Cauvin by Walthery
Front cover of the book 'Dossier Cauvin', illustrated by François Walthéry. Above Cauvin's head one can recognize from left to right (first row): Cédric (Laudec), Les Tuniques Bleues (Lambil) and Pierre Tombal (Marc Hardy). In the second row we see the beak of one of the vultures from 'Les Voraces' (Glem), a nurse from 'Les Femmes en Blanc' (Philippe Bercovici), Sammy & Jack Attaway (Berck), L'Agent 212 (Daniel Kox) and Pauvre Lampil (Lambil). 

Raoul Cauvin is one of Europe's most successful and productive scriptwriters of humorous comics, and one of the pillars of Spirou magazine and the publishing house Dupuis since the 1960s. Among his best-known works are historical adventure series like 'Les Tuniques Bleues' (1968) and 'Sammy' (1970-2009), as well as many humorous gag and short story features like 'L'Agent 212' (1975), 'Les Femmes en Blanc' (1981), 'Pierre Tombal' (1983) and 'Cédric' (1986). Cauvin's success can be attributed to the fact that he is capable of writing both funny situation comedy as well as captivating emotional narratives. While most of his work is child-oriented and light-hearted, certain series also deal with morbid themes and gallows humour. Something can be said for the fact that Cauvin basically helped Spirou move along with the changing public taste from the late 1960s on. It's one of the reasons why the magazine still remains a bestseller today and why Cauvin is regarded as a living legend. While the man is predominantly a comic writer he also drew one obscure comic strip personally: 'Zotico' (1981).

Early life
He was born in 1938 in Antoing, a town in the Hainaut province of Wallonia. His mother was a tailor of trousers, and his father was employed in the offices of Antoing's water power factory. He grew up in a Catholic environment reading comic magazines like Pat, Bravo!, Tintin, Spirou and Héroïc Albums. In 1953 Cauvin enrolled at the faculty of Decorative Arts of the Saint-Luc Art Institute in Tournai. He specialized in advertising lithography, but after graduation he found out that this profession was no longer in practice since many years!

Cauvin and Salvé in photocomic
Raoul Cauvin starring in a photocomic with Salvé (Spirou #1776, 1972).

Cauvin had his first job in a factory in Callenelle, where he painted saint's figures, crucifixes and other holy objects. Then, after fulfilling his military service, he found employment at the publishing house Dupuis on 15 May 1960. He initially worked in the publisher's art studio under the guidance of Maurice Rosy and alongside artists like Salvé, Jamic and Arthur Piroton. He was assigned to draw crossword puzzles, and to do the lettering of Robbedoes, the Dutch edition of the publisher's magazine Spirou. By 1961 he became a cameraman with TVA Dupuis, the audiovisual department of the publishing house, headed by Eddy Ryssack.

Ray Goossens
He remained with the studio in the centre of Brussels throughout the decade. Cauvin participated with animation projects starring Ray Goossens' characters 'Musti' (1968) and 'Tip en Tap' (1969), Peyo's 'Les Schtroumpfs' ('The Smurfs') and Millard Kaufman, John Hubley and Willis Pyle's cartoon character 'Mr. Magoo'. He also created more experimental films like Eddy Ryssack's 'Teeth is Money' (1962) and 'Le Crocodile Majuscule' (1965). He left TVA Dupuis in 1971, because he couldn't get along with Ryssack's successor Ray Goossens. He inherited the studio's Rank Xerox copier and set up his own photo lab in the Dupuis offices at the Rue de Livorne in Brussels. Here he helped out visiting artists with taking photocopies, something that was referenced in a 'Gaston' gag by Franquin, where Cauvin and his Xerox machine are depicted. At the same time he also started building out his large comics oeuvre.

Cauvin featured in Gaston
Raoul Cauvin featured in Franquin's 'Gaston' strip. From the album 'Gaffes, Bévues et Boulettes'. 

Spirou magazine
Cauvin wrote his first comic scripts for Spirou in 1963-1964; the first being two mini-books in cooperation with Ryssack, Degotte and Matagne under the joint pen name Desquatre. His other early works were also largely done in cooperation with his studio colleagues. With Ryssack, he made the gag strip about the fleas 'Arthur et Léopold' in 1968-1969. He created the two crooks 'Loryfiand et Chifmol' with Serge Gennaux in 1967-1969, while he also wrote the bulk of Gennaux's meta-humor comic 'L'Homme aux Phylactères' ("The man with the speech balloons") from 1965 throughout the 1980s, although he remained uncredited until 1984. With the young Claire Brétécher, he also created 'Les Naufragés' (1968-1971), a gag strip about a group of castaways on the open sea.

