Cauvin by Walthery
Front cover of the book 'Dossier Cauvin', illustrated by François Walthéry. Above Cauvin's head are some of his many creations. From left to right (first row): Cédric (Laudec), Les Tuniques Bleues (Lambil) and Pierre Tombal (Marc Hardy). In the second row 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 was one of Europe's most successful and productive scriptwriters of humorous comics, and one of the pillars of Spirou magazine and its publishing house Dupuis. In a career spanning over fifty years, he created many popular comic series, several becoming Franco-Belgian classics. His most enduring creation was 'Les Tuniques Bleues' (1968-   ), a historical adventure comic - drawn by Louis Salvérius and subsequently by Willy Lambil - about two Northern soldiers in the American Civil War. Primarily intended for a juvenile audience, the series offered a well-documented balanced mix between humor and the atrocities of war. In the same tradition, Cauvin tackled the U.S. Prohibition era in the action-filled gangster comic 'Sammy' (1970-2009) - drawn by Berck and then Jean-Pol - as well as 17th-century France in the musketeer series 'Câline et Calebasse' (1969-1976) with Mazel and the Napoleonic era with 'Godaille et Godasse' (1975-1986), drawn by Jacques Sandron. Cauvin's short humor features were edgy, breaking taboos while pleasing a mainstream audience. From the late 1960s on, he updated Spirou's traditional comedy style with anti-authoritarian creations, often using morbid themes and gallows humor. After the clumsy chubby police officer 'L'Agent 212' (1975-   ), created with Daniël Kox, Cauvin poked fun at gravediggers ('Pierre Tombal', drawn by Marc Hardy, 1983-2017), the medical world ('Les Femmes en Blanc', drawn by Philippe Bercovici, 1981-2021) and mental welfare ('Les Psy' drawn by Bédu, 1992-2019). With respectively Malik, Bercovici, Mazel and Lambil, Cauvin additionally mocked love and religion in 'Cupidon' (1988-2011), classic love stories in 'Les Grandes Amours Contrariées' (1979-1981), the society press in 'Les Paparazzi' (1993-2004), and both the comic industry and his bumpy collaboration with Willy Lambil in the autofiction 'Pauvre Lampil' (1973-1994). Apart from daring subject matter, Cauvin's humor relied heavily on character relationships. This was particularly visible in his most personal creation, drawn by Laudec: the family humor comic 'Cédric' (1986-2021). Raoul Cauvin was one of the few comic creators who were actually on a payroll; in addition to his writing activities, he ran the photo lab in Spirou's editorial offices. After going into semi-retirement in 2013, he continued to write his bestseller series throughout the decade. While Cauvin was predominantly a comic writer, he personally drew 'Zotico' (1981), an obscure comic strip about a scriptwriter and his pet spider.


'Zotico': Raoul Cauvin and his desk spider Louise (Robbedoes #2240, 1981).

Early life
Raoul Cauvin was born in 1938 in Antoing, a town against the French border in the Hainaut province of Wallonia. His mother Antoinette tailored trousers, robes and petticoats, and his father Jules was an office employee in Antoing's carbon power station. Raoul Cauvin kept vivid memories of the German soldiers in his hometown. Unaware of the danger, Raoul and his older brother Robert collected whatever World War II memorabilia they could find in their rural surroundings: grenades, shells, revolvers... Despite living in poverty and insecurity, Raoul Cauvin looked back on a happy and adventurous childhood, that gave him much autonomy. Growing up in a Catholic environment, young Raoul found camaraderie with the local boy scouts, and enjoyment in reading comic magazines. He devoured issues of Pat, the magazine of the National Patronage Federation, that reprinted many Catholic-themed comics from the French magazines of Éditions Fleurus. He also read Tintin, particularly liking Hergé's 'Tintin', Jacques Laudy's 'Hassan et Kaddour' and Paul Cuvelier's 'Corentin'. In Spirou, Cauvin discovered reprints of American comics, but also the fantastic adventures of 'Tif et Tondu' by Fernand Dineur and Will. Héroïc-Albums introduced Cauvin to more serious adventure comics by Maurice Tillieux and Édouard Aidans. In addition, he read fantasy novels by Raymond Jean de Kremer (AKA Jean Ray/John Flanders) and Jules Verne.

Between 1953 and 1958, Cauvin studied at the Faculty of Decorative Arts of the Saint-Luc Art Institute in Tournai, specializing in advertising lithography. One of his fellow students was the future comic artist Renaud. It was only after graduation that Cauvin found out this profession was no longer in use since many years! Instead, Raoul Cauvin found a job painting billiard balls and holy objects like saint's figures and crucifixes in a factory in Callenelle. During his 1959-1960 military service at the Hoogboom station in Kapellen, his acquaintance with the future cartoonist Francis Bertrand revived his interest in comics. Back in civilian life, Cauvin applied for a job at Tintin magazine, but was redirected to its animation department Belvision, where he failed the test assignment. Thanks to a tip by Francis Bertrand, he had more luck with Éditions Dupuis, publisher of the magazines Spirou, Le Moustique and Bonnes Soirées.

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

TVA Dupuis and photo lab
On 15 May 1960, Raul Cauvin began his long career with Dupuis at the publisher's art studio, under supervision of art director Maurice Rosy. There, he worked alongside other production artists like Louis Salvérius, Jamic, Arthur Piroton and, more sporadically, Willy Lambil, Eddy Paape and Paul Deliège. Cauvin's tasks included drawing crossword puzzles, and add translated dialogue in the speech balloons of comic stories for Spirou magazine's Dutch edition, Robbedoes. In 1961, he replaced Louis Salvérius as the camera operator of TVA Dupuis, the company's audiovisual department, based in the center of Brussels. By carefully studying the operation of the studio's Crass camera and Steinbeck viewer, Cauvin quickly learned the tricks of the trade. In 1962, the studio switched to using celluloid, and installed a Rank Xerox copier, operated by Cauvin.

Cauvin's most fruitful period at TVA Dupuis was under studio chief Eddy Ryssack, with whom he worked on the experimental animated shorts 'Teeth is Money' (1962) and 'Le Crocodile Majuscule' (1965). He also partcipated in subsequent short films supervised by Ryssack and animator Vivian Miessen, such as 'Cinéma-Man' (1966), 'L'Anaconda' and '3.2.1.0.' (1967). Important commercial productions were the animated films based on Peyo's 'The Smurfs', then still in black-and-white and more rudimental than the later animated 'Smurfs' series by Hanna-Barbera of the 1980s. At TVA Dupuis, Cauvin also worked alongside his friend from the military, Francis Bertrand, as well as animation director Charles Degotte and background painter Michel Matagne.

