Jun 082014

'Spirou & Spip' (ill. Al Séverin; (c) Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

When Spirou turned 75th, he got a whole anniversary Year of Spirou in his honor. Today (ahem!) is the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of both Spip and Fantasio, in the 8. June, 1939 issue of the Journal de Spirou. There hasn’t been much celebration of that, but perhaps a suitable scanlation is in order…

Both of them had rather modest debuts. Spip appears in the background of the last panel of that week’s installment of an ongoing story, while Fantasio is simply a signature on one of the magazine’s columns. It would be another four and a half years before he’d turn up in the comic itself, but in the mean time he was a character in the Spirou puppet theater Le Farfadet. (One of the publisher’s wartime initiatives to entertain children.) This puppet version, designed by André Moons, looked rather different from the character we’ve come to know:

Fantasio 'Le Farfadet' marionette (photo from Xavier Moon's collection, via 'La véritable histoire de Spirou 1937-1946' by CBPY)

‘Le Farfadet’ Fantasio marionette by André Moons

When Jijé introduced him as a character in the comic, he didn’t base it off the Fantasio puppet. So it makes you wonder: Are there two Fantasios? …

'Spirou & Spip' (ill. Al Séverin; (c) Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

‘Spirou & Spip’ by Al Séverin, from ‘Journal de Spirou’ #3934 (2013).

This one-pager takes place between the last Spirou strip by Rob-Vel (in the 2. September 1943 issue of the Journal, just before it was shut down by the Nazis) and “our” Fantasio’s introduction in Jijé’s first story after he took over, in the album L’Espiègle au grand cœur (“The Rascal with a Heart of Gold”) that same month. It’s from an imaginary issue of the Journal created by Al Séverin as a sort of promo for his book Spirou sous le manteau (“Spirou Under the Counter”), which ran as a supplement in the Journal de Spirou #3934.

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