For 60 years André Franquin’s anti-hero Gaston Lagaffe has been entertaining generation after generation and yet he hasn’t aged a bit! Brussels has decided to honour this mythical figure during the Brussels Comic Strip Festival.
It was on 28 February 1957, at the bottom of page 5 of Spirou magazine no 985 that Gaston Lagaffe made his first appearance. It was in a simple drawing, black and white and measuring 5 x 10 cm, that we first met this hero of a new genre. When Franquin first introduced Gaston he appeared here and there on the fringes of the Spirou magazine, but as the weeks passed and his popularity grew, the famous Brussels author decided to make him a full-time member of the editorial team.
Five weeks later, in Spirou 990, Spirou and Gaston struck up a conversation. We learn that Gaston has come to the magazine to work on something but he can’t quite remember what it is exactly. Gaston’s first gaffe takes place in Spirou 991. He inadvertently knocks over some ink, which covers the pages. The gaffe would be the first in a long line.
Who is Gaston?
Gaston is a serial blunderer and a great believer in putting in minimal effort. A keen handyman, he has also created many inventions which always seem to go wrong, to the dismay of his employer. The Gaston Lagaffe series is one of André Franquin’s most emblematic. In his drawings the author was able to approach serious issues such as pollution or the economic crisis with humour and sensitivity. The albums also experienced great popularity in other European countries and indeed other languages. They have been translated in close to 25 different languages and dialects, making Gaston a global character.
Gaston Lagaffe and the Brussels Comic Strip Festival
It is therefore time for Brussels to celebrate everybody’s favourite absent-minded oddball. He will be the mascot for the 8th edition of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, which takes place from 1 to 3 September 2017. He will be honoured through various activities: a giant Gaston balloon unveiled during the Balloon Parade, several conferences and an exhibition. It’s an unmissable event for comic book lovers.