Cauvin featured in Gaston
Raoul Cauvin featured in Franquin's 'Gaston' strip #733, first published in Spirou #1795 (1972) and later collected in 'Gaffes, Bévues et Boulettes'. 

In 1968, Ryssack was transferred to the magazine division, and his role at TVA Dupuis was taken over by Ray Goossens, an authoritarian person with whom Cauvin didn't get along. By then, most of Cauvin's fellow co-workers had left too, so he decided to quit TVA Dupuis as well. However, he continued to participate in some of the studio's productions until the mid-1970s, scriptwriting episodes of Ray Goossens' animated children's series 'Musti' (1968) and 'Tip en Tap' (1971). In addition to the TV series, Cauvin also wrote one-page 'Musti' picture stories (1970-1972) for the Dupuis women's weekly Bonne Soirée, with artwork alternated between Jacques Van Driessche and Robert Lebersorg. In the mid-1970s, Cauvin wrote scripts for the TV adapations of Jean Roba's gag comic 'Boule et Bill'.

When leaving his dayjob at TVA Dupuis, Cauvin set up a photo lab in the Dupuis offices at the Rue de Livorne in Brussels, where he helped the journalists develop their pictures. It remained in operation until digital reproduction methods took over. TVA Dupuis allowed him to take along the Xerox copier and, for years to come, Cauvin helped visiting artists to make photocopies of their comic pages. Because of the company's informal atmosphere and his own social nature, Cauvin installed a bar in the offices, where visiting artists and editors could meet and chat. In 1972, André Franquin gave Cauvin and his famous Xerox a prominent role in a page of his gag strip 'Gaston Lagaffe', which was set in Spirou's editorial offices. By then, Raoul Cauvin was one of the rising stars of Spirou magazine, gradually working on a versatile scriptwriting career on top of his job in the repro department. Cauvin remained on the Dupuis payroll way beyond his retirement age, and even after that he kept his own office.

Les Naufragés by Cauvin and Bretecher
Cover illustration for Spirou #1594 (1968) by Claire Bretécher starring 'Les Naufragés'.

Spirou magazine
During his days in animation, Raoul Cauvin tried in vain to get his comic scripts accepted by Spirou magazine; editor-in-chief Yvan Delporte refused most of his submissions. His modest 1960s beginnings were team efforts, made in collaboration with his TVA Dupuis colleagues. His first published comic story was 'Les Trois Étoiles de Zéphirin', made with Ryssack under the pen name Nicky de Verneuil, and published in Spirou #1339 of 12 December 1963. Under the collective pen name "Desquatre" ("The Four"), Raoul Cauvin, Eddy Ryssack, Charles Degotte and Michel Matagne created the stories 'Manque de pot' (1964) and 'Le Gâteau du Roy' (1965), that appeared as fold-in mini-booklets in the magazine's center. With Ryssack, Cauvin made an additional four short stories in the magazine's regular page format in the period 1965-1966. Ryssack put in a good word for Cauvin with publisher Charles Dupuis, who allowed him to expand his scriptwriting after Delporte's 1968 departure. Cauvin's production took a flight in July 1969, when Thierry Martens became editor-in-chief. For his early scripts, Cauvin worked with feedback from Spirou staple Maurice Tillieux, who learned him several tricks of the trade.

From the start, Cauvin's approach to scriptwriting was original, with a strong emphasis on funny dialogue and absurdisms. The gag strip 'Arthur et Léopold' (1968-1969) - again drawn by Ryssack - showed the discussions between two fleas on the back of a hairy dog. With Claire Brétécher, he created 'Les Naufragés' (1968-1971), about the crew of a sunken ship, swimming in the open sea in search of rescue. Most of the humor lay in the interactions between the captain and the naïve sailor that caused all the mayhem; an early showcase of Cauvin's fun in saddling up a dominant figure of authority with a clumsy or rebellious insubordinate. The same trope can be seen in his scripts for 'Loryfiand et Chifmol' (1967-1969), short stories about two crooks drawn by Serge Gennaux.

Les Tuniques Bleues by Cauvin and SalveriusLes Tuniques Bleues by Lambil and Cauvin
Cover illustrations for Spirou #1749 (1971) by Salvérius and for #2265 (1981) by Willy Lambil starring 'Les Tuniques Bleues'.

Les Tuniques Bleues
The start of Raoul Cauvin's writing career came at the right time. In 1968, Spirou magazine had just lost its popular 'Lucky Luke' series. Artist Morris joined writer René Goscinny at his own magazine Pilote, where they continued the adventures of their "poor lonesome cowboy". To fill in the void, Cauvin created a new western feature for Spirou, and asked Louis Salvérius to provide the artwork. First appearing in Spirou issue #1585 of 29 August 1968, 'Les Tuniques Bleues' ("The Bluecoats") initially consisted of short stories and gags around the Fort Bow cavalry and its struggles with a tribe of Native Americans. In 1970, the first longer episode, 'Un Chariot Dans l'Ouest', was serialized. In the second serial, 'Du Nord au Sud' (1971), the U.S. Civil War became the setting and the series found its definitive tone. Although 'Les Tuniques Bleues' started with an all-star cast, the center stage was eventually taken by the self-important, obedient sergeant Cornelius Chesterfield and the cynical corporal Blutch. For a mainstream comic series in a child-oriented magazine, 'Les Tuniques Bleues' was a remarkable creation. On one hand, the stories gave graphical depictions of the atrocities of the battlefield, and on the other it offered hilarious burlesque comedy. The anti-militaristic tone is embodied in the two main stars, whose conflicting characters form the basis of each story. Blutch tries to wriggle his way out of every charge and assignment - for instance by having his horse Arabesque "play dead" on the battlefield - while Chesterfield has an unconditional respect for authority and the military cause. The two openly despise each other, but for some reason they are always assigned to the same mission.

'Les Tuniques Bleues' quickly became one of Spirou's most popular features and from 1970 on, the stories were released in book format too. Tragedy struck in 1972, when the 38-year old artist Salvérius suddenly died from a heart attack. Willy Lambil stepped in to draw the final pages of the ongoing adventure, 'Outlaw' (1972), and remained on board as the series' new artist. Over the next decades, the Cauvin-Lambil team turned 'Les Tuniques Bleues' into a true bestseller, introducing new secondary characters and crafting stories inspired by historical events or people. The Battle of Bull Run, the Andersonville Prison, the Union Army Balloon Corps, the naval battles of Hampton Roads and Cherbourg, the warships USS Monitor and the USS Kearsarge and historical characters like Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, General Lee, Mary Edwards Walker, William Clarke Quantrill, and Nancy Hart have all been featured in the stories. Episodes like 'Blue Rétro' (1980) and 'Vertes Années' (1992) deepened the characters of Blutch and Chesterfield by revealing more of their past and background. Cauvin and Lambil collaborated on new adventures for nearly fifty years; serialization of Cauvin's final story ended in 2021, shortly before the scriptwriter's death.

