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Hergé, Jacobs, Franquin, Peyo, Comès and (many) many…

Hergé, Jacobs, Franquin, Peyo, Comès and (many) more…

 

A hundred or so comic strips from the Liège Museum of Fine Arts have been classified as a "Treasure" of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation: a first in the history of Belgian comics. This is a set of 104 original plates, kept by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège.

Hergé, E. P. Jacobs, Franquin, Morris, Peyo, J. Martin, Tillieux, Comès, Macherot, Will, Sirius, Hermann, Hausman, Lambil, F. Craenhals, J. Laudy, Maréchal, Greg, Devos, Giffey... All of these major authors from the golden age of Belgian comics are to be found in a unique collection, which has been preserved in Liège since the end of the 1970s. It is a collection of original comic strips, built up between 1977 and 1979 by the Liège non-profit organisation "Signes et Lettres". At the instigation of Jean-Maurice Dehousse, then Minister of Culture of the French Community, acquisitions were made from the best comic strip authors: those who had published since the end of the Second World War in two weekly magazines for young people, "Tintin" and "Journal de Spirou", which vied with each other to win over young readers.

Gaston Lagaffe, Tintin and Blake et Mortimer

The first author to be approached was André Franquin, who gave the Liège association a detonating plate of Gaston Lagaffe, taken from the album "Un gaffeur sachant gaffer", published by Dupuis in 1968. Hergé acquired two exceptional plates from the adventures of Tintin, taken from the historic album "On a marché sur la lune", published by Casterman in 1954... fifteen years before Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon.

Edgar Pierre Jacobs, on the other hand, first delivers a priceless plate from the album "The Yellow Mark", prepublished in 1953-54 in "Tintin": the one where, for the very first time, under Blake and Mortimer's astonished eyes, the evil Olrik affixes the M of the famous Yellow Mark to a wall, before escaping by boldly jumping through a window. Jacobs does not stop there, as he also gives away a second plate with a pure graphic design, taken from the second volume of the album "The Mystery of the Great Pyramid", published in "Tintin" between 1950 and 1952.   

Plates from "Tortillas for the Dalton" (Lucky Luke), "The Chinese on Two Wheels" (Gil Jourdan), "The Spell of Maltrochu" (Johan and Pirlouit), "The Etruscan Tomb" (Alix), Bernard Prince, Comanche, Jugurtha (by Hermann), Tif et Tondu (Will), Michel Vaillant (Jean Graton), "Silence" (by Didier Comès), Chlorophylle and Sibylline (by Macherot) or the historical René Giffey and Jacques Laudy also appear in the collection.

Exhibitions and references

This collection has already been shown in Liège on several occasions, in 1996, in 2011, as well as at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris, in 2015. A selection of these plates has also been proposed at La Boverie in 2019, as part of the exhibition "Liège. Masterpieces". Several of them are regularly displayed in the museum's Galerie noire. A reference book on the collection, "L'Age d'or de la bande dessinée belge", edited by Thierry Bellefroid, was published in 2015 by Les Impressions Nouvelles.

Since then, other authors have joined the collection: a plate of 'Jerry Spring' by Jijé, as well as plates by Jean-Claude Servais, the duo Warnauts and Raives, and Johan De Moor, four contemporary authors who, like Didier Comès, have published in the magazine "(A Suivre)" published by Casterman. These latest acquisitions were also presented during the exhibition "1975-1997, bande dessinée revolution: Métal Hurlant et (A Suivre)" held at La Boverie in spring 2017.

The classification of this exceptional heritage by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Minister of Culture is an important step in the history of comics in Belgium. It is an official recognition for all cartoonists and scriptwriters, past and present. Liège was a forerunner in this field and had already included comics in the Museum of Fine Arts. This additional recognition by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation is fully in keeping with the very essence of comics: not a minor art form or a simple form of entertainment intended primarily for children, but an artistic work in its own right, in the same way as other areas of the visual arts.

Alain Delaunois
Specific attaché
La Boverie – Musée des Beaux-Arts

Edgar Pierre Jacobs, Les Aventures de Blake et Mortimer. « La Marque jaune », planche originale n° 26 (1953-1954).
Copyright Editions Blake & Mortimer / Studio Jacobs (Dargaud-Lombard S.A.), 2020.
Avec leur aimable autorisation.

 

Edgar Pierre Jacobs, Les Aventures de Blake et Mortimer. « Le Mystère de la Grande Pyramide », tome 2, planche originale n° 28 (1950-1952).
Copyright Editions Blake & Mortimer / Studio Jacobs (Dargaud-Lombard S.A.), 2020.
Avec leur aimable autorisation.