Illustrator René Follet 80th birthday on 10th April 2011
Illustrator René Follet celebrates his 80th birthday on 10th April 2011
All images are owned by the respective copyrightholders and are presented here for review and critique, promotional, educational or entertainment purposes within the “fair use” terms. Illustrations: (c) René Follet, ‘Jean Valhardi’ is a character owned by (c) Éditions Dupuis
Belgian illustrator and comic artist René Follet will be celebrating his 80th birthday on the 10th of April 2011.
I will be posting several short comic stories by René Follet in the following weeks to celebrate the occasion. I found them in my personal archives and from various sources on the internet. These stories were published in comic magazines like ‘Spirou’ (and the Dutch equivalent ‘Robbedoes’), ‘Tintin’ (Kuifje) and the Dutch ‘Eppo’ magazine. The stories were never reprinted in books or albums (as far as I know of) and are very hard to find, so I take the liberty of posting them here.
Follet (Brussels, 1931) started his professional career at age 15. He met Hergé personally after World War II and started working for ‘Tintin magazine‘ and ‘Spirou magazine’ in 1949: mostly editorial illustration and some comic stories like the western ‘Rocky Bill’.
Over the years Follet drew several comics, collaborating with a variety of famous scriptwriters. He is well known for ‘Steven Severijn’ in Dutch Eppo magazine in the 70′s (written by director Paul Verhoeven‘s friend and scriptwriter Gerard Soeteman, Jacques Stocquart and Martin Lodewijk), ‘Zingari’ by Yvan Delporte, ‘Edmund Bell’ (by Jacques Stocquart and Martin Lodewijk), Ivan Zourine (by Jacques Stocquart) and the reincarnation of Jijé‘s and Eddy Paape‘s ‘Jean Valhardi’ in the mid 80′s (written by A.P. Duchateau). More recently Casterman France published the beautiful ‘Shelena’.
Follet is currently working on a new book for the French publisher Dupuis, ‘Le Pirate Intérieur’, a tale about the life of writer Robert Louis Stevenson (see first sketches below as published on the website of De Stripspeciaalzaak).
The reason Follet is not widely recognized is probably because his comic projects were never a commercial succes. But industry insiders, artists, editors and comic lovers agree René Follet is one of the best Belgian/French post-World War II illustrators: his skills, technique and personal style are unique. His work, spanning more than 60 years, has always been of impressive high quality.
A wonderful book about Follet has been written by Belgian author Jozef Peeters (‘René Follet : Un rêveur sédentaire’) which I highly recommend. It’s available at Amazon France and packed with wellresearched editorial content, beautifully detailed illustrations and an excellent bibliography. The Dutch magazine Stripschrift published a special on René Follet in 2007, written by Rob van der Nol (still available at the website).
For the moment a brief gallery: click for larger versions.