La Bataille de France by Daniel Chauvin
La Bataille de France

Daniel Chauvin was a French artist, with a specialization in aviation artwork. Although he has published a couple of comics himself, he is probably best known as Jijé's assistant on 'Tanguy et Laverdure' and Victor Hubinon's temporary replacement on 'Buck Danny'.

Born in 1939, Chauvin developed an interest in aviation during his childhood. As a young man, he practiced some flying and gliding, and in the mid 1960s he designed planes for his own pleasure. In early 1967 he presented his artwork to Joseph Gillain (Jijé), who had just taken over the aviation comic 'Tanguy & Laverdure' from Albert Uderzo in Pilote magazine. Both Chauvin and his friend Francis Jouet, another aviation amateur, were hired as Jijé's assistants. Jouet stayed for only a short while, but Chauvin worked with the comics grandmaster until early 1971. He was mainly involved in the technical artwork of the airplanes and with the original lettering, starting with the episode 'Les Anges Noirs', but also served as aeronautical advisor. In 1970 he also drew the final three pages of the 'Buck Danny' episode 'Le Pilote au Masque de Cuir' in Spirou, when Victor Hubinon was ill.

Buck Danny by Daniel Chauvin
Buck Danny - Le Pilote au Masque de Cuir, by Daniel Chauvin

Despite receiving much praise of Gillain, he managed to publish only a handful of comics himself, initially under the pen name "Dan". Between 1968 and 1970 a couple of his short stories were published in the magazines Spirou and Pilote, including an installment in Spirou's educational series 'Les Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul'. He was present in Tintin in the early 1980s with illustrations and the short aviation pastiche 'Johnny Bizard' (Super Tintin #16, 1982).


Attaque à 12 mille pieds (Dutch version from Robbedoes #1696, 1970)

His album-length story 'La Cargaison Infernale', starring the character 'Jerry Doblebang', was a parody of pilots on exotic locations, and was created in a style resembling Jijé's caricatural work. The author's main influences for his caricatural work was the unlikely couple of Tex Avery and Maurice Tillieux, however. The editors of Spirou shelved the story however, and only printed it, reduced to two pages per page, in the second Spirou Album+ in 1982. In 1989 he created the comic story 'Panique au Bourget' in cooperation with Jean-Yves Brouard, which appeared in the French magazine Tintin Reporter.


Jerry Dobblebang

During the 1980s, Chauvin produced albums like 'Bob Browning' (Deligne, 1984), 'L'Énigme W' (with Pierre Brochard at Fleurus, 1986) and 'Chassé-Croisé' (with Albéric De Palmaert at Fleurus, 1987). 'L'Énigme W' proved to be the only success of his career. The educational album was commissioned by the Navy, who put much effort in its promotion. The artist was invited for a signing session on board of a French aircraft carrier, and a trip aboard a Naval Aeronautics helicopter. He also assisted Marcel Uderzo on 'Missiles et Sous-Marins' (1985), a book in the comics series about famous historical battles by Larousse. The book was later reprinted in the collection 'Biggles Raconte' by Miklo, for which Chauvin also drew the album 'La Bataille de France' (1995). Chauvin was a longtime collaborator of the puzzle magazine Télé-7 Jeux, for which he drew the monthly riddle comic 'Commissaire Tanquerel'. He was furthermore an illustrator of aeronautical accidents for BSV (Bulletin de Sécurité des Vols), a magazine about safety in the air, published by the French Air Force.


Bob Browning

Throughout his career, Chauvin had a hard time getting his comics published. He applied for the job of succeeding Victor Hubinon on 'Buck Danny' after the artist's death in 1979, but scriptwriter Jean-Michel Charlier vetoed against it. The artist didn't pursue to take over 'Tanguy et Laverdure' after Jijé's death in the following year. According to his friend Jean-Yves Brouard, Chauvin was a talented technical draughtsman, but lacked in his realistic portrayals of human characters. A lifelong struggle with indecisive editors and other letdowns left the artist somewhat bittered. For many years Chauvin was forced to earn his living with the unrewarding task of re-editing famous comics for their pocket publication at J'ai Lu BD. By the mid 1990s he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, of which he died on 1 August 1995 at the age of 56. He didn't live to see the publication of the album 'La Bataille de France' (1995).

Daniel Chauvin

Jean-Yves Brouard on Daniel Chauvin
(en français)

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