Comic Creator Fred & Liliane Funcken

Fred & Liliane Funcken

(5 October 1921 - 16 May 2013 & 17 July 1927 - 26 September 2015, Belgium)   Belgium

Fred & Liliane  Funcken

Le Chevalier Blanc by Fred and Liliane Funcken
Le Chevallier Blanc - Sans peur et sans reproche (Tintin, 1954)

The Belgian artist couple Fred and Liliane Funcken are best known for creating various historical comics for the magazine Tintin in the 1950s and 1960s. While most were one-shot stories, they've also created actual series like 'Le Chevalier Blanc' (1953-1973), 'Harald le Viking' (1956-1967), 'Jack Diamond' (1959-1960), 'Lieutenant Burton' (1962-1967), 'Capitan' (1963-1971) and 'Doc Silver' (1967-1969). Their work is characterized by a realistic, precise style which gives their comics a classic touch. Both Fred as well as Liliane collaborated on stories and artwork to the point that their work is indistinguishable from one another.

Early life of Fred and Liliane
Fred Funcken was born in 1921 in Verviers, while Liliane Schorils saw light in 1927 in Soignies. Fred already published his first commercial drawings for a local paper. He began his professional career as an illustrator for the Dupuis magazines Spirou, Bonnes Soirées and Le Moustique in 1939. He drew his first comic stories after joining the studios of Guy Depière in the following year. In his early work, he used a variety of, mostly anglicized, pseudonyms, such as Fred Gu, Fred Dye, Dick John's, Ranch, Mac Bones, Léo Lyon and Hector Hugo.

Clem en Shorty, by Funcken (Heroic, 1956)
Clem et Shorty (Heroic, 1956)

Throughout the 1940s, he illustrated such series as the western 'Bob Hunter' for L'Eclair, 'Bricole', 'Tommy Tuller', 'Wolman' and 'Roberjac' for Bimbo. He was sent to Germany to do forced labour in 1943. He returned in 1944 and and resumed 'Tommy Tuller', while also collaborating with Marcel Moniquet and Fernand Cheneval on 'Akkor, Roi de la Planète' and 'Robin Moderne'. Funcken's art also appeared in Jeep ('Gogo Laroulette') and Blondine ('Les Aventures héroïques de Geneviève'). His comic 'Le Cimetière des Baleines' was published by Campéador in 1947. He was also hired by Havas Belgique as a dummymaker and advertisement artist, and made comic adaptations of Jack London and Rosy Aîné stories for L'Explorateur.

James Butler by Fred Funcken

By 1948, he followed his Épierre colleagues Moniquet, Cheneval and Maurice Tillieux to Cheneval's new magazine Héroic Albums. He continued several of his series from Bimbo but also created new ones like 'Yves et Jannic' (1953) and 'Clem & Shorty' (1956).

Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, by Fred Funcken
Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (Tintin, 1955)

Becoming a couple and creative partners
He also returned to Dupuis through the World's Press agency and illustrated several 'Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul' by Octave Joly, and some romanticized biographies for Bonnes Soirées under the pen name Kendy. Meanwhile, around the same time, Liliane Schorils worked as an executive secretary for the department store Innovation in Brussels. On the side she also wrote stories for Spirou and Bonnes Soirées. In 1949 she and Fred first met while she was designing displays for Innovation. They fell in love, married and started a life-long professional relationship. Liliane co-wrote, inked and colored her husband's drawings, but occasionally illustrated too.

Tintin cover, by Fred & Liliane FunckenTintin cover, by Fred & Liliane Funcken

Tintin magazine
They continued their unique collaboration with Tintin magazine in 1952, where they drew a great many short historical stories scripted by Yves Duval, as well as a variety of adaptations like 'Les Aventures du Chevalier de Lagardère', 'Les Trois Mousquetaires', 'Le Comte de Monte-Cristo' and 'La Tulipte Noire'. Between 1955 and 1962 they made over 1,600 drawings for the series 'L'Histoire du Monde' by abbot J. Schoonjans.

Harald, by Fred & Liliane Funcken
Harald le Viking - L'Escale de la peur (1968)

Le Chevalier Blanc / Harald Le Viking / Jack Diamond / Lieutenant Burton/ Capitan / Doc Silver
Their first series was 'Le Chevalier Blanc' (1953-1963), a medieval series based on an idea by Raymond Macherot. The stories followed a heroic knight who always dressed in white. According to the authors, this comic was the first continental series to be published in English. They created the naval series 'Harald le Viking' in 1956 at the request of the publisher. They created three long stories until 1962 and a couple of short ones until 1967. Other series were 'Jack Diamond' (script by André Fernez, 1959-1960) and several creations in collaboration with Yves Duval, such as 'Lieutenant Burton' (1962-1967), 'Capitan' (1963-1971) and 'Doc Silver' (1967-1969).

Graphic contributions
In 1987-1988 the publishing company Brain Factory International released a four-volume comic book series where Franco-Belgian comic authors visualized several songs by singer Jacques Brel in comic strip form. The third volume, 'Ces Gens-là' (1988) featured a contribution by Funcken.

In 1991 the Funckens were knighted by king Boudewijn/ Baudouin as a Knight in the Order of Leopold.  

Doc Silver by Liliane and Fred Funcken
Doc Silver - La vallée de la peur (1969)

Final years 
The Funckens continued to work with Duval in the 1970s and 1980s. They made the historical epic 'La Plus Grande Histoire du Monde' in 1974, and then 'La Famille des Saint-Preux' (1983-1984). They also made new stories with 'Le Chevalier Blanc' from 1984, this time in cooperation with Didier Convard. In 1993 and 1994, they created two historical comics about Napoleon for La Dernière Heure, 'La Chute de l'Aigle', about the battle at Waterloo, and 'Le Sultan de feu'. Their knowledge of history and their fine documentation, led to their illustrated collection 'L'Encyclopédie des Uniformes et de Armes de Tous les Temps', which appeared in seventeen books from 1965 to 1982. An extra book called 'Les Soldats de la Révolution' followed in 1988.

Fred Funcken passed away in Brussels on 16 May 2013 at age 91, Liliane on 26 September 2015, at age 88.

Capitan by Fred Funcken
Capitan - Mission Spéciale (1973)

Series and books by Fred & Liliane Funcken you can order today:


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