Les Naufragés by Cauvin and BretecherMirliton by Macherot and Cauvin

Cauvin's oeuvre expanded after the departure of editor-in-chief Yvan Delporte in 1968, and took a flight when Thierry Martens succeeded Delporte in July 1969. Cauvin delivered plot ideas for André Franquin's 'Gaston', Jean Roba's 'Boule et Bill' and Peyo's 'Les Schtroumpfs' ('The Smurfs'). He additionally aided Monique and Carlos Roque with their gag strip about the duck 'Wladymir'. He also got the opportunity to work with Raymond Macherot, with whom he created short stories starring the housecat 'Mirliton' between 1970 and 1975 (in 2007 Cauvin participated in a relaunch of the series by Éditions Flouzemaker, with new episodes drawn by Erwin Drèze). While still with TVA Dupuis, Cauvin wrote one-page stories starring Ray Goossens' character 'Musti' for the Dupuis women's weekly Bonne Soirée between 1970 and 1972, with art by either Jacques Van Driessche or Robert Lebersorg.

Les Tuniques Bleues by Cauvin and SalveriusLes Tuniques Bleues by Lambil and Cauvin

Les Tuniques Bleues
His biggest break came with the creation of 'Les Tuniques Bleues' (1968), a comic series set in the Wild West, which filled the void left behind after Morris departed from Spirou with his series 'Lucky Luke'. The comic debuted with a couple of gags and short stories in 1968, and initially settled around a group of cavalrymen and their dealings with a tribe of Indians. Drawn by Louis Salvérius, the series gained popularity when the setting was changed to the American Civil War, and the main characters were restricted to corporal Blutch and sergeant Chesterfield. During the creation of the fourth long story, Salvérius passed away prematurely, and Cauvin has continued this well-documented series with Willy Lambil from 1972 until the present day. 'Les Tuniques Bleues' is Cauvin's longest-running and bestselling series and therefore arguably his most famous work among the general public. Dupuis has collected the series in book format since 1970. Cauvin would script the series for a staggering 50 years, only announcing his retirement in 2019. 

Sammy by Berck and CauvinSammy by Cauvin and Jean-Pol

Another early hit series was the action-filled comic about the bodyguards Sammy Day and Jack Attaway, that was set during the American Prohibition years. Cauvin made 31 albums starring the characters with Flemish artist Berck between 1970 and 1994, and then another nine with Jean-Pol until 2009. At the time, both 'Les Tuniques Bleues' and 'Sammy' marked a notable shift in Spirou's overall tone. Cauvin understood that times were changing and that children were a bit more used to seeing death and violence on day-time TV. In order to keep up with new generations he didn't shy away from writing actual bloodshed and violence into these two series' narratives. Characters not only got wounded, but sometimes died too. This concerned both Dupuis' editors and the censors, but criticism faded away when both series became bestsellers. As such Cauvin paved the way for more mature and less childish content in Spirou's pages, including his own more macabre comedy in later series.

Les Mousquetaires by Mazel and CauvinGodaille et Godasse by Sandron and Cauvin

L'Agent 212 and other 1970s creations
The author delved into other periods of history, such as the days of the musketeers, with 'Câline et Calebasse' drawn by Mazel (1969-1976), and the Napoleonic era with 'Godaille et Godasse', drawn by Jacques Sandron (1975-1986). Cauvin and Mazel continued their collaboration with 'Boulouloum et Guiliguili', a jungle serial about a mini-Tarzan and his gorilla. Debuting in 1975, the comic took a more mature tone in 1983, when the main characters were renamed to Kaloum and Kong and the series was retitled to 'Les Jungles Perdues'. Dupuis published ten books until 1987. 1975 also marked the beginning of Cauvin's long collaboration with Daniel Kox and the creation of the chubby police officer 'L'Agent 212', Cauvin's longest running gag strip and his second-longest series overall, after 'Les Tuniques Bleues'.

Agent 212 by Raoul Cauvin and Daniel KoxBoulouloum y Guiliguili by Mazel and Cauvin

Raoul Cauvin was also called in for help whenever a young artist applied for a spot in Spirou. He wrote short stories for Marc Wasterlain, Hislaire, Brouyère and Zygmunt, and created the comical space opera 'Les Naufragés de l'Espace' (1973-1978) for newcomer Guy Counhaye, as well as gags with the little chicken 'Christobald' for Antoinette Collin in 1975-1976. In 1976 Cauvin introduced 14-year old Philippe Bercovici to the pages of Spirou, and created 'Les Grandes Amours Contrariées' (1979-1981) with him, a parody of classic love stories. 

