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Redbeard (French: Barbe-Rouge) is a series of Belgian comic books, originally published in French, created by writer Jean-Michel Charlier and artist Victor Hubinon. After their deaths the series was continued by other artists, including Jijé (Joseph Gillain), Christian Gaty, Patrice Pellerin, Jean Ollivier, Christian Perrissin and Marc Bourgne.


The series was very popular in France, Belgium and The Netherlands, but has not yet been published in English. In late seventies and early eighties, most of the classic episodes were also published in Yugoslavia (in the Serbian language) under the name Demon s Kariba (Demon of the Caribbean). In Croatia, the series was first published under the name Crvenobradi but later under the name Riđobradi (in the Croatian language). In Germany, the series is known under the name: Der rote Korsar, and in Denmark 5 albums have been published under the name Rødskæg. In the seventies two episodes were published in Finland, under the name Punaparta, and in Portugal 5 Barba Ruiva albums have been published.

The characters

  • Redbeard is a pirate of French origin. After a troublesome youth he went roaming the seven seas for gold and fortune on his ship, the Black Falcon. He has gathered a great fortune over the years, most of which was hidden in the Florida Everglades. But a lot of his fortune was needed to buy or repair his ships. He used to have a secret base on an uninhabited island, but this was destroyed first by the British, Spanish and Dutch forces and finally in a volcanic eruption. According to the later spin-off series, his real name supposedly is Jean-Baptiste Cornic, however it can be debated whether this is canon or not.
  • Eric Lerouge (“the red”, although his hair is blond!), is the adopted son of Redbeard. In fact, he can be seen as the main character of the series, despite the title, as some episodes deal with Eric and do not feature Redbeard at all. In 1715, Redbeard found young Eric during a raid on a ship, while abandoned by his parents (who were killed in the attack). His true name and legacy were revealed later, in documents that Redbeard had taken during the attack. Eric’s true name is Thierry de Montfort. He is a nobleman, but the claim to his father’s name has been lost, and hence convicted to travel the seas. Eric dislikes the pirate life. He does not want to succeed Redbeard, and choose to lead an honest life, however many obstacles lay in his path. He has studied at the Royal Navy in London by using a fake name. He tried to earn a living as a captain on a tradeship, but Redbeard keeps coming back into his life, needing him for one of his jobs.
  • Tripod (called that for his wooden leg and walking stick) is Redbeard’s righthand. He is an inventor, geographer, and also has great knowledge of surgery and strategy and speaks Latin fluently. In fact, he has multiple wooden legs, each containing hidden tools, medicines or weapons. One leg is even modified into a rifle.
  • Baba is an escaped slave of African origin, being abducted by slave traders from the Gulf of Guinea. He was freed by Redbeard, and choose to remain as his loyal servant. Strong like a bull, and can swim like a dolphin. He had a sister called Aïcha, but she was killed in Algiers while helping Eric to escape.
  • The Black Falcon is the name of Redbeard’s ship. There have been at least 4 different ships, as it sometimes was destroyed during battle. This first Falcon was a Brig, that was blown up by Redbeard himself after it had been captured by the Spanish. The second Black Falcon was a three-masted barque, and it burned while being sieged by the pirate Alvarez. The third Falcon was also a three-masted barque, but with a very narrow hull. It also had extended rigging and bigger sails, that could be raised and lower from the deck itself. Next to regular cannons, it featured two extremely heavy cannons (30 cm caliber), named after Gog and Magog. Also there were 30 connected muskets, that could be fired at once. The ship could also drop Naval mines. Finally, there was a hidden surprise in the form of Greek fire: copper tubes could spray this substance over the water and onto enemy ships. The ship gained its nickname the ship from hell in the siege of Algiers, causing mass mayhem and turning a great portion of the city into ashes. However it was blown up again by Redbeard, as there was no escape possible from the Dardanelles near Istanbul. The fourth Back Falcon is again a regular three-masted barque.