Pauvre Lampil by Lambil and Cauvin
Cauvin with Berck (left), Lampil (second) and Fournier (right) in the 'Pauvre Lampil' comic (artwork by Lambil).

Pauvre Lampil 
In between 'Tuniques Bleues' episodes, Cauvin and Lambil worked on their side project 'Pauvre Lampil' (1973-1994), a spoof of the comic industry in general and the authors' own collaboration in particular. The first episodes appeared in Spirou's 'Carte Blanche' section, where authors were allowed to create stand-alone stories in full creative freedom, outside of their regular features. Cauvin and Lambil enjoyed themselves with two-page stories about a failed comic artist, in desperate search of success and recognition. Lambil based the character on himself, only the name was modified to "Lampil". As the episodes progressed, other comic authors made guest appearances - always under their own name - most notably scriptwriter Cauvin. 'Pauvre Lampil' appeared irregularly between 1973 and 1994 - with a handful of new episodes in 2003 and 2006 - and portrayed Lampil as a miser and a hypochondriac, always in conflict with his publisher, colleagues, the town butcher, his family doctor and - even more - himself. Arguably the first work of autofiction in Franco-Belgian comics, 'Pauvre Lampil' gives an interesting look on three decades of Belgian comic book history as well as the family lives of both Lambil and Cauvin. In interviews, Lambil and Cauvin revealed that many episodes were based on true stories - including the ones made during a five-year period when the two men really didn't get along. Despite the long intervals between episodes, and modest sales of the seven album collections, 'Pauvre Lampil' became a fan favorite, nowadays referred to as a hidden gem of Belgian comics.

Les Mousquetaires by Mazel and CauvinBoulouloum y Guiliguili by Mazel and Cauvin
Cover illustrations by Luc Mazel for Spirou #1814 (1973) and #2308 (1982) starring 'Câline et Calebasse' and 'Boulouloum et Guiliguili'.

Collaborations with Luc Mazel
For his next humorous adventure comic, Cauvin teamed up with the artist Luc Mazel, who joined Spirou after creating a musketeer comic for Tintin magazine. As Mazel wanted to continue working in this genre, 'Câline et Calebasse' (1969-1976) was set in 17th-century France - during the reign of Louis XIII - and is loosely inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel 'The Three Musketeers'. Like D'Artagnan in the Dumas story, the youngster Calebasse arrives in Paris to enlist in the Musketeers of the Guard. He is accompanied by his corpulent, oversensitive horse Câline, who sits down on top of her enemies or on anyone who comments on her weight. In serials of varying lengths, Câline and Calebasse join the musketeers Monsieur de Château-Neuf-du-Pape and Monsieur de Saint-Émilion in saving the king from the evil ploys of Cardinal Richelieu. Since the historical accuracy desired by Mazel didn't work with Cauvin's tendency to fill his plots with parody and anachronisms, their collaboration on 'Câline et Calebasse' ended in 1976. Mazel resumed the series on his own between 1983 and 1992 under the new title, 'Les Mousquetaires'. Since the Mazel-Cauvin era stories never saw a proper book collection, they remained a largely forgotten entry in Cauvin's catalogue - until publisher Dupuis brought them back to the public attention by releasing the stories in a three volume luxury book series in 2013-2014.

Following the end of 'Câline et Calebasse', Cauvin and Mazel's collaboration continued with a contemporary series, starring the mini-Tarzan Boulouloum and his gorilla friend Guiliguili. Starting out with a couple of short stories between 1975 and 1977, the first long 'Boulouloum et Guiliguili' (1975-1982) story began serialization under the title 'Le Grand Safari' (1978). After five cartoony serials in which the two jungle friends took a stand against the incompetent elephant hunters Harry and Joe, the series got more serious in tone and drawing style when the people smuggler Jürgens and his henchmen became the main villains. As a result, the feature was renamed to 'Les Jungles Perdues' ("The Lost Jungles", 1983-1988) and Boulouloum and Guiliguili became known as Kaloum and Kong. However, the book series failed to become a commercial success, and the series was cancelled after another five serials. In 2003, a previously unpublished story called 'L'Espace Sidérant' was released by Bédébu. Raoul Cauvin joined forces with Luc Mazel for a third and final time for the short story humor feature 'Les Paparazzi' (1993-2004), a spoof on the obtrusive society press, starring the Paris Flash reporters Nico and Joy.

Sammy by Berck and CauvinSammy by Cauvin and Jean-Pol

Sammy
For his third adventure series set in a historical time period, Raoul Cauvin teamed up with the Flemish artist Berck. Set in crime-filled Chicago during the 1920s Prohibition era, the adventures of 'Sammy' (1970-2009) were filled with adrenaline pumping action scenes, car chases and showers of bullets. Berck envisioned a detective comic in the tradition of Chester Gould's 'Dick Tracy', but Cauvin felt there were already too much comic sleuths and picked bodyguards as central characters. First appearing in Spirou on 26 March 1970, Sammy Day works in a small bodyguard agency with his boss, the quick-tempered and cigar chomping Jack Attaway. A major adversary is the real-life gangster boss Al Capone, who is constantly at war with the Prohibition agent Eliot Ness. Like 'Les Tuniques Bleues', several stories were inspired by historical events, such as the rum row and its illegal liquor bootleggers ('Rhum Row', 1972), the upcoming Hollywood stardom ('Les Gorilles à Hollywood', 1980, and 'La Diva', 1987) or the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ('Crash à Wall Street', 1989). The authors also tackled controversial themes like the Ku Klux Klan ('Ku-Klux-Klan', 1981). Other stories are pure comical fantasy; 'L'Élixir de Jeunesse' (1977), for instance, is about a special elixir that turns grown-up gangsters into children, and in 'L'Homme qui venait de l'au-delà' (1986), Sammy and Jack guard a walking skeleton. Besides downtown Chicago, Cauvin and Berck regularly picked new settings for the stand-offs between the two bodyguards and an endless stream of thugs. They have been sent to mental hospitals, circuses, soccer fields, boarding schools, banana republics and even the Vatican. When Berck retired in 1994 after 31 'Sammy' books, Jean-Pol succeeded him for another nine installments, after which the series came to an end.