Pauvre Lampil by Lambil and Cauvin
Cauvin with Berck, Lampil and Fournier, from: Pauvre Lampil (artwork by Lambil).

Pauvre Lampil 
The 'Carte Blanche' section of Spirou contained the debut of 'Pauvre Lampil' (1974-1994), an "autobiofiction" series about the dramatic relationship between a comic artist and his scriptwriter. The title character, Lampil, was unsubtly just the series' artist himself, Willy Lambil, while his scenarist was easily recognizable as Cauvin. The series poked fun at the comics industry and showed that both creators had a gift for self-mockery. Cameos of other artists and writers weren't uncommon either. The irregular appearing series ended in 1994, though made some occasional reappearances in the 2000s. While many readers assume the comic strip was basically fiction, later interviews by Lambil revealed that it sometimes expressed his and Cauvin's frustrations about their profession and even their own creative collaboration.

Le Vieux Bleu
Around the same time Cauvin also created 'Le Vieux Bleu' (1974-1979) with François Walthéry. This nostalgic comic series was inspired by Walthéry's great-grandfather, who was a pigeon fancier. Cauvin and Walthéry collaborated again in 1988, when Cauvin provided the script for the 'Natacha' episode 'Les Nomades du Ciel'.

Le Vieu Bleu by Walthery and CauvinSnorky by Cauvin and Oneta

Spirou et Fantasio 
Together with Nic Broca, Cauvin formed one of the two teams which succeeded Jean-Claude Fournier on the 'Spirou et Fantasio' comic. Cauvin and Broca made three long stories with Spirou's title character between 1981 and 1982, until Tome and Janry got full reign over the series. Broca and Cauvin's tenure on the series has been much criticized for its rather mediocre stories and lack of many of the franchise's popular settings and characters. Since Broca was particularly troubled by the comments of particularly his peers, Cauvin later defended him stating that the publisher didn't allow them to use these characters, and that they had to start from scratch.

Les Snorky
Cauvin also cooperated with the Dupuis commercial division S.E.P.P. on 'Les Snorky' ('The Snorks'). The strange underwater creatures were created by Nic Broca in 1981 and spawned a highly popular animated TV series between 1984 and 1989. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera, who also made the TV cartoon series based on Peyo's 'The Smurfs' in 1981. Cauvin made one comic book with Broca, and then provided the scripts for a series of stories published in the Italian magazine Il Giornalino with art by Franco Oneta and published in book format by Dupuis in 1986 and 1987. He was otherwise uninvolved with the TV series itself.

Femmes en Blanc by Bercovici and CauvinPierre Tombal by Hardy and Cauvin

Comics in the 1980s and 1990s
The 1980s marked the beginning of a new genre in Cauvin's oeuvre; semi-controversial comic series with black and more cynical humor. The first was 'Les Femmes en Blanc' (1981), in which the medical world is mocked, drawn by Philippe Bercovici. 'Pierre Tombal' (1983), a gag series with Marc Hardy, was even more morbid as it revolves around a gravedigger and his "customers". With Glem, he regularly made gags starring a group of hungry vultures, called 'Les Voraces' (1986-1993). By 1992, Cauvin and Bédu added 'Les Psy' (1992-2019) to their resumés, a series about a psychiatrist and his patients.

Les Psy by Bedu and CauvinCupidon by Malik and Cauvin

Other new creations had a milder theme, such as the gag series about the little cherub 'Cupidon' (1988-2011), created with Malik for which Cauvin wrote the scripts until 2011. The antics of the little schoolboy 'Cédric' (1986) and his friends and family (drawn by Laudec) became another highlight, and was even adapted into an animated TV series between 2001 and 2002. Cauvin and Laudec also created 'Taxi Girl' from 1992 until 1998. Cauvin renewed his association with Mazel to create 'Les Paparazzi' (1993-2004), a parody on the society press.

Cedric by Laudec and CauvinLes Paparazzi by Mazel and Cauvin

Comics in the 2000s and 2010s
One of Cauvin's final new creations for Spirou was 'Coup a foudre' (2008-2010), a series about a transgender bull, of which three long stories were drawn by David Deth. Also in 2008, Cauvin and Bercovici participated in a new series of mini-books containing a 'Femmes en Blanc' spin-off, and created a series of gags about sports collected in the book 'Ce qu'il faut savoir avant de pratiquer des sports de competition' (2012).