Asterix parodies on the left, originals at right

Asterix parody

Redbeard is better known from a parody in the Asterix comic series, than his own series. Since the album Asterix the Gladiator, a group of pirates appear in nearly every story, and their ship sinks at almost every meeting. Originally conceived as a joke, the pirates’ appearance was so successful that they were fully integrated in the Astérix series. They were also featured in both the 1968 animation film Asterix and Cleopatra and the 2002 live-actionfilm Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, as well in 3 other animations: Asterix in Britain, Asterix Conquers America and Asterix and the Vikings.

The reason behind this parody is that Jean-Michel Charlier had worked with the authors of Asterix, René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo, in the founding of the comics magazine Pilote in 1959 in which both Asterix and Redbeard first appeared.

Although, in several countries of Continental Europe, Redbeard is a popular comic series in its own right, the popularity of Asterix’s pirates is one of the few occasions when parody figures have overshadowed their originals.

Historical background

Redbeard’s adventures mainly take place in the period between 1715 to 1750. The character of Redbeard was based on various historical pirates, like the Frenchman Robert Surcouf (1773–1827), as Charlier & Hubinson created three comics about him between 1949–1952, and these stories would later be the basis of this series. Also used are stories about the Turkish admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa (1483–1546), whose Italian name Barbarossa means “Red Beard”. Parts of his cruel appearance might be based on the notorious Blackbeard, active in the Caribbean Sea, and his fame and successes in the series resembles that of Bartholomew Roberts, who successfully conquered over 450 ships.

A lot of what is going on in the stories is based on real history:

  • In the first album, we get to know about the Viceroyalty of New Spain: The territories of the Spanish Empire in New World; North America, Central America and the Caribbean. In the 18th century, the Spanish were most of the time in war with The British, France and the Dutch.
  • The album The Brand Of The King takes place in the Mediterranean Sea, were galley slaves were marked with the French “Fleur de lis ” symbol, by using a hot stake. It also featured Barbary pirates.
  • The Ghost Ship & Dead Man’s Island featured the (fictive) treasure of historical pirate Henry Morgan.
  • The Spanish Ambush shows the court of the Spanish Viceroy in Cartagena.
  • The Letter Of Marque And Reprisal explains the difference between a pirate and a privateer.
  • Albums 16 to 19 deal with the Ottoman Empire, including Istanbul and Algiers.
  • Albums 21 to 23 deal with the Aztecs: Although their civilisation was wiped out by the Spanish in about 1520, Redbeard finds a hidden city in the jungle of Yucatán with their last living descendants.
  • Albums 26 to 28 describe the French-British battle at the Indian Ocean, especially between French gouvernor Joseph François Dupleix and British Robert Clive. Also mentioned is the Maratha Empire, with its island fortress Suvarnadurg.
  • Album 28 features the fictitious daughter of the historical pirate Olivier Levasseur.
  • Album 33 mentions the “Punchao“: a big golden sundisk from an Inti temple, which is eventually found at Machu Picchu.

However starting from the 31st album, The War Of The Pirates (1997), historical errors start to appear. Writer Jean Ollivier brings Henry Morgan to the series as a living character, becoming the new gouvernor of Jamaica. But Morgan already died in 1688, while Redbeard’s first adventure (album #1) takes place in 1715. Even in album 7: The Ghost Ship (1966), he is mentioned as being dead! In the following albums by writer Christian Perrissin and artist Marc Bourgne, the character of Redbeard himself also changes drastically. He gets more greedy, his love for Eric seems to be fading away, seems to have no honour anymore, he gets romantically involved with a girl but eventually he shoots her in the arm, causing the need to amputate it. All of these character features cannot be found in any of the previous albums.

Mentioned or visited are the French overseas territories in the New World, like: Fort-de-France, Île de la Tortue, New Orleans, Saint Croix, Port-au-Prince, Bourbon, Pondichéri, Fort Dauphin. And likewise their Spanish counterparts: Cartagena, Veracruz, Mérida, Puerto Bello, Panama, Cuzco. And these British territories: Barbuda, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Kingston, Jaffna, Saint-Augustin.


