Jul 242015
 

Stéphane De Becker, also known as Stuf, died of a heart attack the night before last. He was 56. De Becker was a friend and frequent collaborator of Tome & Janry, and worked as the colorists on all their albums from Le réveil du Z (Spirou & Fantasio #37, “The Awakening of the Z”) on. He also drew the series Passe-moi l’ciel (“Pass Me the Heaven”), written by Janry.

Stéphane De Becker, ca. 1985 (from Spirou & Fantasio intégrale #14)

Stuf, ca. 1985.

De Becker met Tome & Janry at age 15, in the art school Woluwe Saint-Pierre. They become close friends, and worked together on caricatures and cartoons. While Tome & Janry went on to become assistants to Dupa (Cubitus), De Becker continued his art studies and drew comics in a realistic style. Janry commented that De Becker’s style was more “alternative” than theirs, influenced by L’Écho des Savanes and Métal hurlant.

In 1985, De Becker rejoined Tome & Janry, taking over the coloring of Spirou & Fantasio, which had previously been handled by Studio Leonardo. He would go on to color most of their other series, including Le Petit Spirou and Soda. He was the first member of their studio, which would later include Dan and Bruno Gazzotti. The team worked closely together for years, while listening to (and playing) music: Stuf particularly enjoyed blues. He said of this time:

It was very lively. One funny thing was that there were always a bunch of drawings pinned to the wall. As soon as one of us had a silly idea, it ended up as a sketch that we stuck up. I always felt like there was a bit of friendly competition between us. Someone would throw out an idea and everyone would play along. When you work side by side with others continuously, the collaboration becomes easy. You can resolve straight away the problems that crop up. I think that’s really what Tome & Janry were looking for: ongoing interaction. I even got to do one or two background pencils for Spirou & Fantasio when things were busy!

– from the Spirou & Fantasio intégrale vol. 16

De Becker’s harmonious painted colors and increased use of shading contributed a great deal to the visual style of Tome & Janry’s Spirou albums, with the lush tropical and jungle settings of Valley of the Exiles (Spirou & Fantasio #41) and Tough Luck Vito (Spirou & Fantasio #43) particularly memorable. (The latter was informed by paintings made during a research trip with Tome & Janry to Polynesia.)

'Tough Luck Vito' p1a (Spirou #43 'Vito la déveine'; ill. Tome & Janry, colors by Stéphane De Becker; 1991, 2015 (c) Dupuis, Cinebook and the artists)

Colors by Stuf for ‘Tough Luck Vito’ (1991).

In 1988 he also began drawing the game feature Les jeux d’enfer (“Hell of a Game”), where three riddles determined the fate of dead souls. Two years later, this evolved into the comic Passe-moi l’ciel (“Pass Me the Heaven”), which is still running in the Journal.

'Les jeux d'enfer' ("Hell of a Game"; ill. Stéphane De Becker aka Stuf, Jean Geurts aka Gurtz; JdS #2692; image from elouarnblade.blogspot.com; SR scanlation)

By Stuf and Janry (signing “Gurtz”; 1989). From the elouarnblade blog.

Gone much too soon, Stéphane De Becker will be missed. Our condolences to his family and those who knew him.

  10 Responses to “RIP Stéphane De Becker (1959–2015)”

  1.  

    The Right Stuf!

    Speaking of music, apparently, Janry co-founded a novelty band together with several of his colleagues including Dan, Bruno Gazzotti, Batem (Marsupilami), Midam (Kid Paddle) and Yvan Delporte (editor and scriptwriter); Boys’ Band(e) (dessinée).

    They seem to have performed at several comics festivals, with a regularly changing line-up. I don’t know if Stuf ever took part in those concerts, however, although he’s honored at their Facebook page.

    https://fr-fr.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10154135411667814&id=206513407813

  2.  

    “Stéphane Clatchpott” from the Jeux d’Enfer strip you’re sharing is a self-portrait.
    He’s been caricatured too as a regular character in Le Petit Spirou : he was monsieur Ponke, the thin teacher with a beard and a yellow suit.

    •  

      Obviously.

      I wonder if Clatchpott was the name used in the original French version, or if it’s translated…

      •  

        It’s “Clachpott” in French. I left it alone (apart from regularizing the spelling) because I couldn’t figure out what, if anything, it meant.

        It hadn’t occurred to me that he was also Ponke, but now that you mention it, Bob, the resemblance is obvious.

      •  

        It’s a bit difficult to figure if something is obvious or not when it’s not mentioned. For sure, it’s quite well-known among french-speaking Spirou readers – but what about the other, whom this blog is aimed to ?

        •  

          I think in this case the fact that St. Peter identifies “Clatchpott” (still curious about that name…) as the Spirou colorist is a bit of a giveaway. But you’re right, and some things that I assume are obvious probably aren’t to some readers, so it’s useful to have them pointed out.

          I also wanted to mention a nice interview with Stuf published in the Journal #3114 (in 1997) that’s been posted to InediSpirou: http://www.inedispirou.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2883#p67572

          He talks a bit about his career, how he came to be a colorist etc., and tells a charming story about the first comic he made when he was 12: he drew it in weekly installments for a neighbor boy whose parents wouldn’t let him buy any comic books.

          •  

            Considering that Stuf is Belgian, and De Beeker sounds Dutch, I wonder whether it isn’t a (semi-)Flemish word. The first part sounds like German Klatsch (splash/ smash) and I think the second part -pot means pot or jar in Dutch.

            And actually, I didn’t know about Ponke.

  3.  

    Hmmm, Klotspot = Sloshpot…

    Maybe not…

  4.  

    Just my guess, but “Clatchpott” is probably derived from the (now somewhat obsolete) Dutch / Flemish word “kletspot”, which would mean something like “nonsense”, i.e. “baloney” in US slang.
    In the Brussels flemish version, “kletspot” would be pronounced “clatchpott”. And yes, the word “klets” is related to the German “Klatsch”, meaning “gossip”. Still in use today in the expression “Kaffee klatsch” (informal conversation over a cup of coffee), or in Dutch “koffieklets”.

    But anyhow, his untimely death is sad news indeed.

    •  

      Okay, thanks for the info. I thought it meant something like a jar for mixing colors, a “blot pot” or something…

      Close but no cigar…

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