Coup de foudre by Dethuin and CauvinSports de Competition by Bercovici and Cauvin

Work for Robbedoes
Additionally, Cauvin also wrote comic series which were published exclusively in Spirou's Flemish counterpart Robbedoes. On demand of Flemish editors Jos Wauters and Erwin Cavens, Cauvin wrote and drew(!) 'Zotico' (1981). This gag comic starred Cauvin himself and his pet garden spider. It remains the only comic strip in his entire oeuvre that he drew by himself. The only other time Cauvin tried his hand at drawing was in 2003 when he made a graphic tribute to Marc Sleen during the Stripgidsdagen in Turnhout. He drew a character holding a birthday cake and apologized in handwriting: "I'm sorry for the drawing, but I'm just a scriptwriter (as they say)". Next to his drawing Cauvin wrote: "Did you know that I owe it a bit to you that I entered this profession? With big thanks to you, mister Marc Sleen." 

When Robbedoes got its own section with original Dutch and Flemish material in 1983, Cauvin participated with some short stories in cooperation with Louis-Michel Carpentier, 'Circus Maximus' episodes with Hec Leemans and the funny Olympics 'De Lolympische Spelen' with Caryl Strzlecki.

Zotico, by Cauvin

Writing style
Raoul Cauvin has an easily recognizable writing style. He knows how to surprise readers by building up suspense until the final punchline is revealed. The man is a master in playing off characters' conflicting personalities against one another. Cauvin often treats violence and death in a comedic fashion, but has also used it to dramatic effect in his longer adventure stories. The creative centipede attributed his talent to his interest in various topics. He often gets his ideas from paging through magazines or just switching through TV channels. He then conceives his plots in his mind while lying down on his sofa, after which he creates a fully sketched (and colored!) script. The man loves horror and therefore not only enjoys movies in this genre, but also the works of novelist Stephen King.

Work for other publishers
Raoul Cauvin has remained loyal to Spirou and Dupuis throughout his career, with only a few excursions to other publishers. Way back in 1969 and 1970 Cauvin had made 'Luc de Tarente', 'Alerte aux Iroquois' and the western 'Prime pour une Couronne' with Robert Lebersorg for the newspaper supplement Le Soir Jeunesse. They worked together once again on 'Fontenoy', a story about the Austrian Succession, which was published by Archers in 1987. These collaborations with Lebersorg are in fact the only realistic comic stories in Cauvin's oeuvre.

Fontenoy by Cauvin and LebersorgLes Toyottes by Carpentier and Cauvin

His first collaboration with Louis-Michel Carpentier was a post-apocalyptic tale about rats, called 'Les Toyottes'. The first story was serialized in the ecological comic magazine Pistil in 1978 and 1979 and the series was subsequently published in five books by Casterman from 1980 until 1982, with a final book released by Éditions du Lombard in 1989. Cauvin and Carpentier then made a short-lived toyline tie-in comic called 'De Biepjes', and began an association with the educational publisher Artis-Historia and its magazine Artiscope in 1985. Their best-known collaboration is however the series about the pub owner Poje, initially called 'L'Année de la Bière' and published by Archers in 1986 and 1987. The series also knew a couple of successful editions in local dialects, and was eventually published under the title 'Du Côté de Chez Poje' by Dupuis between 1990 and 2009.

Poje by Carpentier and CauvinLowietje by Berck and Cauvin

Other non-Dupuis exploits include many anonymous scripts for productions by Berck, such as the science fiction series 'Mischa' for the German publisher Rolf Kauka (1972-1974) and 'Lou'/'Lowietje', a comic about a wealthy orphan that was published in the Dutch magazines Sjors and Eppo (1975-1983). He made the comic about the postman 'Raphaël et les Timbres' with Jacques Sandron for Je Bouquine by Bayard Presse between 1986 and 1994. In 1990 Cauvin made two comic albums based on the children's puppet TV show 'Tatayet' (1986-1992) with Olivier Saive for Marsu Productions. He also wrote out plots for the plotter Achdé's 'C.R.S. = Détresse' (1995-2007), a comic strip poking fun at French security forces. 

Tatayet by Cauvin and SaiveRaphael et les timbres by Sandron and Cauvin

Raoul Cauvin won the award for "Best Foreign Author" at the Angoulême Comics Festival in 1976 and in 2008 a Grand Prix Saint-Michel for his entire career. On 30 November 2006 'Du Côté de Chez Poje' received its own comic book wall in the Rue de l'Ecuyer/ Schildknaapstraat 55 in Brussels, as part of the local Brussels' Comic Book Route. In 2008 Cédric was honoured with a statue, designed by Josyanne Vanhoutte, erected at the Comics Route in Middelkerke. Since 2 August 2011 'L'Agent 212' has his own statue, sculpted by Monique Mol, at the Comics Route in Middelkerke. On 18 August 2017 the character received another statue at the Rauschenberg square in Westende. On 3 December 2014 'Les Femmes en Blanc' also received their own comic book wall at the Place de la Vècquée / Vècquéeplein in Brussels, again as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. On 12 July 2018 a statue of 'Les Tuniques Bleues' was erected in Lambil's birth town Tamines, followed by a statue of 'Godaille & Godasse' a year later, on 5 September 2019.