  • 1: The Broken Compass (1959)
  • 2: The Horror Of The Seven Seas (1960)
  • 3: The Young Capitain (1979) * [1].
  • 4: The Captain Without A Name (1961)
  • 5: The Brand Of The King (1961)
  • 6: Mutiny On The Ocean (1965)
  • 7: The Ghost Ship (1966)
  • 8: Dead Man’s Island (1967)
  • 9: The Spanish Ambush (1968)
  • 10: The Downfall Of The Black Falcon (1969)
  • 11: The Reckoning (1970)
  • 12: The Treasure Of Redbeard (1971)
  • 13: The Letter Of Marque And Reprisal (1971)
  • 14: The Liberation Of Fort-de-France (1972)
  • 15: The Invisible Pirate (1972)
  • 16: Fight With The Moors (1973)
  • 17: The Prisoner (1973)
  • 18: The Ship From Hell (1974)
  • 19: Hellfire (1979)
  • 20: Island Of The Missing Ships (1980)
  • 21: The Missing Of The Black Falcon (1982)
  • 22: The Cursed Gold Of Huacapac (1987)
  • 23: The City Of Death (1987)
  • 24: Con With Slaves (1983)
  • 25: Uprise In Jamaica (1987)
  • 26: Pirates in Indian Waters (1991)
  • 27: The Grand-Mongol (1992)
  • 28: The Pirate Of The Merciless (1994)
  • 29: Fight Over Tortuga (1995)
  • 30: Gold And Glory (1996)
  • 31: The War Of The Pirates (1997)
  • 32: The Shadow Of The Devil (1999)
  • 33: The Path Of The Inca (2000)
  • 34: The Secret Of Elisa Davis – part 1 (2001)
  • 35: The Secret Of Elisa Davis – part 2 (2004)

* ^ Previously unpublished chapter, also contains two short prequel stories:
*The Gold Of The San Christobal
*The Cobra

End of the series?

After Victor Hubinon died unexpectedly in 1979, Jijé (Joseph Gillain) took over. But when he also died, the series was almost ended, as Jean-Michel Charlier believed nobody could take over. However, he finally managed to find not one, but two artists; Christian Gaty and Patrice Pellerin. As Charlier wrote in the book “Uprise In Jamaica” (1987): “Why not have two different artists? If James Bond can be played by different actors, so can Redbeard“. Charlier himself dies in 1989. The series is then continued by Jean Ollivier and Gaty in 1991, with the addition: “The new adventures“, however in 1999 it is changed back to just ‘Redbeard’.

But in 2006 the publisher Dargaud announced the series will be ended, as it would not be appealing anymore to youngsters, who were the original target audience. Artist Marc Bourgne thinks there will be a comeback of the series somewhere in the future.[citation needed]


Since 1996 there is also a spin-off series, called “The Young Years Of Redbeard“, created by different authors then the main series: the scenario is by Christian Perrissin and the artist is Daniel Redondo.

These stories deal with Redbeard’s youth before he was a pirate and how he decided to become one. His name is given as Jean-Baptiste Cornic, a servant of the French king. Also explained is how he lost his eye.

  • The Brothers Of The Coast (1996)
  • The Lion Pit (1997)
  • The Duel Of The Captains (1998)
  • The Island Of The Red Devil (1999)
  • The Mutineers Of Port Royal (2001)

Barbe-Rouge DVD cover


In 1997 the animated series Barbe-Rouge was made by the French TF1 and Italian RAI. This series consists of 26 episodes of 24 minutes. It has also been broadcasted in England and Canada(“Captain Red Beard”), Norway (“Kaptein Rødskjegg”), Italy (“Barbarossa”) and Greece (“Κοκκινογένης Πειρατής”). The scenarios were written by Jean Cubaud. The animations were done by Pasquale Moreau and Thibault Deschamps, from PRH Création Images.[1] In 2005, a DVD with five episodes of the animated Redbeard series was released in France (Barbe-Rouge).


 External links

Jean-Michel Charlier

Jean-Michel Charlier
Born 30 October 1924(1924-10-30)
Liège, Belgium
Died 10 July 1989(1989-07-10) (aged 64)
Saint-Cloud, France
Nationality Belgian
Area(s) Writer
Notable works Buck Danny
Awards full list

Jean-Michel Charlier (30 October 1924 – 10 July 1989) was a Belgian script writer best known as a writer of realistic European comics. He was a co-founder of the famed European comics magazine Pilote.



