Marsupilami by Batem
Marsupilami 20 - Viva Palombia!

The Belgian artist Batem can be considered the official heir of André Franquin. Since 1987, he draws the solo adventures of Franquin's famous long-tailed animal creation, the Marsupilami. Batem collaborated with several scriptwriters on the series, until beginning a steady collaboration with Stéphane Colman in 2006. Besides the Marsupilami, Batem has worked on several biker humor comics for Éditions Kraken, La Sirène and Hugo & Cie, most notably the 'Sam Speed' series.

Early life and career
He was born in 1960 as Luc Collin, in Kamina in the former Belgian Congo. During his secondary education, he enrolled at the Comics section of the Châtelet Academy of Fine Arts, was headed by the famous comic colorist Vittorio Leonardo. He continued his studies at the Saint-Luc Institute in Liège, where one of his teachers was caricaturist Jean-Yves Stanicel. Collin's first job was at SEPP, a subsidiary company of Éditions Dupuis, engaged with the licensing of comic characters, mostly from Spirou magazine. He cooperated on merchandising projects related to Jeff MacNelly American newspaper comic 'Shoe', the SEPP original series about the underwater creatures 'The Snorks' (created by Nic Broca), as well as André Franquin's 'Marsupilami'.

Marsupilami 4 by Batem
Marsupilami 4 - Le pollen du Monte Urticando

Marsupilami
Batem's work was noticed by André Franquin, who at the time was searching for new possibilities with his Marsupilami character. The leopard-spotted monkey-like animal with its extremely long tail, short-tempered nature and familiar "Houba! Houba!" call was created by Franquin in the 'Spirou et Fantasio' episode 'Spirou et les Héritiers' (1951). He remained a regular cast member until Franquin left Spirou magazine's title comic and handed it to Jean-Claude Fournier. As one of his most treasured creations, Franquin kept the rights to the Marsupilami to himself. However, from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, the animal only appeared in sporadic gags, as well as a handful of short stories situated in the animal's natural habitat, the Palombian jungle. Things changed in 1986, when Franquin sold his characters to Jean-François Moyersoen, an entrepeneur who subsequently founded the publishing house Marsu Productions. Moyersoen's first project was a full-blown comic book series based on Franquin's Marsupilami, with Franquin involved as creative consultant and co-scriptwriter. Instead of featuring the Marsupilami in urban adventures like in the 'Spirou et Fantasio' era, the setting of the new adventures became the Palombian jungle. Franquin had already treaded this territory in his groundbreaking 1957 'Spirou' episode 'Le Nid des Marsupilamis' ("The Nest of the Marsupilamis"). The new spin-off series focused on the Marsupilami family - a Marsupilami couple with three Marsupilami babies - and also brought back the scruffy hunter Bring M. Backalive and episodic characters from the 'Spirou' universe, such as the evil circus owner Zabaglione and animal trainer Noé.

Marsupilami 15 by Batem
Marsupilami 15 - C'est quoi ce cirque?!

The series took off in October 1987 with the debut album 'La Queue du Marsupilami' ("The Marsupilami's Tail"), and saw Franquin teaming up again with Michel Greg to write the stories. For the artwork, Franquin trained the young cartoonist Batem to get the feel of his characters. Franquin participated with the artwork of the first two albums, after which Batem continued on his own. From the third album, Yann took over from Greg as scriptwriter, while Franquin remained involved as a creative consultant and co-plotter. The final album with Franquin contributions was the ninth, 'Le Papillon des Cimes' (1994). Since then, the 'Marsupilami' comic book series has continued with Batem at the helm. The duo Xavier Fauche and Éric Adam wrote several albums, after which several writers were involved, including Jérémie Kaminka, Jean-Michel Bourcquardez, Vincent Dugomier and Batem himself. Since 2006, Batem has a steady writer in his studio partner Stéphane Colman.

Motards by Batem

Biker comics
In addition to 'Le Marsupilami', Batem has produced political caricatures for the Charleroi newspaper La Nouvelle Gazette, and he has been the artist for biker humor comics for Éditions Kraken and La Sirène. With writer Pierre-Yves Madeline, he developed such projects as 'Jack Sélère' (1995), 'Ça passe à donf' (2002), 'La Guide des Motards' (2003) and, most notably, 'Sam Speed' (2003). In 2010, Batem and Colman continued the latter at Hugo & Cie, aided for the artwork by Olivier Saive and Éric Maltaite.


Batem (Photo: Henrik Bernd)

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