Godaille et Godasse
In 1975, Raoul Cauvin turned to 19th-century historical France for his final historical adventure comic, featuring a French soldier in Napoleon's army. Created in collaboration with Jacques Sandron, 'Godaille et Godasse' (1975-1986) debuted in Spirou issue #1938 of 3 June 1975. The initial short stories were situated on the Russian battlefields, where Godaille tells his fellow soldiers with much bravado about his victories against the cossacks. The young hussar is then usually sent on a special mission, along with his equally spirited - but also more sensitive - horse Godasse. After several short stories varying from 2 to 6 pages in length, the first full-length serial appeared in 1978, 'Des Chariots dans la Steppe'. Four more followed until 1984. In the longer adventures, Godaille and Godasse were often accompanied on their missions by fellow hussar Lafleur. The series also featured actual historical figures. Apart from Napoleon I, the most notable introduction was Catherine Hubscher, the wife of Marshall François Joseph Lefebvre. Nicknamed "Madame Sans-Gêne", the pithy lady could embarrass an entire army with her foul language... In 1985 and 1986 Sandron and Cauvin returned to shorter stories under the title 'Les Mémoires d'un Hussard'. Between 1982 and 1986, Éditions Dupuis collected the last four 'Godaille et Godasse' serials in book format.

Godaille et Godasse by Sandron and CauvinMirliton by Macherot and Cauvin

Contributions & commissions
His own series aside, Cauvin often lent a helping hand to colleagues. Over the course of the 1970s, Cauvin submitted gag ideas to Peyo's 'Les Schtroumpfs' ('The Smurfs'), André Franquin's 'Gaston' and Jean Rob's 'Boule et Bill'. From the late 1960s throughout the 1980s, Cauvin helped Serge Gennaux - a Dupuis studio artist - with writing his meta-humor comic about an aspiring comic character, 'L'Homme aux Phylactères' ("The Man with the Speech Balloons"), although Cauvin remained uncredited until 1984. Another in-house artist, Carlos Roque, often used ideas by Cauvin for the gag strips he made with his wife Monique: 'Angélique' and 'Wladymir'. Cauvin teamed up with Raymond Macherot - master of the funny animal comic - to create 'Mirliton' (1970-1975), a gentle cat who is unable to hunt, as he is best friends with mice and birds. In 2007, Cauvin participated in the relaunch of this series by Éditions Flouzemaker, with new episodes drawn by Erwin Drèze.


One of the announcement strips by Raoul Cauvin for the upcoming 'Natacha' adventure, published in Spirou #2613, 1988).

Another artist who asked Cauvin for help was François Walthéry. Their first collaboration was for 'Le Vieux Bleu' (1974-1979), an irregularly appearing nostalgic comic series inspired by Walthéry's pigeon fancier great-grandfather. In 1980, the stories appeared in book format, including an edition in the Liège dialect. Years later, Raoul Cauvin wrote the comedy-driven installment 'Les Nomades du Ciel' (1988) for the adventures of Walthéry's air hostess 'Natacha'. To announce the story's publication, Raoul Cauvin drew six weekly comic strips counting off to the serialization. In 1985, he also wrote the short humor story 'Vacances Manquées' for Arthur Piroton's otherwise serious adventure series about FBI agent 'Jess Long'. In the mid-1980s, Cauvin also created stand-alone short stories in collaboration with René Follet and Jidéhem.

Le Vieu Bleu by Walthery and CauvinSnorky by Cauvin and Oneta

Commissions: work with Nic Broca 
A less satisfying assignment was writing episodes of Spirou magazine's title comic, 'Spirou et Fantasio'. Cauvin's first work with the character was in 1970, when he wrote a short story for Spirou's 33rd anniversary, drawn for the occasion by the original 'Spirou' artist, Rob-Vel. By the end of that decade, the publisher fired the regular author of Spirou's adventures, Jean-Claude Fournier. In search of replacements that could secure a weekly presence of the character in his own magazine, several teams were put to work. Participating in the try-out phase were Tome & Janry - two former assistants of the comic artist Dupa - and Nic Broca, an employee of Dupuis' animation division with little to no experience with making comics. After the latter had made some short stories written by editor-in-chief Alain De Kuyssche, Cauvin was assigned to write new 'Spirou et Fantasio' adventure serials for Broca to draw. Cauvin and Broca's three stories - 'La Ceinture du Grand Froid' (1981), 'La Boîte Noire' (1982) and 'Les Faiseurs de Silence' (1983) - appeared in alternation with 'Spirou & Fantasio' episodes by Tome & Janry, who eventually got the job and took the series to new heights. The Broca-Cauvin team received much backlash for their work on the series - even from their peers - a traumatizing experience that made Broca return to animation altogether. In a reaction, Cauvin defended his colleague by explaining the publisher had forbid the duo to use any of the franchise's popular settings or secondary characters, something that Tome and Janry were allowed to do.

Through the Dupuis commercial division S.E.P.P., Cauvin joined Nic Broca in another project, about strange underwater creatures. Created by Nic Broca in 1981, 'Les Snorky' ('The Snorks') spawned a popular animated TV series (1984-1989), produced by Hanna-Barbera, the American company that also turned Peyo's 'Smurfs' into a popular TV series. To introduce the characters, Raoul Cauvin and Nic Broca created one comic book with the characters in commission of Persil detergent under the title 'Snorkels' (S.E.P.P., 1982). A comic story production to tie-in with the TV series was set up by S.E.P.P. in collaboration with an Italian art studio. Between 1985 and 1990, 'Snorky' comics appeared in the Italian children's magazine Il Giornalino, written by Raoul Cauvin or the Italians Paola Ferrarini and Mauro Cominell, and drawn by Franco Oneta. In 1986 and 1987, the Cauvin-Oneta stories were collected in book format by Éditions Dupuis.

