Comics were a huge hit allover the world especially in France and Belgium. At first, they appeared as strips in entertainment magazines and newspaper supplements such as “Le Petit Vingtième, Spirou, and Pilote”. These publications featured debuts of very famous comic book characters such as “Tintin, Spirou, Lucky Luke, and Asterix”.
France and Belgium have combined their styles and created Franco-Belgian Comics or what is called BD “bande dessinée” which is derived from the original description of the art form as “drawn strips”. This art form was commonly described by Francophone scholars as “le neuvième art” or the 9th Art. Although this art form was new for both nations, it proved to be one of the best comic book formats of all time.
Bande dessinée has grown to be a very large and diverse art form, so to narrow down my topic for today I will discuss the most iconic publications and their most celebrated characters.
1- Le Petit Vingtième “Tintin”
Le Petit Vingtième was the weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper “Le Vingtième Siècle” and was first published on November 1, 1928. It’s mostly notable for introducing TInTin for the first time to the world.
On January 10, 1929, in issue 11, Tintin made his debut in the world of comics were he gained a considerable amount of fans and admirers allover the world. With his increasing popularity he soon had a comic book of his own.
Possible first appearances:
2- Spirou “Spirou and Lucky Luke”
First published in April 21, 1938 as “Le Journal de Spirou”, Spirou was an eight page weekly comics magazine. It comprised a mixture of short stories and gags, serial comics, and a handful of American comics. It’s mainly famous for introducing characters like “Spirou and Lucky Luke” for the first time.
Spirou the main character was introduced in the first issue of “Le Journal de Spirou”. Spirou was a big success and gained worldwide fame. Later on André Franquin and Jijé rejuvenated Spirou into the independent comic book “Spirou et Fantasio”.
The first Lucky Luke adventure named “Arizona” appeared in the Almanach issue of Le Journal de Spirou on December 7, 1946.
Lucky Luke has been and is still one of the most popular and best-selling comic-book series in continental Europe. Popular in Canada, about half of the series’ adventures have been translated into English.
3- Pilote “Asterix”
Pilote was a weekly entertainment magazine that was published October 29, 1959. It is notable for introducing various major series such as Asterix and Blueberry.
The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world and was translated into over 100 languages. To date, 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide, making co-creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo France’s bestselling authors abroad.
A part of Asterix’s first issue was published on 29 October 1959 in Pilote, and since then it has become a huge success.