Bimbo, by Guy Depiere
Mid-1940s book collection of early 'Bimbo, Romarin et Misky' stories, still drawn by Guy Depière himself.

Guy Depière (often misspelled as Guy Depierre) was a Belgian advertising artist, who in the 1940s turned to publishing comic magazines like Bimbo and Jeep. Initially making most of the content himself, his publishing imprint Studio Guy eventually recruited artists like Fred Funcken, Marcel Moniquet, Maurice Tillieux, Fernand Cheneval and Fernand Dineur.

Studio Guy
Depière was active in the Brussels advertising industry, when World War II broke out. Unable to find sufficient assigments to do his profession, he switched to publishing children's magazines instead, using his Studio Guy in the Brussels Rue de la Croix 28.

Aventures Illustrées
Around October 1940, Studio Guy's first magazine was launched under the title Aventures Illustrées. It was an eight-page weekly story paper, entirely written, drawn, edited and published by Depière. A Dutch translation, Geïllustreerde Avonturen, also appeared. The main character and magazine mascot was Uncle Bimbo, an anthropomorphic elephant, who is accompanied on his adventures by the junior hare Romarin and Miksy the mouse. After a couple of issues, the young artist Fred Funcken joined Depière in his production, drawing the western comic 'Tommy Tuller' and the space opera serial 'Akko, Roi des Planètes'.

After thirty issues, Aventures Illustrées/Geïllustreerde Avonturen merged with L'Éclair/De Bliksem, another Brussels comic magazine, published by ESPES. The main artist of L'Éclair was Fred Funcken, whose role became more prominent in the merged magazine, now called Bimbo-Aventures Illustrées. Also joining Studio Guy was Marcel Moniquet, who took over 'Tommy Tuller'. Because of its anglophile content, the Nazis banned Bimbo in September 1942, ending the magazine's first run after 83 issues. To wind up ongoing stories, two more issues and an annual appeared the following year.


Dutch-language edition of Bimbo-Geïllustreerde Avonturen (containing De Bliksem) and the 4 January 1947 issue of Jeep-Blondine.

Bimbo
Shortly after the Belgian Liberation, in October 1944, Bimbo returned; initially only in the French language. Marcel Moniquet and Fred Funcken returned to Depière's studio, while the team was reinforced by Maurice Tillieux, the seventeen year-old Fernand Cheneval and a cartoonist using the pen name Zouc. Most of the wartime features returned, such as 'Tommy Tuller', 'Bimbo' and 'Akko'. Among the new series were the humor feature 'Bricole' and the futuristic 'Robin Moderne'. Using pen names like Oncle Guy and Guy de Falais, Depière kept strict control over the magazine's content. He wrote and edited stories, while letting his artists draw them under anglicized pseudonyms. For instance, Funcken signed his work Fred Gu, Fred Dye, Dick John's, Ranch, Mac Bones, Léo Lyon and Hector Hugo, while Tillieux used the pen names John Cliff, James Jhames, Ronald Scott and Jill Morrison. Another notable feature in Bimbo was 'Joë la Tornade' (1948), an adventure serial by Jean-Michel Charlier and Victor Hubinon, who for the occasion used the shared pen name Charvick.

Jeep-Blondine
In June 1945, Guy Depière launched another magazine, Jeep, aimed at a young boys. His entire crew joined in the production, with particularly Maurice Tillieux becoming a prominent contributor of features like 'La Bande Infernale' and 'Zouzou et Zourzou'. New artists were Fernand Dineur and Albert Weinberg, the latter the assistant of Bimbo contributors Jean-Michel Charlier and Victor Hubinon. By April 1946, Jeep came with a supplement for girls, called Blondine. The title feature was drawn by Marcel Moniquet under the pen name Odette Lachaumière.

Demise
Dutch-language versions of both Bimbo and Jeep were launched in July 1945, but cancelled within the year. From 1945 on, Studio Guy also released book collections of 'Bricole', 'Robin Moderne' and 'Bimbo, Romarin et Miksy'. However, neither Bimbo nor Jeep could compete with the other comic magazines of post-war Belgium, such as Spirou, Tintin, Wrill, Bravo and Story. The final issue of Jeep-Blondine appeared in February 1947, Bimbo managed to continue until April 1949. Most of Studio Guy's art staff - Maurice Tillieux, Albert Weinberg, Fred Funcken, Marcel Moniquet - found employment with Héroïc-Albums, a new comic magazine launched in 1945 by Fernand Cheneval.

Final year and death
After his publishing ventures, Guy Depière turned to making watercolor paintings and posters for the Holland-America Line and the Dover-Ostend Line. He died in 1964.

Legacy
In 2021, the Belgium-based Chilean artist Felipe Muhr revived the concept and graphic style of Studio Guy's classic space comic 'Akko' as the webcomic 'Planet Akkor I: The King of the Planet' on the online art platform KIOSK, as part of the COMICS research project of the University of Ghent. Since 2021, Depière's vintage Uncle Bimbo character serves as the mascot of Club Bimbo, a platform "for material and immaterial exchanges around visual narrative", both as a private Facebook group and a physical venue in the La Crypte Tonique bookshop in Brussels' Bortier Gallery.


Poster by Guy Depière for the Ostend-Dover line.

Series and books by Guy Depière in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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