Young talent
Whenever a young aspiring comic artist applied for a spot in Spirou magazine, the editors assigned Raoul Cauvin to write them a try-out script. During the 1970s, Cauvin wrote short stories for Vittorio Leonardo, Marc Wasterlain, Bernard Hislaire, Jean-Marie Brouyère and Félix Zygmunt; most of whom became important players in the Belgian comic industry. With another newcomer, Guy Counhaye, he made the comical space opera 'Les Naufragés de l'Espace' (1973-1978), about two astronauts who end up on strange planets while trying to to find their way home. With Antoinette Collin, Cauvin created a couple of gag strips about the little chicken 'Christobald' (1975-1976). As a talent scout, Raoul Cauvin was amazed by the drawings of thirteen-year old Philippe Bercovici, whom he met at a 1976 comic convention. As the two kept in touch, Cauvin introduced the young artist to his editors at Spirou magazine. At age fourteen, Bercovici saw his first editorial illustrations published in Spirou, before embarking upon his first comic feature, made in collaboration with Raoul Cauvin. In 'Les Grandes Amours Contrariées' (1979-1981), Cauvin and Bercovici gave new humorous interpretations of classic love stories from popular culture, folklore and mythology. It marked the start of the enduring collaboration between Cauvin and Bercovici, that lasted until the writer's death in 2021.

Agent 212 by Raoul Cauvin and Daniel KoxFemmes en Blanc by Bercovici and Cauvin
Cover illustrations for Spirou #3828 (2011) by Daniel Kox and for Spirou #2390 (1984) by Philippe Bercovici, announcing 'L'Agent 212' and 'Les Femmes en Blanc'.

Humor in professions
Through Peyo, Raoul Cauvin was introduced to another young artist, Daniel Kox. Cauvin wrote him a script about an incapable traffic cop with the number 212, who debuted in Spirou issue #1939 on 12 June 1975. Originally intended as a one-shot story, it pleased both the readers and its authors, so more episodes were made. Before long, 'L'Agent 212' (1975- ) found his definitive form: a chubby police offer by the name Arthur Delfouille, who is utterly bad at his job. Basically a manchild, he often misinterprets situations, leading to funny misunderstandings and mayhem, while getting him into trouble with civilians, his commissioner and his wife. Belgian comics had a longer tradition with policemen as the comic foil, but Kox and Cauvin's 'L'Agent 212' was the first series to make such a character the prime protagonist. The combination of Cauvin's crazy humor and Kox's accessible expressive drawings proved a hit; 'L'Agent 212' became the longest-running gag series of Cauvin's career. It was also the first of many Cauvin series about "humor in professions".

Pierre Tombal by Hardy and CauvinLes Psy by Bedu and Cauvin
Cover illustrations for Spirou #3134 (1998) by Marc Hardy and for Spirou #2974 (1995) by Bédu, announcing 'Pierre Tombal' and 'Les Psy'.

A short hospitalization inspired Cauvin to create his next gag series: 'Les Femmes en Blanc' ("Women in White", 1981-2021), about the personnel of a hospital. Artist on duty for the gags and short stories was the young Philippe Bercovici, with whom Cauvin tackled the entire medical spectrum: overworked nurses, surgeons searching for solutions for extreme and unique disorders, complaining patients and the poor father who willingly serves as guinea pig for his medical student daughter. Even though their professions were often ridiculed, police officers and medical personal often suggested Cauvin gag ideas based on their own experiences for his two series. While illness and death were already important elements in 'Les Femmes en Blanc', Cauvin went a bit further for his next creation. Rendered in the gritty artwork of Marc Hardy, 'Pierre Tombal' (1983-2017) was about a good-natured gravedigger and his departed "customers"; skeletons and ghosts who don't seem to be completely "gone". Pierre chats with them, listens to their complaints and tries to keep them in line, while being their connection with the world of the living. Many gags feature the dead trying to continue the same jobs and hobbies as they did when they were still alive, often scaring the living hell out of mourning cemetery visitors.

Ten years later, Cauvin gave the world of mental welfare the same cynical treatment, creating 'Les Psy' (1992-2019) with the artist Bédu. Central character is Dr. Antoine Médard, whose field of study varies between psychiatry and psychoanalysis. The short stories show his interactions with his patients, confrères and cleaning lady, but also his own sessions on the couch of a colleague psychiatrist. Besides professions involving life and death, Cauvin additionally created a gag series about female taxi driver - 'Taxi Girl' (1992-1998) with Laudec - and parodied the society press in 'Les Paparazzi' (1993-2004) with Mazel. With Arthur Piroton, Cauvin was planning a humorous series about courtrooms ('Les Maîtres du Barreau'), but only one episode was drawn before the artist passed away in 1996.

Cupidon by Malik and CauvinCedric by Laudec and Cauvin
Cover illustrations for Spirou #2652 (1989) by Malik and for Spirou #2910 (1994) by Laudec, announcing 'Cupidon' and 'Cédric'.

New humor territories
With his new creations of the 1980s, Raoul Cauvin stepped into delicate territory. In 'Les Femmes en Blanc' and 'Pierre Tombal', he made fun of illness and death, and in 'Les Grandes Amours Contrariées', biblical tales were parodied. Originally, Spirou magazine was a Catholic magazine with playful and crazy, but never offensive content. But the times changed, and Belgian comics had stepped into the modern age, opening the door for Cauvin's morbid and cynical comedy. More edgy Cauvin creations saw the light in the 1980s, like the gag strip 'Les Voraces' (1986-1993), about a group of hungry vultures waiting for their prey. With Malik, Cauvin launched 'Cupidon' (1988-2013), a series of gags and short stories about the young and inexperienced angel Cupid and his attempts to create romance with his bow and arrow. Some gags are earth-based goofs, others are situated in Heaven, where the mischievous Cupid and his angel friends drive the authoritarian Saint Peter crazy with their insubordination. With 'Cupidon', Cauvin and Malik not only satirized mankind's everlasting quest for love, but also the symbols of the Roman Catholic religion. Also, Malik's elegantly drawn chubby angels provided the first full-frontal nudity in Spirou's pages, although in a non-erotic way.

Cédric
More down-to-earth were the antics of the schoolboy 'Cédric' (1986- ), that Cauvin created with the Italian-born comic artist Laudec. A sitcom in comic format, the short stories are centered around Cédric and his family and friends. In the early stories, Cédric has a crush on his school teacher, miss Nelly, but later on he is smitten with the Chinese girl Chen, who is completely unaware of his affections. Anyone who dares to intervene in his unrequited love stories becomes the target of Cédric's inflammable character and uncontrollable jealousy. At home, Cédric's family members are equally expressive, resulting in much shouting and squabbling, mostly due to Cédric's schemes and demands. Cédric's partner-in-crime is his rooming grandfather - modelled after Cauvin himself - who always has his grandson's back and constantly belittles his carpet salesman son-in-law (who shares his looks with artist Laudec). Although no model household, Cédric comes from a stable, average family, instantly recognizable to most Spirou readers. As a result, the everyday joys and troubles of Cédric became a major hit, spawning a 2001-2002 animated TV series and an accompanying merchandise line.

