'Le Mystère de la Vallée du Diable' (Spirou #35, 28 August 1941).

Joë Ceurvorst was a mid-20th century Blegian illustrator/reporter, whose drawings appeared in Spirou magazine and its Flemish counterpart Robbedoes during the period 1939-1946. He was therefore part of the first generation of local artists of this Belgian comic magazine, appearing alongside Rob-Vel, Davine, Jijé, Sirius, Fernand Dineur, Marcel Antoine, François Vanhamme, Joë Muray, Al Peclers and Charlie Delhauteur. Author Frans Lambeau mentions in his book 'Dictionnaire Illustré de la Bande Dessinée Belge sous l'Occupation' (André Versaille Éditeur, 2013) that Joë Muray was a pen name of Ceurvorst and that his real name was Joseph Demeulenaere. Another source mentions Raymond De Meulenaere as Joë Muray's real name. It is possible that the author used Muray to sign his more caricatural work and Ceurvorst for his realistic and journalistic work, but more clarity on this matter would be welcome. It is however a fact that the man undertook his 1950s African jeep expedition under the name Ceurvorst.

Header for 'La Saint Nicolas du soldat' (Spirou #49, 1939).

Early life and career
Joë Ceurvorst had an adventurous early life. He worked on a ranch in the Canadian Rocky Mountains when he was called back to Europe for his military service during World War I. Back in civilian life, he travelled through Africa, before returning to America and beginning his career in journalism. He came back to Europe in 1939, and began his collaboration with the publishing house Dupuis. One of his first appearances in Spirou magazine were the illustrations for the short text story 'La Saint Nicolas du soldat' by editor-in-chief Jean Doisy in issue #49 of 1939. The illustrations for Doisy's serial 'O.K. Corrigan' (1939) are sometimes also attributed to him, but the artwork is credited to Joë Muray

'Le Péril Vert' (Spirou, 12 March 1942).

Paul Cartier
In 1941, Ceurvorst drew two long comic stories with reporter/detective 'Paul Cartier' for Spirou: 'Le Mystère de la Vallée du Diable' (46 episodes, 1941) and 'Le Péril Vert' (34 episodes, 1941-1942). These stories appeared only in Spirou and not in Robbedoes, and showed influences from both Hergé's 'Tintin' and Alex Raymond's 'Flash Gordon'. Remarkably enough, 'Paul Cartier' returned in 1945-1946 with 'De Doodende Straal' (40 episodes, als known as 'De Meesters Van Den Doodenstraal'), a new story which only ran in Robbedoes, and not in Spirou. Note that this is not a translation of one of the previous episodes, nor is it the story of the same name which appeared in the Flemish ABC magazine in 1939 (this was a comic by Dutch artist Marten Toonder). Ceurvorst also made illustrations for the other magazines of Éditions Dupuis, such as Les Bonnes Soirées.

De Doodende Straal, by Joe Ceurvorst (1946)
'De Doodende Straal' (Robbedoes #322, 20 June 1946).

Africa In A Jeep
In 1950, Joe Ceurvorst undertook a jeep expedition through the African continent in his Willys MB jeep, which he nicknamed "Mosquito". He was accompanied by his young relative Jane Barbier and a dog called Pelish, and crossed 3500 kilometers in 15 days. Ceurvorst chronicled his experiences in the book 'L'Afrique en Jeep: Sahara-Niger-Congo-Nil-35.000 Km' (Hatier-Boivin, 1952). An English translation by Marvyn Savil called 'Africa in a Jeep' was published by Staples Press in 1956. Ceurvorst was additionally a translator of foreign novels for the publishing house Marabout in the 1960s, including a new edition of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus' (1964).

Joe Ceurvorst in Africa
Joe Ceurvorst and his jeep Mosquito in Africa, 1950.

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