Les Fourmidables, by Vincent Deporter
'Les Fourmidables' (1996). 

Vincent Deporter was a Belgian cartoonist and storyboard artist, also known as "Mike Deporter". Early in his career, he worked for Spirou magazine, first creating the gag strip 'Crazy Planet' (1987-1989) and then 'Les Fourmidables' (1994-1996), a humor comic about an ants colony. With Philippe Rive, he also made the gag strip 'Roméo' (1984-1996) for the women's weekly Maxi. He later moved to the USA, where he did comic book work for DC Comics' Cartoon Network titles, Nickelodeon Magzazine and 'SpongeBob Comics' (2011-2018).

Early years
Vincent Michel Deporter was born in 1959 in Nivelles, a city in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant. Most of his childhood was however spent in Toronto, Canada, where he developed an interest in cartooning. Among his childhood heroes (and major influences) were Charles M. Schulz, Dik Browne and Jeff MacNelly. During his early cartooning career, Vincent Deporter often adopted the American cartoon strip format, signing his work with an anglicized version of his second name, "Mike Deporter". As a result, his European readers often thought he was American.

Romeo, by Vincent Deporter
'Roméo'. Translation: "Zexwobwx!" - "I think I understand that a dog would please you, son! But what race? A poodle? A dachshund? A pekinese?" - "A St. Bernhard! They are ideal in case of an avalanche!". 

Early career
In 1973, Vincent Deporter returned to Europe, settling in the coastal town Fréjus in Southeastern France. At age sixteen, he had his first job as a land surveyor. In 1978, after moving back to Belgium, his graphic talents were noticed by Jean Graton - creator of the famous racing comic 'Michel Vaillant' - who took him under his wing as his assistant. During the early 1980s, he began working on his own comic projects. One of his first creations was the self-published comic book 'Jeux Olympiques - d'Olympie à Los Angeles' (Michel Vincent, 1984), a comical look at the history of the Olympic Games, written by Xavier Cucuel. Together with his longtime friend Philippe Rive, he co-created the family kids comic 'Roméo' (1984-approx. 1996), reaching a readership of 3.8 million in the French women's weekly Maxi. A book collection was published by Glénat in 1994.

'Crazy Planet' gags from Spirou #2551 (1987). In the first gag the stench of a stinky alien makes everybody walk away, except for one with a fan on his head. In the second gag one alien asks the other to "stop biting his nails", to which it replies: "It's stronger than myself..." 

Crazy Planet
During the 1980s and 1990s, Vincent Deporter - as "Mike Deporter" - worked regularly for the Franco-Belgian comic magazine Spirou, showcasing his talents as a humorist. His first contribution was the American-style gag comic strip 'Crazy Planet' (1987-1989), about an absurd society of alien creatures. Most gags poke fun at their odd physical features. 

Les Fourmidables
Between 1994 and 1996, Deporter created eighty pages of 'Les Fourmidables', a humorous series of gag pages about an anthropomorphic ant colony, published in Spirou. The series also ran in the Dutch-language version of Spirou, Robbedoes, as 'De Mierakels'. Initially writing most of the gags himself, he was later aided by Philippe Rive, until his wife Judith Rucar assumed the scriptwriting duties. In 2003, Éditions Bamboo released a book collection of 'Les Fourmidables', containing a selection of the Spirou gags. In the following year, a second volume was published with brand new gags drawn by Deporter from scripts by the scriptwriting duo BéKa (Caroline Roque and Bertrand Escaich).

Collaborations with Thierry Capezzone
At Spirou, Deporter became good friends with the young cartoonist Thierry Capezzone, whom he supported and with whom he made 'Les Dingo-pubs' (1993-1994), a cartoon series with fake advertisements. Deporter and Capezzone also joined Michel Rodrigue in the production of new adventures with 'Les Pieds Nickelés' (1991-1992), the three French comic book scoundrels created in 1908 by Louis Forton and then drawn for decades by René Pellos. Using the collective pen name (Studio) Cadero, the team of Rodrigue-Deporter-Capezzone created three new albums for publisher Vents d'Ouest. Later in life, Vincent Deporter continued to work with Thierry Capezzone as the colorist of Capezzone's comics about the history of Denmark for the Danish market.

Collaborations with Judith Rucar
Still in the early 1990s, Vincent Deporter also worked on several comic projects with his wife Judith Rucar. Besides the scripts for 'Les Fourmidables', Rucar also wrote 'Les Aventures de Merlin' (1992), a promotional comic book for the children's clothing brand Catimini. In 1994, the pair also created 'Mimi Siku - Un Indien dans la Ville' (Glénat, 1994), the official comic book adaptation of the French film 'Un Indien dans la Ville' ('Little Indian, Big City') by Hervé Palud and Thierry Lhermitte. Vincent Deporter was also a storyboard artist for the film.

Scooby-Doo: 'A Real Steal' (Scooby-Doo! #121, 2007).

United States
In 1996, Vincent Deporter and his family moved to the United States, initially settling in New York City. He then moved to upstate New York, then to Atlanta, Georgia, and eventually to Arizona, where he lived in Surprise, Maricopa County. Already in July 1992, his first contribution to an American comic had appeared, when Paul Coker Jr. drew one of his gag ideas for the back cover of Mad Magazine issue #312.

DC Comics
Living in the States, Deporter began a collaboration with DC Comics, first doing style guides for Batman and Superman, but then working mostly on the company's comic book line with Cartoon Network characters. During this period, he was mostly credited as "Vince Deporter". Between 1999 and 2010, he was cover and story artist for DC's 'Scooby-Doo' title, while for the anthology series 'Cartoon Cartoons' he did the 'Ed, Edd n Eddy' feature with writer Michael Kraiger (2001-2002). For DC's Paradox Press imprint, he contributed to the anthology titles 'The Big Book of Bad' (1998), 'The Big Book of the Weird Wild West' (1998), 'The Big Book of Vice' (1999) and 'The Big Book of Grimm' (1999). Apart from humorous material, Deporter also provided inking many of DC's Batman and Superman style-guides.

Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, by Vincent Deporter
'Mental Delivery' (SpongeBob Comics #4, 2011).

Nickelodeon comics
Outside DC Comics, Vincent Deporter also worked extensively for Nickelodeon. In the station's magazine Nickelodeon Magazine, he spent many years drawing comic strips based on the animated TV series 'Rugrats', 'The Wild Thornberries' and 'SpongeBob Squarepants'. After the magazine's cancellation in 2009, Deporter continued to work with Stephen Hillenburg's SpongeBob character in the newly launched 'SpongeBob Comics' series (2011-2018, published by United Plankton Pictures. He also provided the illustrations to several Ready-to-Read books with 'SpongeBob Squarepants', written by Steven Banks and other authors.

Other work
In addition to his cartooning work, Deporter illustrated the philosophical book 'Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World' (2015) by the host of The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews. Coming from a lone paternal line of photographers, he was also active as an amateur photographer, as well as a painter.

Death and legacy
After a year of failing health, Vincent Deporter died from a heart condition in 2022 in Surprise, Arizona. He was 63 years old. Even though he had spent over 25 years in the USA, he was far from forgotten in his home country Belgium, according to online response to his passing. Colleagues like Thierry Capezzone and Michel Rodrigue, as well as former Spirou editor-in-chief Thierry Tinlot praised his talent, friendship and motivational qualities. Olivier Sulpice, scriptwriter and founder of Éditions Bamboo, recalled that a meeting at age 18 with Vincent Deporter during a comics festival, inspired him to devote his career to comics.

Vincent Deporter. 

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