The Belgian artist Batem can be considered the true heir of Franquin, as he is the artist of the solo adventures of the master's most famous creation, the long-tailed Marsupilami. He was born as Luc Collin in Kamina in the former Belgian Congo. During his secondary education, he enrolled at the Comics section of the Academy of Fine Arts in Châtelet, which was headed by legendary colorist Vittorio Leonardo. He subsequently studied at the Saint-Luc Institute in Liège, where one of his teachers was caricaturist Jean-Yves Stanicel, and got his first job at SEPP. This was a subsidiary company of Éditions Dupuis, engaged with the licensing of comic characters, mostly from Spirou magazine. He cooperated on merchandising projects involving 'Shoe', based on the US newspaper comic by Jeff MacNelly, SEPP's own series about the underwater creatures 'The Snorks' and André Franquin's 'Marsupilami'.
His work was noticed by André Franquin, who at the time was searching for new possibilities with his Marsupilami character. Franquin had kept the rights to this remarkable animal for himself after giving up 'Spirou et Fantasio' in the late 1960s, but despite a few gags and short stories, no new projects were started for twenty years. Until 1987, when Franquin and Jean-François Moyersoen launched Marsu Productions, and gave the character a comic book series of its own. The new stories were based on the animal's life in the Palombian jungle, as Franquin had depicted in his 1960 'Spirou' album 'Le Nid des Marsupilamis'. Other characters returned in the initial set-up, such as the female Marsupilami, the baby Marsupilamis and the hunter Bring M. Backalive.
Batem was hired as the artist, at first carefully guided by Franquin. The first album, 'La queue du Marsupilami' ('The tale of the Marsupilami'), was released in 1987, and Batem eventually gained more autonomy in his artwork. The scriptwriter of the first two albums was Greg, who was then succeeded by Yann (albums 3 to 9). The duo Xavier Fauche and Éric Adam wrote several albums, after which several authors were involved, including Jérémie Kaminka, Jean-Michel Bourcquardez, Vincent Dugomier and Batem himself. Since 2006, Batem has found a steady writer in his studio partner Stéphane Colman.
In addition to 'Le Marsupilami', Batem has produced political caricatures for the Charleroi newspaper La Nouvelle Gazette, and he has been the artist for several biker's 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). Batem and Colman continued the latter at Hugo & Cie in 2010, aided for the artwork by Olivier Saive and Éric Maltaite.