Poustiquet, by Bindle

Bindle was a French cartoonist, whose creation 'Poustiquet' was a well-known and popular feature in the regional newspaper Paris Normandie between 1949 and 1974.

Early life
Not much information is available about the cartoonist's early years. His real name was Roland Vagnier, although some older sources erroneously call him "Robert Vagnier". Born in 1918, Vagnier studied Architecture, but his education was cut short due to the outbreak of World War II. Until the Liberation (1944), he earned a living by working as an illustrator for the Parisian press instead. He picked the pen name Bindle, based on his high school nickname.

Paris Normandie
In 1947, he began his long association with Paris Normandie, a regional newspaper distributed mainly in Upper Normandy. As a member of the paper's art department, Vagnier and the other artists drew and designed titles, banners, illustrations for news items and serials and portraits of sportsmen, actors or politicians. In an interview published in the newspaper on 10 February 2011, Vagnier fondly remembered working under publisher Pierre-René Wolf. Since the pay was low, Wolf allowed his staff to moonlight for other clients, making art for advertisements, catalogs, and packaging.


'Poustiquet'.

Poustiquet
In 1949, the publisher asked Vagnier to create a comic strip character for the paper. He suggested the name "Maître Pamphile", but the cartoonist had another idea. At the time, he made his sparkling water with a powder called "Lithinés du Docteur Gustin". His son called the stuff "Poustiquet", which became the name of Bindle's new character. The good natured bald-headed gentleman with his moustache made his debut on 16 October 1949. For over 25 years, Poustiquet and his voluptuous wife Hortense graced the paper's pages in over 7,000 pantomime gag strips, varying from 2 to 4 panels.


'Lily Sprint'.

Lily Sprint
An avid sportsman and fond of motorcycles himself, Bindle created another comic strip, starring the pretty sportswoman 'Lily Sprint'. It appeared in the paper's Sunday sports supplement in 1957-1958, but lasted only 30 strips.

Success
Becoming increasingly popular with the readers, 'Poustiquet' quickly became the paper's mascot. Poustiquet and Hortense animated Paris Normandie's annual readers poll/contest 'Pour où Contre?' ("For or Against?"), appeared on bookstore displays and candy boxes and were also turned into figurines. The Opera Mundi agency picked up the feature and syndicated it to other newspapers throughout France, but also in Brazil, Israel and Quebec. Between 4 November 1954 and 18 July 1956, Poustiquet appeared in his own weekly magazine, Jocko et Poustiquet, sharing the title with Robert Moreau's 'Jocko'. Despite being named after French humor comics, the magazine's lay-out was strongly inspired by the British Eagle magazine. Other contributing artists were Guy Sabran, Roger Bussemey, Guy Mouminoux, Erik and Mat.


'Poustiquet'.

Retirement and death
By the mid-1970s, publisher Wolf left the paper, leaving the daily business to his son, who "didn't care for Poustiquet", as the cartoonist remembered in 2011. Roland Vagnier retired and left Paris Normandie in 1974. Reprints ran in the paper until the following year. 45 years later, 'Poustiquet' was far from forgotten, and an overview exposition was organized in Sotteville-lès-Rouen in 2011. The veteran cartoonist passed away on 23 October 2014 in his hometown Rouen, at the age of 95.

Series and books by Bindle in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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