Charlier was born in Liège, Belgium in 1924.[1] In 1945 he got a job as a draughtsman in Brussels with World Press, the syndicate of Georges Troisfontaines, which worked mainly for the comic strip magazine Spirou. The following year he and artist Victor Hubinon created the four-page comic strip L’Agonie du Bismarck. Charlier wrote the script and also drew the ships and airplanes. In 1947 Charlier and Hubinon began the long-running air-adventure comic strip Buck Danny. After a few years, Charlier stopped all work on the drawings and concentrated only on the scenarios, on the advice of Jijé, then the senior artist at Spirou.[1]

Unable to support himself writing comic scripts at a time when Dupuis concentrated almost solely on the magazine and albums were few and far between, Charlier qualified for a pilots license in 1949 and briefly flew for the airline SABENA.

However the following year Charlier returned to comic strips, collaborating with Hubinon once again to create Tiger Joe for La Libre Junior, the weekly comics supplement to the journal La Libre Belgique. Charlier also continued to supply scripts for Spirou magazine, collaborating with Eddy Paape on the strip Valhardi and, in 1955, with future Asterix artist Albert Uderzo on the comic strip Belloy. Together with Hubinon, he also created some biographical comics like Jean Mermoz and Surcouf. Other long running series he started for Spirou in the early 1950s were La Patrouille des Castors for Mitacq, and in 1951 Les Vraies Histoires de l’Oncle Paul (Uncle Paul’s true stories), a weekly comic of four pages telling a true story. The latter series was continued from 1954 on by Octave Joly, and was a place where many young talents published their first comics, including Jean Graton, René Follet and Hermann Huppen.[1]

Charlier, Hubinon, Uderzo, and comic-strip writer René Goscinny founded the comics agency Edifrance and the magazine Pistolin in 1955, and the influential magazine Pilote in 1959.[1] Charlier was editor-in-chief and also wrote two stories for the first issue: Redbeard with Hubinon and Tanguy and Laverdure with Uderzo – these latter two characters would later get their own TV series as well: Les Chevaliers du Ciel, featuring Tanguy and Laverdure, was made by ORTF between 1967 and 1969, an English-dubbed version of the show being released under the title The Aeronauts.[1]

Charlier visited the United States in 1963 and a tour of the American West inspired him to create Fort Navajo, a western series, for Pilote. He chose as artist Jean Giraud (Moebius), then a commercial illustrator who had briefly worked with Jijé on Jerry Spring, a popular European western strip. Fort Navajo, later renamed Blueberry or Lieutenant Blueberry after its main character, became a popular and innovative graphic novel.[2] In 1972 friction among the staff at Pilote caused Charlier to give up his editorial position and he worked in French television until 1976. He then worked as editor-in-chief for two years at Tintin magazine. He continued to write Blueberry and Buck Danny stories.

Jean-Michel Charlier died in Saint-Cloud, France, in 1989. His main series are all continued by other writers, often chosen by Charlier himself.[1]