In 2013, a traffic circle was named after Raoul Cauvin in his birthtown Antoing, decorated with murals of 'Les Tuniques Bleues', 'L'Agent 212', 'Les Femmes en Blanc', 'Pierre Tombal' and 'Cédric'. On 30 April 2021, the surrounding square was named after him as well.

CRS = Detreche by Cauvin and AchdéLe Batard des Etoiles by Curd Ridel and Raoul Cauvin

(Semi) retirement
In October 2013 it was announced that the 75-year old veteran would go into semi-retirement. This meant that he would leave leave his office and terminate his employment with the publishing house Dupuis after 53 years, but would continue to write scripts for most of his ongoing series, being at the time 'Les Tuniques Bleues', 'Les Femmes en Blanc', 'Pierre Tombal', 'Les Psy', 'Cédric' and 'L'Agent 212'. And only a few months after his retirement, he even launched a new project with Curd Ridel for Éditions Sadawe, called 'Le Bâtard des étoiles'. The year 2019 however marked a turning point in Cauvin's career, and in Spirou's history too. In April of that year, the final album of 'Les Psy' was published, because the artist Bédu wanted to work on other projects. About two months later, it was announced that Dupuis cancelled several of its classic series, including Cauvin's 'Pierre Tombal' and 'Les Femmes en Blanc'. While the series were still bestsellers, Bédu explained that veteran authors like he, Marc Hardy and Philippe Bercovici still had older contracts with a more profitable page rate, while newcomers usually only receive an advance on their royalties. The other "victims" of the cutback were Clarke's 'Mélusine' and Michel Weyland's 'Aria'. Two more albums of the Cauvin series involved were still planned. Cauvin stated that he "takes the defeat like a boxer, but with pain in his heart."

If all that wasn't bad enough, Cauvin himself made public in September 2019 that he would write one more album of his longest-running series, 'Les Tuniques Bleues'. Feeling he had "told it all", he said he retired from what is probably his signature work after the 64th album. Since the writer had sold his rights to Dupuis years ago, the publisher assigned the Frenchman Kris (Christophe Goret) to create new stories with artist Lambil. In the meantime, the 65th album in 2020 served as an intermission, drawn and written by José Luis Munuera in cooperation with the scriptwriting duo BéKa. Kris and Lambil's collaboration takes off with the 66th album in 2022.

By late 2019, the eighty year-old Cauvin's only remaining series is Laudec's 'Cédric'. The sporadic new gags of 'L'Agent 212' have become more and more solo projects of artist Kox, even though Cauvin is still credited. All in all, an end of an era.

Legacy and reputation
Cauvin's importance for the Belgian comics industry, particularly Spirou, cannot be underestimated. He helped out dozens of talented artists. By being involved with so many different series and still maintain a quality standard he achieved a legendary reputation. The creative centipede can furthermore be credited with guiding Spirou into the "modern" age and keep it relevant to younger generations. It therefore comes to no surprise that he is regarded as a cult legend. When Thierry Tinlot became Spirou's editor-in-chief (1993-2004) Cauvin was frequently namedropped, promoted and praised in its pages. He had a starring role in photo comics, editorial pages and jokes (including a coup for the chief editorship in 1996), and appeared on covers and in comics like 'Le Boss' and 'Raoul, scénariste choc' by Philippe Bercovici and Zidrou. Since April 2008 Cauvin also hosts his own blog at Spirou's web page. His 70th birthday was celebrated with a special issue later that year. From the 1990s on, he served as a mentor to new generations of comic writers in Spirou, including François Gilson and Dugomier, but still remained at the forefront. Even after his so-called retirement in 2013 he maintained his productive reputation for several years. 

Books about Raoul Cauvin
For those interested in Cauvin's life and career, Kris De Saeger's book 'Dossier Cauvin'/'Le Livre d'Or de Raoul Cauvin' (Arboris, 1995) is highly recommended. In November 2013, Dupuis released 'Cauvin la Monographie' by Patrick Gaumer, an extensive book about Raoul Cauvin and the many artists he worked with.

Spirou 3026Spirou 3676

Cauvin's blog at

Series and books by Raoul Cauvin in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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