Zotico, by Cauvin
'Zotico' strip from Robbedoes #2288, 1982.

Robbedoes: Zotico
Apart from the Walloon edition in the French language, Spirou magazine also had a Dutch-language version, called Robbedoes. Overall, both magazines ran the same content. On occasion, the Robbedoes editors had to fill a full or half page when the French edition printed a specific contest or advertisement. Since the Flemish editor Erwin Cavens was a fan of the expressive storyboard sketches that Cauvin made for his scripts, he asked Cauvin to write and draw an exclusive half-page strip for Robbedoes. The result was the semi-autobiographical 'Zotico' strip (1981-1982), in which the scriptwriter reflected on life and his profession, while communicating with his pet garden spider Liesje (Louise). As the original series was only published in Dutch, P&T Productions released a small French-language book collection in landscape format in 1997.

By 1983, Robbedoes received its own weekly section, separate from Spirou, that the editors could fill independently with work by Dutch and Flemish comic creators. Once again, Raoul Cauvin stepped in to provide many scripts, including a handful of short stories in collaboration with Louis-Michel Carpentier and several scripts for the circus humor strip 'Circus Maximus' (1984-1985) by the Flemish artist Hec Leemans. For the Polish-Dutch artist Caryl Strzelecki, Cauvin spoofed the Olympics with the gag feature 'De Lolympische Spelen' (1984).

Spirou 3026Spirou 3676
Covers of Spirou #3026 (1996)- during Cauvin's coup for the chief editorship - and of Spirou #3676 (2008) by Philippe Bercovici for the special issue dedicated to Cauvin's 70th birthday.

Icon of Spirou magazine
Éditions Dupuis once estimated they sold three million Cauvin albums per year. Cauvin's bestselling series was his oldest, 'Les Tuniques Bleues', but 'Sammy', 'L'Agent 212', 'Les Femmes en Blanc', 'Pierre Tombal' and 'Cédric' were also commercial successes. Cauvin was a cash cow and a creative centipede at the same time; a French biography nicknamed him "the man of a thousand gags". During the 1970s and 1980s, Cauvin filled the majority of Spirou's humor sections. He remained at the forefront in the 1990s, and his production continued way beyond his 2013 retirement. A rising star in the early 1970s, Raoul Cauvin and his colleagues Salvé, Berck and Mazel appeared in photo comics with drawn backgrounds - referencing their respective series 'Les Tuniques Bleues', 'Sammy' and 'Câline et Calebasse' - that were made in collaboration with photographer Gérald Frydman. In 1978, ten years after his professional scriptwriting debut, Spirou celebrated Raoul Cauvin with a special supplement, 'Le Petit Cauvin Illustré' (23 March 1978). Made as a spoof of Spirou's tabloid-sized supplement Le Trombone Illustré, the Cauvin Illustré gave an overview of Cauvin's booming career - with contributions by nearly all the artists he worked with up till then - and hosted by a little Cauvin character, drawn by the scriptwriter himself. Over the years, comic versions of Cauvin appeared in several other comic strips, most notably his own 'Pauvre Lampil' and 'Zotico', but also in the editorial gag comic 'Le Boss' (1997-2005) by Philippe Bercovici and Zidrou.

Under the reign of editor-in-chief Thierry Tinlot (1993-2004), Spirou magazine featured playful editorial content, comparable to the magazine's classic 1950s and 1960s era. Special thematic issues, humorous editorial articles and photo comics were created, often with a prominent role for Raoul Cauvin in combination with "Le Boss", the comic persona of Tinlot. By then, Cauvin was an icon, who loved to participate in self-parody and spoofs. Over the course of five weeks in March-April 1996, Tinlot organized a hoax that made it seem Cauvin staged a coup for the chief editorship of Spirou magazine. For five issues long, Spirou ran Cauvin-related articles and games, in which the rebellious scriptwriter appeared as a boasting egomaniac. The cover of issue #3026 had the name CAUVIN replacing the word Spirou in the magazine header, and a portrait of a billionnaire-style Cauvin with cigar, cowboy hat and loads of cash in his hands. Readers could participate in a contest in which they could win a hair of Cauvin's moustache. Cauvin received several letters, some from people who took the whole gag seriously.


Laudec remembering his first meeting with Raoul Cauvin in Spirou #3676 (2008).

In Spirou issue #3578 of 8 November 2006, Raoul Cauvin was caricatured by Philippe Bercovici and Zidrou in the biofiction comic story 'Les Aventures de Raoul par ses bons amis'. That same issue contained spoof interviews with Cauvin conducted by his creations, drawn by the respective artists. Bercovici and Zidrou also made Raoul Cauvin the subject of the section 'Raoul, Scénariste Choc' (2007-2008), supposedly presenting gags that were refused. To celebrate the writer's 70th birthday, Spirou issue #3676 of 24 September 2008 was fully dedicated to Raoul Cauvin as well. It featured tributes by his colleagues and another biographical spoof, 'Raoul: La Bio Officiellement Non Autorisée' ("Raoul: the Official Unauthorized Biography") by Bercovici and Jean-Michel Thiriet. Starting in April 2008, Cauvin also hosted his own blog on the Spirou.com website, called 'Le Blog à Raoul'. 

Non-Dupuis productions: collaboration with Robert Lebersorg
For over five decades, Cauvin was a loyal and dedicated employee of the publishing house Dupuis and its magazine Spirou. Only on a couple of occasions, he lent his writing services to other publishers. Since Cauvin was on the Dupuis payroll, much of his non-Spirou work was done anonymously, serving as a ghostwriter to help out artist friends. Early in his career, Raoul Cauvin teamed up with Robert Lebersorg to create the only non-humorous comic stories of his career. For the newspaper supplement Le Soir Jeunesse, Cauvin and Lebersorg created the serial 'La Folle Chevauchée' (1969), starring the medieval swordslinger Luc de Tarente, followed by 'Alerte aux Iroquois' (1969-1970) - a story set in 17th-century Canada - and the western adventure 'Prime Pour une Couronne' (1970). Years later, the two men worked together again, this time on 'Fontenoy' (Archers, 1987), a historical comic book about a battle in the War of the Austrian Succession, that took place in 1745 not far from Cauvin's birth town Antoing.