Series Years Volumes Artist Publisher Remarks
Buck Danny 1948–1988 44 Victor Hubinon (1-40) and Francis Bergèse (41-44) Dupuis, Novedi and Hachette Continued by Bergèse alone
Fanfan et Polo Aviateurs 1951 1 Dino Attanasio La Libre Belgique  
Tarawa, atoll sanglant 1951 1 Victor Hubinon and Albert Weinberg Dupuis  
Surcouf 1951–1953 3 Victor Hubinon Dupuis  
Tiger Joe 1951–1977 3 Hubinon La Libre Belgique and Deligne  
Oncle Paul 1953–1955 12 Various artists, including Eddy Paape and Jean Graton Dupuis Additional stories by Octave Joly
Valhardi 1953–1975 6 Eddy Paape and Jijé Dupuis and Deligne Created by Jean Doisy
Kim Devil 1955–1957 4 Gérald Forton Dupuis  
La Patrouille des Castors 1955–1984 23 Mitacq Dupuis Continued by Mitacq alone
Jean Mermoz 1956 1 Victor Hubinon Dupuis  
Marc Dacier 1960–1982 13 Eddy Paape Dupuis  
Tanguy et Laverdure 1961–1988 25 Albert Uderzo, Jijé, Serres and Coutelis Dargaud, Le Lombard, Fleurus, Novedi and Hachette  
Barbe-Rouge (Redbeard) 1961–1991 26 Victor Hubinon, Jijé, Lorg, Gaty and Patrice Pellerin Dargaud, Fleurus, Novedi and Hachette  
Blueberry 1965–1990 23 Jean Giraud Dargaud, Fleurus, Novedi, Hachette, and Alpen  
La jeunesse de Blueberry 1975–1990 6 Jean Giraud and Colin Wilson Dargaud, Novedi, and Dupuis  
Guy Lebleu 1976 2 Poivet Glénat Originally created in 1961
Belloy 1977 4 Albert Uderzo Deligne Originally created in 1948
André Lefort 1978 1 Eddy Paape Bédéscope Originally created in 1956
Jim Cutlass 1979 1 Jean Giraud Les Humanoïdes Associés  
Les Gringos 1979–1980 2 Victor de la Fuente Fleurus  
Jacques Le Gall 1980–1985 4 Mitacq Dupuis Originally created in 1959
Brice Bolt 1984–1985 2 Puig Dupuis Originally created in 1971
Ron Clarke 1991 1 J. Armand Alpen  
Clairette 1997 1 Albert Uderzo Antarès Originally created in 1957




  1. ^ a b c d e f De Weyer, Geert (2005). “Jean-Michel Charlier”. In België gestript, pp. 177-179. Tielt: Lannoo.
  2. ^ “Los buenos, los feos y los malos” (in Spanish). Malaga Hoy. 4 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 

External links

Name Charlier, Jean-Michel
Alternative names  
Short description  
Date of birth October 30, 1924
Place of birth Liège, Belgium
Date of death July 10, 1989
Place of death Saint-Cloud, France

Victor Hubinon

Victor Hubinon
Born 26 April 1924(1924-04-26)
Angleur, Belgium
Died 8 January 1979(1979-01-08) (aged 54)
Villemy, Belgium[1]
Nationality Belgian
Area(s) Writer, Artist
Pseudonym(s) Hubinon, Victor Hughes, Charvick
Notable works Buck Danny
Awards full list

Victor Hubinon (26 April 1924 – 8 January 1979) was a Belgian comic-book artist, best known for the series Buck Danny and Redbeard.



Victor Hubinon was born in Angleur (Now a part of Liège), Belgium in 1924.[2] He studied at the Arts Academy of Liège and fled to England later during World War II, where he served in the Royal Navy. After the war ended, he returned to Belgium and when he was 22, he started working as an illustrator for the newspaper La Meuse. He got a contract with businessman and journalist Georges Troisfontaines, who started the press agency “World Press”. There, Hubinon met Jean-Michel Charlier, another illustrator for the agency.[2] They first collaborated on a short comic story, but Troisfontaines created for them a new hero, Buck Danny, about a trio of fictional American pilots in World War II. Troisfontaines dropped out after he had written the first fifteen pages, whereupon Charlier and Hubinon continued it on their own. Quite soon, Charlier quit drawing and specialized in writing the stories, while Hubinon did all the artwork. The strip appeared in Spirou, the comics magazine of publisher Dupuis, and became over the next thirty years one of the most popular and enduring series of the magazine. After 50 years, more than 20 million albums had been sold.[2] Unusual about the series was that it kept very securely up-to-date, with the heroes always flying in the most recent planes and participating in current events.

Hubinon experimented with humoristic, caricatural stories in his early years as a comics artist. He even made one story about Blondin et Cirage, two heroes created by Jijé, but thereafter, the series returned to Jijé, and Hubinon mostly stuck to his realistic work, such as Buck Danny, the biographies of Surcouf, Stanley and Jean Mermoz, and a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Tarawa.[2]

When Charlier, together with a few friends like René Goscinny, created the new comic magazine Pilote in 1959, he wrote for Hubinon the realistic pirate series Redbeard, which would continue for some twenty years.[2] The pirate crew in this series was the inspiration for their comical counterpart in the other main series of Pilote, Asterix.

