By Dominique CHABROL
Paris (AFP) – The cartoonist Marcel Gotlib, who died Sunday at the age of 82, has delighted generations of readers with his zany characters and his imagination wild, that have made him one of the authors, flagship of the european COMIC strip.
A fireworks display on paper ! More than a master, Gotlib has been the spiritual father of thousands of young people who have discovered with him the derision and the freedom to laugh at everything. But it is also a wounded man, by his family history, his childhood under the Occupation and the loss of friends that were lost too soon.
The little man gouailleur, discreet and warm, was drawing practically since the mid-1980s, tired of having too much given.
Before you turn out the crayons, he had spent more than 30 years of his life, ten hours a day at his drawing table to create their offspring of paper : Gai-Luron, the dog’s sad, Hamster Jovial, the scout rock’n’roll, Perverse, Cushy, dirty old man, or Superdupont, his super-hero light beret basque invented with Lob.
Gotlib has learned to laugh with the films of the Marx Brothers, his brothers-in humor and derision. A statue of Woody Allen sat in his office.
Marcel Gottlieb – his name will be anglicised later – was born on 14 July 1934 in Paris to a family of jewish origin in hungary. His father, Ervin, died in deportation to Buchenwald and the little Marcel spent the Occupation in hiding in a farm in normandy to escape the round-ups of anti-jewish. In the aftermath of the war, he wants to make of the cartoon, and takes the full force of the influence of american cartoonists such as Harvey Kurtzman and the team of the satirical magazine Mad.
It creates Gai-Luron in the weekly Valiant in 1962. And then joined the Pilot René Goscinny, where he started in 1968 his “Rubrique a brac”, the essential best-selling during recess.
– A single hero, himself -
In four years, he designed more than 500 boards full of bizarre animals and hilarious characters.
But with only one true hero : himself. Because Gotlib is the first writer of COMICS that the readers recognise in the street because it draws in the person in the boards. Preferably on a throne, with a crown of laurels. A trick to exorcise his shyness : “I am extremely complexed. I had the feeling of avenge me by making the con, showing me beautiful on my throne”.
This is the time of the bug, his character fetish as he draws in the corners.
from time To time, Gotlib offers “a board more seriously,” like these two pages on the famine in Biafra, which Goscinny would say : “I am proud to be the director of a newspaper in which there are two pages like this.”
Driver was soon too small for him. In 1972, he created The Echo of the savannahs, with Claire Bretécher and Nikita Mandryka. The magazine often considered in France as one that allowed the BD to pass to the adult age.
Three years later, he launched Fluide glacial. A monthly humor-minded libertarian who became one of the most important of its kind. In the United States, Robert Crumb is revolutionizing the comics. In France, Gotlib and his buddies fill blast the BD. In the genre of scat-fun.
The understated style of Gotlib goes to the essential, the delirium and provocation.
But the management of the newspaper him pump his energy, and it is little by little abandoning the drawing. In his house at Vesinet (Yvelines), the designer has long kept an eye on Fluide glacial and continued to tinker with scenarios. A drawing of Gotlib) in the journal from time to time was enough to boost sales.
In 2014, the Museum of art and history of judaism in Paris devoted a large retrospective for his 80th birthday. To greet “the artist, the jewish atheist and the outsider”, the taste of the gag and his mastery of the narrative.
In the form of a tribute, an amateur astronomer has even given its name to an asteroid (no. 184878). Marcel Gotlib, the asteroid, tragi-comic the COMIC.