Bobo, by Paul Deliège
Bobo - La pri$on dorée (1983)

Belgian comic artist and writer Paul (or "Pol") Deliège was a productive contributor to the Belgian magazine Spirou. His signature comic strip was about  the unlucky prisoner Bobo (1961-1996) and his fruitless attempts to escape. Deliège's second most well known series was 'Les Krostons' (1968-1983): three green gnomes who travel through different dimensions in order to obtain world domination. He was furthermore scriptwriter for other artists, the most famous being Raymond Macherot's 'Sibylline'.

Paul Deliège was born in 1931 in Olne, not far from Liège. From 1957 on he worked in a textile factory while taking a correspondence art course from the ABC in Paris. He had already published his comics 'Félicien et les Romanis' and 'Le Père Bricole' in the Belgian daily Le Soir in 1955.

Théophile et Philibert in Robbedoes #1270
Théophile et Philibert in Robbedoes #1270

He joined the Dupuis art studios in 1958, where he was mainly engaged with the lettering for Robbedoes, the Flemish edition of Spirou. He made his debut in Spirou magazine that same year with two short stories starring his earlier character 'Félicien'. It wasn't until 1960 that he started his first continuing series, 'Théophile et Philibert'. The series lasted for three episodes until 1962, the last two stories were written by Vicq. By 1963 he was making his own short-lived gag series 'Hercule et les autres'.

Hercule et les autres by Deliège
Hercule et les autres (Spirou/Robbedoes #1309, 1963)

Deliège established himself as one of the main artists of Spirou's "mini-books" in the 1960s. His most notable creation for this section of fold-in mini-books was the prisoner 'Bobo', who debuted in 1961. The stories were written by Maurice Rosy with whom Deliège also created the mini-book characters 'Sosthène' (1961) and 'Félix' (1965) as well as 'Bébert' (1963) for the magazine's regular pages.

Bobo by Paul Deliège
Bobo s'évade à nouveau, mini-book from Spirou #1216, 1961

Deliège remained one of the most prominent authors of "mini-récits" until the 1970s with new characters like 'Cabanon' (1965-67) and 'Superdingue' (1967-72). He was also a productive scriptwriter for other artists, including Lagas ('Sam et l'Ours', 1968-75), Salvérius ('Pétit-Cactus', 1968-69), Noël Bissot ('Youk et Yak', 1968-70), Raymond Macherot ('Sibylline', 1972-76) and Mittéï ('Bonaventure', 1980).

Superdingue, by Paul DeliègeCabanon by Deliege
Mini-books heroes Supderingue (left, from Spirou #1517, 1967) and Cabanon (right, from Spirou #1434, 1965)

In addition to his work for Spirou, Deliège made new 'Félicien' stories for the children's section of newspaper Le Soir between 1960 and 1967. He was also present in Bonux-Boy, the advertising mini-comic for Bonux washing powder in 1961, using the pen name Célestin.

Les Krostons, by Paul Deliège
Les Krostons - La maison des mutants (1977)

Deliège teamed up with fellow artist Arthur Piroton in 1968 to create 'Les Krostons', a new series about three small creatures determined to rule the world after coming to life from an artist's drawing board. Deliège and Piroton wrote and drew the first episode for Spirou under their joint signature Max Ariane, who also appeared as the narrator of the early stories and whose looks were based on Belgian singer Marc Aryan. The series was continued solely and on an irregular base by Deliège between 1969 and 1983. Despite being collected in only four books, this series has gained a certain amount of notoriety that by 2011 a 3D motion picture is being prepared.

Bobo by Deliège

Although Deliège has worked on a great variety of comics, it was the character of Bobo and his ill-fated escape attempts that gained him most fame. Appearing on a regular base in Spirou's normal pages from 1973, the comic has been collected in 16 books by Dupuis. Deliège did both script and artwork from then on and added a colorful cast of new characters to the universe of Bobo's prison Inzepocket. In 1980 he was one of many Belgian comic artists to make a graphic contribution to the book 'Il était une fois... les Belges'/'Er waren eens Belgen' (1980), a collection of columns and one-page comics, published at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgium. 

Bobo, by Paul Deliege
Bobo - La carpette volante (Spirou/Robbedoes #2533, 1986)

Deliège, who was always a regular illustrator for Spirou's editorial pages, made an editorial strip called 'Le Trou du Souffleur' from 1987 to 1994. In the final stages of his career, he worked with David Deth on a humorous comic starring the alien 'L'envahisseur' from 1994 to 1996.

Spirou cover by Paul DeliègeSpirou cover by Paul Deliège

Pol Deliège continued 'Bobo' until his retirement in 1996, setting his prisoner free in the final episode in Spirou issue 3057. Several years after retiring from an admirable comics career, Paul Deliège died on 7 July 2005 at the age of 74.

He was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to 'Baston Labaffe no. 5: La Ballade des Baffes’ (Goupil, 1983), an official collective parody comic of  André Franquin’s 'Gaston Lagaffe’. He paid tribute to Nikita Mandryka in the collective comic book 'Tronches de Concombre' (Dupuis, 1995). 

Bobo, by Paul Deliège

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