Alain Cardan - Ici Venus (Spirou, 1958)
Gérald Forton is an artist of realistic comics, that were published in most of the important French and Belgian comic magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Spirou, Tintin and Vaillant. He had a second career as a comic book and storyboard artist for the US market in the 1980s and 1990s. His grandfather was Louis Forton, a French comics pioneer of the early 20th century and the creator of the 'Les Pieds Nickelés'.
Born in Brussels, Gérald Forton studied Fine Arts in Paris and began his professional career in 1950 with drawing short stories for Caméra 34. He then drew 'Jim Cartouche' from a script by Alex Risène for Éditions Ray-Flo in 1951 and also worked for Zorro Magazine. He illustrated short stories like 'Lucile Desmoulins' and 'Passion en Plein Ciel' for Bonnes Soirées, a magazine published by Éditions Dupuis.
In 1952, he began his collaboration with Dupuis' children's magazine Spirou, where he started out by drawing dozens of installments in the series 'Les Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul'. His best known creation for the magazine is however 'Kim Devil', an adventure serial he drew from scripts by Jean-Michel Charlier between 1953 and 1956. These stories were subsequently collected in four albums by Dupuis.
In 1955 and 1956, Forton was also present the shortlived title Risque-Tout, that was published by Dupuis. He contributed 'Le Garage Bleu', short stories with 'Kim Devil' and the series 'Alain Cardan'. The latter was scripted by Yvan Delporte and continued in Spirou after the demise of Risque-Tout between 1957 and 1959. Forton continued to work for Spirou throughout the 1960s with stories written by J. J. Marine, such as 'Capitaine Morgan', and 'Ciryl Sinclair', as well as short stories starring 'Guy Pingaut'. Forton is often credited with the artwork of 'Roch Rafale', but this series was in fact drawn by his then-wife Yolande Canale.
In addition to Spirou, Forton was present in the French communist comics magazine Vaillant. He took over 'Jacques Flash' from Pierre Leguen from 1959 to 1960 and then succeeded Francisco Hidalgo on the western series 'Teddy Ted', which he drew from scripts by Roger Lécureux between 1964 and 1975. His final work for the magazine, by then called Pif Gadget, were short stories in the series 'Mystères de l'Ouest', written by Jean Sanitas in 1975.
He succeeded Victor Hubinon as the artist of 'Tiger Joe' in La Libre Junior in 1959 and began a collaboration with Tintin magazine in 1961. He created short stories starring characters like 'Ben Barry' (1961), 'Grégory le Marin' (1962) and 'Calamity Jane' (1977), as well as the humorous series 'Des chevaux et des hommes' (1978).
Forton took over the artwork of 'Bob Morane' from Dino Attanasio in 1962, and continued the series based on stories by Henri Vernes in Femmes d'Aujourd'hui, Pilote and the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws until 1967. From 1972 to 1974, he worked with Sirius on 'Pemberton', a series published in Pilote. In 1976 he made 'Yvain de Kanheric' with scripts by Maric in Trio-Pieds Nickelés Magazine, a magazine named after the characters created by his grandfather. Forton also provided artwork for three books in the Larousse collection 'L'Histoire de France en Bandes Dessinées', and for 'Rodric et les Cathares', a comic written by his wife Yo Canale for La Dépêche du Midi in 1977.
Teddy Ted (Pif Gadget #7, 7/4/1969)
Forton was a regular artist for Télé-Junior from 1977 to 1982. He continued his series 'Mystères de l'Ouest', that was previously published in Pif Gadget, and drew stories starring Marvel comic book characters like 'Spider-Man', 'Thor', 'The Incredible Hulk', 'Fantastic Four' and 'Submariner'. He also made comics based based on the TV series 'Thierry la Fronde' and 'Battlestar Galactica'. Other creations from this period are 'Slim Jacket' for Tac (1979) and two books about 'Aymeric' written by Michel Roquebert and published by Éditions Loubatières in Toulouse in 1978 and 1981.
Gérald Forton emigrated to the USA in the early 1980s. There, he worked for comic book companies like DC and First Comics on titles like 'Jonah Hex', 'Arak, Son of Thunder', 'Jon Sable' and 'Nexus' throughout the 1980s. He was also an inker for comic books published by Eclipse. For McNaught Syndicate, he penciled the newspaper strip based on the TV cartoon 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' from scripts by James Shull and later Chris Weber in 1986 and 1987.
Masters of the Universe
In the States, Forton has been primarily working on storyboards for movies and TV commercials. He worked with Stan Lee as a storyboard artist on the 'Prince Valiant' TV series and was a character and background designer on classic 80s cartoon series like 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe', 'Bravestar', 'Captain Planet and the Planeteers', 'The Real Ghost Busters', 'James Bond Jr.', 'G.I. Joe: Operation Dragonfire', 'C.O.P.S.' and 'She-Ra: Princess of Power'.
By 1994 he provided artwork for new 'Bob Morane' stories, that were published by Editions Claude Lefrancq. TWo years later he also started a new western comics project with Raymond Maric, called 'Le Cougar', but this remained unpublished until 2005. While still residing in California, he returned to the franco-belgian comics market in the 2003 with the series 'Galton & Trumbo', that was written by Jean-Marc Lainé for the Semic pocket book Mustang.
Publishers like Ananké, Hibou, Loup, Éditions du Taupinambour, La Vache Qui Médite and Pan Pan have issued book collections of Forton's 1950s and 1960s comics output, for which the artist often provided new cover artwork. He also worked on new projects like the detective comics 'Tom Drake' and 'Dan Geronimo' with writer Rémy Gallart, that were published in the Loup collection Borsalino between 2004 and 2006. Plans have been made for new 'Kim Devil' and 'Teddy Ted' stories in cooperation with Alain de Kuyssche and Rémy Gallart, but these have remained unpublished until now (2011).
Besides artwork for comics and animation, Gérald Forton is also known for his pen and ink drawings and watercolor paintings about the American Far West.