In 1977, Hubinon created a new series, La Mouette, with stories by Gigi Maréchal. He died in 1979 from a heart attack, before the second part of the series was finished.[2]


Series Years Volumes Writer Publisher Remarks
Buck Danny 1948–1979 40 Jean-Michel Charlier Dupuis Characters invented by Georges Troisfontaines. Artwork continued by Francis Bergèse
Blondin et Cirage 1951 1 Jijé Dupuis Previous and later albums drawn by Jijé
Fifi 1951 1 Eddy Paape I.P. Bruxelles  
Tiger Joe 1951–1977 3 Jean-Michel Charlier La Libre Belgique and Deligne  
Tarawa, atoll sanglant 1951 1 Jean-Michel Charlier Dupuis Additional artwork by Albert Weinberg and Eddy Paape: fictionalized account of the Battle of Tarawa
Surcouf 1951–1953 3 Jean-Michel Charlier Dupuis Biographical comic
Stanley 1954–1955 2 Octave Joly Dupuis Biographical comic
Jean Mermoz 1956 1 Jean-Michel Charlier Dupuis Biographical comic
Barbe-Rouge (Redbeard) 1961–1981 18 Jean-Michel Charlier Dargaud Continued by Jijé, Lorg, René Pellerin, Christian Gaty and M. Bourgne
Pistolin 1999 1 René Goscinny Vents d’Ouest The title series of the magazine Pistolin which ran from 1955 to 1958




  1. ^ “À son enterrement, une mouette dans le ciel”. L’Avenir. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f De Weyer, Geert (2005). “Victor Hubinon”. In België gestript, pp. 127-128. Tielt: Lannoo.
  3. ^ BD Paradisio. “Victor Hubinon”. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 

External links

Name Hubinon, Victor
Alternative names  
Short description comic artist
Date of birth 26 April 1924
Place of birth Angleur, Belgium
Date of death 8 January 1979
Place of death Villemy, Belgium


Born Joseph Gillain
13 January 1914(1914-01-13)
Gedinne, Belgium
Died 20 June 1980(1980-06-20) (aged 66)
Versailles, France
Nationality Belgian
Notable works Spirou et Fantasio
Blondin et Cirage
Jean Valhardi
Jerry Spring
Awards full list

Jijé (13 January 1914 – 20 June 1980) was a Belgian comics artist, best known for being a seminal artist on the Spirou et Fantasio strip (and for having introduced the Fantasio character) and the creator of one of the first major European western strips, Jerry Spring.



Blondin, Cirage, Prof. Labarbousse and guest star “Marsupilami Africanis” in Les soucoupes volantes (1954)

Born Joseph Gillain in Gedinne, Namur, he completed various art studies (woodcraft, goldsmithing, drawing and painting) at the abbey of Maredsous.[1] In 1936, he created his first comics character, Jojo in the catholic newspaper Le Croisé. Jojo was heavily influenced by The Adventures of Tintin, but Jijé gradually developed his own style.[1] Soon a second series followed, Blondin et Cirage, for the catholic youth magazine Petits Belges.[2] Jijé also produced many illustrations for various Walloon magazines.

In 1939, he started to work for the new magazine Spirou, where he would produce the largest part of his oeuvre and with whom he would remain associated with until the end of his life. Because the magazine could not receive foreign comic strip material during the war, as the main local artist, he drew most of the comics during that period. He took over the main series, Spirou et Fantasio, from the Frenchman Rob-Vel: he added the sidekick Fantasio to the lone hero Spirou in order to add some comic relief in the series. He then created his own series, Jean Valhardi, and drew episodes of the American series published during the war, like Red Ryder and Superman, when due to the war, the American pages could not reach the publisher.[2]

His Catholic faith inspired biographies of Don Bosco and Christopher Columbus, as well as a gospel in comics form, Emmanuel. After the war, he handed over his existing series’ to younger artists: André Franquin got Spirou et Fantasio, Eddy Paape Jean Valhardi and Victor Hubinon Blondin et Cirage. In the 1950s, he drew new adventures of Jean Valhardi and Blondin et Cirage, while starting a new series, the western Jerry Spring. He also drew a biography of Baden-Powell. In the mid-1960s, he took over the artwork of Tanguy et Laverdure from Albert Uderzo and Redbeard from Victor Hubinon, both in the magazine Pilote.[1] He died at Versailles after a prolonged illness.

