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Comic Creator

Luc Lafnet

Davine, Viset, O. Lucas, Pol, Luc

(22 January 1899, Belgium - 29 September 1939, France)  France

Luc Lafnet

Bibor et Tribar by Luc Lafnet
Bibor et Tribar, mostly drawn by Luc Lafnet (6 October 1938)

Luc Lafnet was a Belgian painter and illustrator, and the regular assistant of his close friend Blanche Dumoulin and her husband Robert Velter on their comic strips. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in his birthcity Liège and was active as an etcher and painter of mainly religious scenes in the Montmartre area of Paris since 1923. He also made illustrations for books (by Simenon, among other writers) and children's magazines, for which he used a variety of pseudonyms, such as Lucan and Lafcat for his advertising work, Grim, Jim Black, Lucas O, Rich, Pol or Viset for his erotic work and Davine for his comics.

The latter, Davine, was a pen name that for many years was solely attributed to the illustration work of Blanche Dumoulin for the Dupuis magazines Bonnes Soirées, Le Moustique and Spirou, as well as the publisher's various book collections. It is unlikely that Dumoulin drew for European magazines during the first part of the 1930s, since she was a nanny in Sydney at the time. The artist behind the name Davine had created a variety of characters during this period, such as 'Ric et Rac', 'Guignol' and 'Pantagruel' for Fillette in 1934.

Zizette by Luc Lafnet
Les Aventures de Zizette, signed Davine

Blanche Dumoulin returned to Europe in 1937 and has acted as an agent for Lafnet from then on, while also doing the writing of his comics and perhaps sharing the Davine pen name on some of her own illustration work. It was however Lafnet's Davine who drew the comic strips 'Bizouk et Pélik' for Le Journal de Bébé in 1936-1938, 'Moustique Reporter' in Le Bon Point in 1937, and most likely also 'Les Aventures de Zizette' in Spirou in 1938-1939.

Lafnet also assisted Velter on the early 'Spirou' comics during 1938-1939, and did most of the artwork for Velter's 'Bibor et Tribar' strip. His contributions can be recognized through his use of caricatural and grotesque side-characters. In the books 'Spirou par Rob-Vel L'Intégrale 1938-1943' and 'La Véritable Histoire de Spirou: 1938-1946', that were published by Dupuis on the occasion of the magazine's 75th anniversary, the possibility was revealed that it was not Rob-Vel but Lafnet who drew the very first 'Spirou' page and that the featured painter was a self-portait. Since Velter himself was busy with his weekly 'Toto' and 'Subito' strips, as well as his translation work, it is well possible that he handed over this "commission" from Dupuis to an assistant. Or maybe Velter only drew the main character while Lafnet did the others?

Spirou by Luc Lafnet? Luc Lafnet
Was the painter from the very first Spirou page a self-portrait?

Luc Lafnet had to cancel his work on both strips in March 1939 because of illness. It was around the same period that the signature of Davine disappeared from the illustrated text stories that ran in Spirou at the time. Lafnet died in September of that same year. His pen name Davine lived on in the work of Blanche Dumoulin, who co-signed the 'Spirou' comic while her husband was mobilized in 1940.

Bizouk  et PĂ©lik by Davine
Bizouk et Pélik, signed Davine (10 March 1938)

Sources: Spirou par Rob-Vel L'Intégrale 1938-1943 (Dupuis, 2013) & La Véritable Histoire de Spirou 1937-1946 (Dupuis, 2013)
Last updated: 2014-05-06

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