of the original collection were replaced by 14 albums with different names. The other albums kept their original names, apart from the former 22nd album which was renamed Les v’la!. This new series went on after Roba’s death with three new albums drawn by Verron: Quel Cirque! (2003), La bande à Bill (2005), Graine de cocker (2007).
  • In 1979 Une extraordinaire aventure de Boule et Bill: Bill a disparu ! was published in Spirou; written by André-Paul Duchateau, Bill goes missing and the various characters from Spirou magazine search for him.
  • In 1987 L’album de famille de Boule et Bill was published by Dargaud.
  • In 1997 Boule et Bill en famille was published .
  • In 1999 Boule et Bill font la fête was published in commemoration of Boule et Bill’s 40th anniversary.
  • Four Best of Boule et Bill albums composed of previously published strips were published in 2003 and 2004: Plumes poils et compagnie, En vadrouille, Jeux d’hiver, and Home sweet home.
  • A series of books for children was published in pocket format, illustrated by Roba and written by Fanny Joly, published by Mango as part of the Bibliomango line.
  • An album, A l’école … vite !, was published in 1999 by Atlas.
  • Various special advertising albums were published.

English translations

Cinebook has published two books in English, with Boule and Bill renamed Billy and Buddy, respectively.[3]

  1. Remember this, Buddy? – Jun 2009 – ISBN 9781905460915
  2. Bored Silly with Billy – Sep 2010 – ISBN 9781849180498

Impact

Boule et Bill is among the best-selling French language comics, with 300,000 copies for the new album by Verron in 2009.[4]

  • An animated television series based on Boule and Bill was broadcast on RTF in 1960, then later in 2000 on TF1.
  • In 2002 La Poste, France’s post office system, issued two postage stamps illustrating Boule and Bill. Three out of eight were semi-postal stamps benefiting the French Red Cross.[5]
  • A wall painting representing Boule and Bill was painted in Brussels.
  • A statue of Boule and Bill was erected in Jette, Belgium[6], next to where lived Roba.

Sources

Footnotes

External links

  

Roba

Born 28 July 1930
Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died 14 June 2006(2006-06-14) (aged 75)
Brussels, Belgium
Nationality Belgian
Area(s) artist, writer
Notable works Boule et Bill
Awards full list

Jean Roba (28 July 1930 – 14 June 2006) was a Belgian comics author from the Marcinelle school. His best-known work is Boule et Bill.

Contents

1 Biography
2 Bibliography
3 Awards
4 Sources
5 External links

Biography

Jean Roba was born in Schaerbeek, Belgium.[1] In his youth, he was a reader of French magazines like Robinson and Mickey, which featured mainly American comics. One of those that was especially influential on Roba was Katzenjammer Kids.[2] After working as an illustrator for different magazines and publicity agencies, he started to work as an illustrator for Spirou in 1957, where he made small cartoons for the front page for a few years. He also worked on Bonnes Soirées, another magazine from the same publisher Dupuis, where he continued the series Sa majesté mon mari after Albert Uderzo stopped.[2] For Spirou, he made a few short stories with Yvan Delporte and collaborated on different stories of Spirou et Fantasio with André Franquin, who taught him the basics of making comics, before starting his own main series Boule et Bill in 1959, initially with stories by Maurice Rosy.[2] Next to this series of mainly one page comics, he started in 1962 La Ribambelle about a group of kids from various countries and racial backgrounds.[1]

Roba was both an artist and an author, and wrote most of his own gags for Boule et Bill, while others contributed stories for La Ribambelle. He handed over the drawing of Boule et Bill to Laurent Verron after more than a 1000 pages. His work has been translated in fourteen languages and has sold in excess of 25 million copies.[1] He lived in Jette from 1951 until his death in Brussels in 2006.

In 2005 he ended on nr. 100 in the election for Le plus grand Belge (The Greatest Belgian).

Bibliography

Series Years Albums Editor Remarks
Boule et Bill 1962 – 20050 21 Dupuis, 4 albums Dargaud0 some early scenarios by Maurice Rosy
La Ribambelle 1965–1984 6 Dupuis with stories by Vicq, Yvan Delporte and Maurice Tillieux
Spirou et Fantasio0 1959–1960 2 Dupuis co-artist with André Franquin on Tembo Tabou
and Spirou et les hommes-bulles

Awards

1978: Angoulême International Comics Festival, Best foreign comical work, for Boule et Bill
1981: Angoulême International Comics Festival, Best comic for 9 to 12 years old, for Boule et Bill: Bill est maboul
1992: Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, France[2]
Roba was also a Knight in the Order of Léopold.[2]

Sources

Roba publications in Spirou, Pif gadget BDoubliées (French) BDoubliées (French)
Roba albums Bedetheque (French)
Footnotes
1.^ a b c De Weyer, Geert (2005). “Roba”. In België gestript, pp. 151-152. Tielt: Lannoo.
2.^ a b c d e Roba, Jean (in Dutch) (comic book). Bollie & Billie vieren feest (1st edition ed.). Brussels: Dargaud. p. 48. ISBN 90-6793-515-8.
External links
Jean Roba biography on Lambiek Comiclopedia
Jean Roba biography on Dupuis
Jean Roba 2001 interview, with many drawings on BD Paradisio (French)
Interview in 2006 on Objectible.net (French)
Persondata
Name Roba, Jean
Alternative names
Short description comic author
Date of birth 28 July 1930
Place of birth Schaerbeek, Belgium
Date of death 14 June 2006
Place of death Brussels, Belgium