Style and appreciation

Jijé is one of the few European artists to have worked on both realistic and humorous features. After starting in a Hergé-like Ligne claire style, he went on to create his own distinctive style,[1] the so-called Atom style. This style mixed elements of the Ligne Claire with Art Déco elements, and became one of the defining styles of the Franco-Belgian comics. He also had a few young cartoonists living with him in Waterloo, thus creating the so-called “School of Marcinelle“: this included André Franquin, Morris, and Will. Other famous artists working in the style and influence of the School of Marcinelle include Peyo and Jean Roba. Together with Franquin, Jijé is considered to be the father of the Atom style,[2] which has had a revival since the 1980s with artists like Yves Chaland and Ever Meulen.

But Jijé was also the first master of the Franco-Belgian realistic comic, with Jerry Spring. Both his drawing style and his writing was very influential and groundbreaking. Later students of Jijé, not really working in the Atom style or the School of Marcinelle, include Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), Jean-Claude Mézières and Guy Mouminoux. Artist Jean Giraud started working in the style of Jijé before developing his own style.

He is held in high esteem by many of his peers, both those he tutored like Franquin and Moebius, and other ones. Tibet, author of Ric Hochet and Chick Bill, and for the major part of his career working for the rival magazine Tintin, has said that “If Hergé is considered as God the Father, then Jijé undoubtedly is the Godfather”.[2]

In his writing, he can be seen as a transitional figure between the classic hero-driven comics like Alix or Michel Vaillant, and the modern anti-heroes like Blueberry or the works of Hermann Huppen. Jerry Spring still was the perfect, flawless hero, but the rest of the cast was no longer strictly divided into heroes, victims and villains, and no longer was the Native American the bloodthirsty figure he often was in earlier comics. A similar early anti-racist message was also given by Blondin et Cirage, with a white and a black boy featured as equals.

He also pursued sculpting and painting, mainly for his private use or for family and friends. His illustrations for stories like The Count of Monte Cristo (in the Belgian magazine Bonnes Soirées with René Follet) mix elements from his comic work and his paintings into one decorative style.

In 2004, the Maison de la Bande Dessinée, a comics museum in Brussels dedicated to his works was created, later expanding its focus to the work of Jijé as well as the creators he has influenced. [3]


Cover of Jerry Spring #1 (1955)

  • Jojo, 1936–1937, 2 albums
  • Blondin et Cirage, 1939–1956, 8 albums
  • Freddy Fred, 1939, 1 album
  • Trinet et Trinette, 1939, 1 album
  • Spirou et Fantasio, 1940–1950, 2 albums and some short stories
  • Jean Valhardi, 1941–1966, 11 albums
  • Don Bosco, 1943, 1 album (redrawn version 1950)
  • Christophe Colomb, 1946, 1 album
  • Emmanuel, 1947, 1 album
  • Baden Powell, 1950, 1 album
  • Jerry Spring, 1954–1980, 21 albums
  • Blanc Casque, 1954, 1 album
  • Bernadette Soubirous, 1958, 1 album
  • Charles De Foucauld, 1959, 1 album
  • Docteur Gladstone, 1964, 1 album
  • Tanguy and Laverdure, 1971–1980, 10 albums
  • Redbeard, 1979–1980, 2 albums



  1. ^ a b c d de Grand Ry, Michel; Nizette, André; and Lechat, Jean-Louis. “Jijé”. Le livre d’or de la bande dessinée. Brussels: Centre de la bande dessinée Belge. pp. 6–7. 
  2. ^ a b c d De Weyer, Geert (2005). “Jijé”. In België gestript, pp. 132-134. Tielt: Lannoo.
  3. ^ Maison de la Bande Dessinée website

External links

Name Jije
Alternative names Gillain, Joseph
Short description comic artist
Date of birth 13 January 1914
Place of birth Gedinne, Belgium
Date of death 20 June 1980
Place of death Versailles, France