COMIC STRIP – The revival of Gaston Lagaffe by another author than its late creator, “it’s something that […] revolt” Zep. This Thursday, April 7, the cartoonist behind Titeuf expressed his anger about this in an interview with the Figaro.
“For me, it’s as if Laurent Gerra was recording a new disc by Jacques Brel, he compared in the columns of the daily. However well imitated it is, it remains imitation. I find that the literary aspect of Franquin’s work is absent from the production process. If we don’t tolerate that in the music industry, I don’t understand how we can tolerate it in comics.
In March, the Dupuis editions announced the imminent arrival of a new volume of the anti-hero, after 30 years of absence, in the guise of the Canadian designer Marc Delafontaine (Delaf). Entitled The Return of Lagaffe, the album in the classic 48-page format is due out on October 19, 2022, with a major circulation: 1.2 million copies.
The news really did not please everyone. Isabelle Franquin, Franquin’s daughter, opposed it. Sole beneficiary of André Franquin (1924-1997), Isabelle Franquin believes that “moral rights are inalienable”. In a press release relayed by her lawyer, she affirms that her father “always expressed during his lifetime, continuously and repeatedly, his desire that Gaston not survive him under the pencil of another designer”.
A new Gaston Lagaffe? Zep declined
Zep shares this opinion. He finds that “the use of great characters from Franco-Belgian comics is a bad treatment that we inflict on comics. In fact, it’s the whole process that I consider humiliating for comics. For example, I find that the team which took over Asterix, Ferri and Conrad, is not unworthy. But hey, what they are doing is not the Asterix of Uderzo and Goscinny.”
He himself declined a project to take over, in 2017, Gaston Lagaffe. Dupuis editions had asked him for a so-called “signature” album, a sort of Gaston Lagaffe seen by Zep. “I didn’t feel it. I have too much respect and admiration for the genius of André Franquin”, he explained to the Figaro.
This isn’t the first such controversy surrounding the same comic book character. In the past, Isabelle Franquin had already faced the Marsu Productions group, publisher of comic strips inspired by Franquin’s universe, with in particular a character named “Gastoon” presented as Gaston’s nephew. While two volumes were still released in the greatest discretion, the dispute was concluded by an amicable settlement, without going through the courts.
This time, the heiress is asking for the “urgent and provisional suspension of all pre-publication, promotion and distribution of these illustrations and comic strips pending the decision of the referee”. A hearing is scheduled for “mid-May”.
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