Monday, April 23, 2007


For once I do actually recognise the artist of the strip below... it's the famous Andre Franquin.

Ah, how wrong can one be...! So close, yet so wrong. If you check the comments to this entry you'll find that George and Marc-André have managed to identify the original strip as 'Starter', originally a character created by Franquin to introduce various features on cars in Spirou . He, and his sidekick Pipette, also appeared in a number of comic strip stories. The particular story below is, I believe, a reprint of the story 'La bulle du silence' which appeared in issues 1433-1458 of Spirou in 1965.

The artist, however, is not Franquin but his long-time assistant Jidéhem (the pen-name of Belgian writer Jean De Mesmaeker). Jidéhem has a brief entry at Wikipedia and a slightly longer entry at Wikipedia Français. According to the BDoubliées site, the storyline for the above tale was penned by Vicq (the pen-name of Belgian writer Antoine Raymond).


  1. I always associate Franquin with 'Spirou' and 'Gaston', despite hardly having read anything he did.

    Looking around, this looks like it might be a strip I'd not previously heard of - 'Starter et Pipette'. They resemble the characters in Whacker, although it appears to be related to motoring, not something this example is heavy on.

  2. George,

    I think you're right. The character was called 'Starter' and he mostly appeared introducing various features on cars. However, there do seem to be a number of strips as well and I think this might just be a reprint of 'La bulle du silence' which appeared in issue 1433-1458 of Spirou in 1965.

    I've culled most of the above from two sites: and

    In the latter the strip mentioned above is credited to Jidehem, the pen-name of Belgian writer Jean De Mesmaeker.

    If I can figure a way of proving any of the above I'll update the main entry.

  3. Yes.
    It's STARTER (et Pipette)by Jidehem (who was a long time assistant of Franquin for "Gaston").


  4. Marc-André,

    Many thanks for confirming the strip title and artist. I will make some changes to the main section as some folks might not get as far as reading the comments.

  5. Actually these pages come from the story "La Maison d’en face" ("The House Opposite") which was published in issues 1297-1318 of Spirou magazine in 1963.

  6. Thanks for the update, which is much appreciated.

    If you have any knowledge of European humour strips, I wonder if you recognise Mild Bill Hiccup?



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