Fontenoy by Cauvin and LebersorgLowietje by Berck and Cauvin

Non-Dupuis productions: collaboration with Berck
In the period that he drew Cauvin's gangster comic 'Sammy', the Flemish artist Berck simultaneously maintained a steady story production for other publishers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. To keep up with his workload, he often relied on assistants for the artwork. For several of these comics, Raoul Cauvin filled in as ghostwriter, starting with the the science fiction series 'Mischa' (1972-1974) for the German publisher Rolf Kauka. For the Dutch publisher Oberon and its magazines Sjors and Eppo, Berck drew the series 'Lowietje' (1974-1983), about an orphan boy who has to carry out difficult tasks to keep a major inheritance. The first 'Lowietje' story was scripted by the Dutch editor Piet Hein Broenland, the rest of the series - nine serials and some short stories - were written anonymously by Raoul Cauvin. Cauvin also wrote the scripts for some of Berck's serials for the Catholic children's magazine Zonneland, published by Altoria in Averbode. When asked about these stories later, Cauvin couldn't remember which ones it were, but comic historians estimate it were probably 'De Weerwolf leeft' (1981-1982), 'De Zwarte Ridder' (1982) and 'De Heks' (1983).

Les Toyottes by Carpentier and CauvinPoje by Carpentier and Cauvin
Book covers by L-M Carpentier of 'Les Toyottes' and a Liège edition of 'Chez Poje'.

Non-Dupuis productions: collaboration with Carpentier
Raoul Cauvin's most fruitful collaboration outside of his Spirou productions was with the Brussels artist Louis-Michel Carpentier. After their first meeting at a 1978 comic festival in La Roque d'Anthéron, France, the two men began working on an adult-oriented comic series about a group of rats who try to take control of a post-apocalyptic world. Even though Cauvin was under contract by Dupuis, the authors picked the publishing house Casterman, as they offered to release the series in the luxury hardcover format. Before appearing in book format, the first story of 'Les Toyottes' was serialized in the ecological comic magazine Pistil in 1978 and 1979. Between 1980 and 1982, Casterman then released five books - the first two credited solely to Carpentier - with a sixth and final album published by Lombard in 1989. Cauvin and Carpentier then collaborated on comic books that tied in with a short-lived toyline of little bee figurines called 'De Biepjes', and in 1985 they began an association with the educational publisher Artis-Historia, creating two-page comic stories for its bi-monthly magazine Artiscope.

Their best-known collaboration is however the gag series about pub owner Poje and his clientele, a series in the typical Cauvin humor tradition. In 1986 and 1987, Éditions des Archers released the first two books under the title 'L'Année de la Bière' ("The Beer Year"), publications celebrating local craft beers. Apart from French and Dutch, the series also had successful releases in the Liège and Brussels dialects. After the Archers installments, Cauvin and Carpentier continued their series at Éditions Dupuis, where twenty new books saw the light under the title 'Du Côté de Chez Poje' (1990-2009).

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

Other non-Dupuis productions
In 1986, when their 'Godaille et Godasse' series in Spirou had come to an end, Cauvin and the artist Jacques Sandron continued their collaboration at Je Bouquine, an educational monthly published by Bayard Presse. 'Raphaël et les Timbrés' (1986-1994) appeared on two-page episodes, and gave a humorous look in the life of a mailman. Every problem mailmen can encounter was covered: messages in a bottle, biting dogs, mysterious orders, weird addresses, faster and more efficient methods of delivering, et cetera... Two book collections were published by Soleil in 1989 and 1990, and the series additionally ran in Bayard's English-language magazine I Love English. With the artist Olivier Saive, Raoul Cauvin made two comic albums based on the children's puppet TV show 'Tatayet' (1986-1992), published in 1990 by Marsu Productions. Between 1995 and 2007, Cauvin also anonymously helped Achdé with the scripts for 'C.R.S. = Détresse' (1995-2007), a gag strip published by Dargaud, poking fun at the French security forces. After his official retirement - and well into his seventies - Cauvin and Curd Ridel created 'Le Bâtard des Étoiles' (Éditions Sadawe, 2016), a completely new comic project about a mother who gives birth to an alien child.

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

Semi-retirement and death
Raoul Cauvin remained an important author of Spirou magazine until the very end. But while he filled most of the magazine during the 1970s and 1980s, his production gradually slowed down in the 1990s. By then, a new generation of comic writers was introduced to the readers, including François Gilson, Dugomier, Jean-Michel Thiriet and Zidrou. The amount of features written by Cauvin decreased along the 2000s, and only a handful of new ones were launched. One of Cauvin's final new creations for Spirou was 'Coup de Foudre' (2008-2010), a series about a transgender bull, of which three long stories were drawn by David Deth. A couple of years later, Cauvin and Bercovici created a series of gags about sports, first published in Spirou under the title 'Sports de Compétition' (2011-2012) and then collected in the book 'Ce qu'il faut savoir avant de pratiquer des sports de competition' (2012).

Cauvin's employment with Éditions Dupuis officially ended after 53 years on 26 September 2013, the day of his 75th birthday. This however meant Cauvin went into semi-retirement, as he continued to write his ongoing series, at the time being 'Les Tuniques Bleues', 'Les Femmes en Blanc', 'Pierre Tombal', 'Les Psy', 'Cédric' and 'L'Agent 212'. He also kept his own office in the publisher's Marcinelle building, that he visited every Monday to meet the editors and other colleagues.

Coup de foudre by Dethuin and CauvinSports de Competition by Bercovici and Cauvin
Cover illustrations for Spirou #3743 (2010) by David Deth and for Spirou #3821 (2011) by Bercovici, announcing 'Coup de Foudre' and 'Sports de Compétition'.

The year 2019 meant a major turning point in Raoul Cauvin's career and the history of Spirou magazine. 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, Éditions Dupuis announced it cancelled several of its classic series, including Cauvin's 'Pierre Tombal' and 'Les Femmes en Blanc'. While both series were still bestsellers, Bédu explained that veteran authors like he, Marc Hardy and Philippe Bercovici still had older contracts with profitable page rates, while newcomers usually only received an advance on their royalties. The other "victims" of the Dupuis cutback were Clarke's humor comic 'Mélusine' and Michel Weyland's heroic fantasy series 'Aria'. Two more albums of both Cauvin series were still planned, but then it would be over. In a response, Cauvin stated he "takes the defeat like a boxer, but with pain in his heart."

In September 2019, Cauvin himself made public that he planned to write one more episode 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. Since the writer had sold his rights to Dupuis years ago, the publisher assigned the Frenchman Kris (Christophe Goret) to take over Cauvin's role and create new stories with the artist Lambil, who was also well in his eighties. Before Cauvin's swan song, the 65th album appeared in 2020 as an intermission, written and drawn by José Luis Munuera in cooperation with the scriptwriting duo BéKa. Cauvin's final 'Tuniques Bleues' story, 'Où est donc Arabesque?' was serialized in Spirou magazine in 2021, and then released as the 64th installment of the book series. Kris and Lambil's collaboration takes off with the 66th album in 2022.

