”I will be honest with you”explained to us at the opening, with a sparkling eye, the designer Olivier Rameau, “creating a Spirou is an unimaginable dream to live. Franquin, when he was entrusted with Spirou by Jijé in 1946, I was very little, but it was this Spirou who made me want to do this job. When, much later, Sergio Honorez asked me why I wouldn’t do a ‘Spirou seen by’, I was initially surprised, even panicked, before accepting. A few days later, he called me back to ask if I was interested in collaborating with Yann who had already done two fantastic ones, with Schwartz and with Tarrin”.
The adventure will be long before the project takes shape. “I was still sure The Warriors of Troy at the time. I had two albums on the go, not to mention that there was sometimes turbulence with Yann. But once we agree, we have fun, we surprise each other, we please each other. Dupuis gave us carte blanche and we opted for an album of 86 plates, a two-in-one album.”
A first short story in 2013
Until February 2, fifty are to be discovered, in large format, embellished with a few older plates, already featuring the hero imagined by Rob-Vel in 1938 and published in 2013 for a mini-story. “2013… That’s how long it took”, smiled Dany. “For The Blue Gorgon, I didn’t want to graphically create a character different from the original Spirou. Of course, I dressed him differently, he doesn’t have the proportions of Franquin’s character at all, but he is immediately identifiable. But there are also young women as I usually draw them. So I followed advice that Franquin had given me, not without a hint of mischief: ‘Whatever way you caricature the characters, girls or boys, be careful that it fits together’ . So I had to treat the proportions of the characters in the series based on the proportions of the young women I drew.”
Although he never worked with Franquin, Dany received a lot of advice from him, “often after a good meal.” “If André had a lot of friendship for me, I on the other hand kept the distance that one can have with an absolute idol. Of course, we spoke to each other informally – it was only with Greg that we spoke to each other – because every Friday, for ten years, we played billiards with Franquin, Tibet, Hermann, De Groot… Above all, we laughed.”
Good comrade, Dany appreciated all of Franquin’s successors. “There is always something to be gained from it either through drawing or through humor. Schwartz’s Spirou is fabulous, but I, being lazy and not enjoying research into historical documentation, preferred to place my adventure in the present, in Brussels in particular.”
Dany created a Spirou that respects the characters of Spirou and Fantasio, even if the latter can sometimes be grumpy. We leave Dany to find Jean Van Hamme who has just entered the gallery. We owe these two old accomplices a double masterpiece: Story without heroes And Twenty years later.
→ Until February 2, rue Ernest Allard 27, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, until 6 p.m. https://www.galeriechampaka.com/