By late 2019, Cauvin's only ongoing series was 'Cédric', made in collaboration with Laudec. 'L'Agent 212' also continued to appear with sporadic new gags, but this feature had become more and more a solo project of artist Daniel Kox, even though Cauvin was still credited as scriptwriter. In May 2021, Raoul Cauvin - who had been ill for several years - announced he had only a few months to live. Coincidentally, Didier Pasamonik had asked Cauvin in an April 2021 interview for ActuaBD.com what text he would want on his tombstone. Cauvin replied: "The End. Just the same words I wrote at the end of all my scripts." Raoul Cauvin died from cancer on 19 August 2021, at the age of 82. Around the time of his death, Spirou still ran new episodes of 'Cédric', 'L'Agent 212' and 'Les Femmes en Blanc', proving that Cauvin remained one of the magazine's pillars until the very end. Spirou honored Raoul Cauvin in the 22 September 2021 issue, with a special 16-page section dedicated to the versatile scriptwriter. The issue appeared in four versions, each with a different cover drawing by either Willy Lambil, Philippe Bercovici, Laudec or Marc Hardy.


Tribute drawing by Marc Hardy for the late Raoul Cauvin by 'Pierre Tombal' artist Marc Hardy, starring the character "Death".
Cauvin says: "I know, I know... I might have poked fun at you a bit. But can we forget the past? We start from zero? Heh heh..."

Style and reception
Even though they were made in collaboration with several artists, Cauvin stories can be easily recognized by their writing style and direction. Recurring elements are anti-authoritarian humor, daring subject matter and focus on character relationships, often with non-verbal communication as comedy element. Cauvin's adventure comics are well-documented and uncensored parodies of certain time periods, not shy from social engagement. His gags offer recognizable situations with absurd twists and skilful comedy timing. A large part of the overall look-and-feel of Cauvin's work can be attributed to his working method. He got his ideas from watching TV, reading the newspaper or having conversations. In interviews, Cauvin often told about his infamous sofa, on which he laid down until the idea was shaped into a story. He then created his scripts in storyboard-style, sketching out each panel as a guide for the artists. Despite these detailed instructions, Cauvin stated he didn't interfere with the artist's finished drawings afterwards. Storywise, Cauvin wanted to make accessible situation comedy for the common man and woman, without using subtle wordplay or far-fetched humor. As a result, critics regularly dismissed his work as being formulaic or commercial. Cauvin always laughed about this prejudice. When Berck's 'Lowietje' stories appeared in book format, critics cheered that these alleged solo stories were so much better than when the artist worked with Cauvin. What they didn't know, is that Cauvin anonymously wrote these stories too! The same thing happened with 'Les Toyottes', Cauvin's non-Dupuis collaboration with Louis-Michel Carpentier. The first albums appeared with only Carpentier's name on the cover. By the time the scriptwriter was credited too, critics wrote the series had gone downhill now that Cauvin was involved. However, they were unaware of the fact that Cauvin had scripted the series from the start.


Script page by Raoul Cauvin for the 'Tuniques Bleues' episode 'Les Déserteurs' (as reproduced in 'Cauvin La Monographie', 2013).

Recognition
In 1976, Raoul Cauvin won the award for "Best Foreign Author" at the Angoulême Comics Festival. In his home country, Cauvin was awarded the Prix Saint-Michel for "Best Comical Writing" in 1972 and 1977, and for "Best Comical Story" in 1975. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, he received the Grand Prix Saint-Michel 2008 for his entire body of work. Several Cauvin creations were celebrated with murals or statues. Two of his series are part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. On 30 November 2006, 'Du Côté de Chez Poje' received its own comic book wall in the Rue de l'Ecuyer/ Schildknaapstraat 55. Since 3 December 2014, 'Les Femmes en Blanc' is part of the same route with its own mural at the Place de la Vècquée/Vècquéeplein. Cauvin's creations are also part of the Comics Route in the coastal town Middelkerke. The first was Cédric, who received his own statue designed by Josyanne Vanhoutte in 2008. Since 2 August 2011 'L'Agent 212' is also represented with a statue, sculpted by Monique Mol. On 18 August 2017, the corpulent police officer was honored with another statue at the Rauschenberg square in Westende. On 12 July 2018, a statue of 'Les Tuniques Bleues' was erected in Lambil's birth town Tamines. In the same Walloon town, a statue dedicated to the hussar comic 'Godaille & Godasse' was presented on 5 September 2019, in the presence of Raoul Cauvin, Willy Lambil and relatives of the late Jacques Sandron.

In 2013, Raoul Cauvin's birthtown Antoing named a traffic circle after the famous scriptwriter, 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 Cauvin as well.


Header for 'Le Petit Cauvin Illustré', the special supplement to Spirou #2084 of 1978, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Cauvin's scriptwriting career.

Legacy and influence
With hundreds of published albums and dozens of series, Raoul Cauvin was one of the major scriptwriters of Franco-Belgian comics. His playful scripts helped launch the careers of young artists - such as Philippe Bercovici, Marc Hardy and Laudec - and boosted the ones of more experienced creators, like Willy Lambil and Berck. Overall, Cauvin's work maintained a constant quality and the ability to entertain a wide mainstream audience, despite its unconventional subject matter and cynical humor. His role in half a century of Spirou magazine cannot be underestimated. With his many features, he guided the magazine from its classic era - with André Franquin, Morris and Peyo as prominent authors - into the "modern age", keeping it relevant to younger generations.

His humor and writing style have influenced several later comic book humorists. During the 1990s, Cauvin personally trained François Gilson and Dugomier, two young talents debuting in Spirou magazine. Cauvin's work also inspired many authors of humor comics published Éditions Bamboo, most notably Christophe Cazenove and Sti. The publisher became known for its many comic series based on humor in professions, a Franco-Belgian tradition started by Cauvin. The mix of adventure and historical documentation of 'Les Tuniques Bleues' influenced Marc Armspach during the creation of his World War I comic 'Les Godillots' (2011-2018). Other authors who have named Raoul Cauvin as an influence on their own work have been Achdé, Serge Buyse, Aimée de Jongh and Bas Schuddeboom.

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


Raoul Cauvin and all his characters, drawn by François Walthéry in 2008.

Cauvin's blog at spirou.com

Series and books by Raoul Cauvin you can order today:

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