Rha-Gnagna, by Gotlib
Cover illustration for the book compilation 'Rhâ-GnaGna'. 

Marcel Gotlib was a French comic artist. He was one of the most talented and influential humorists. His virtuose and energetic style is instantly recognizable. A combination of quick-paced madcap humor, exaggerated expressions, pop culture references and snappy verbal comedy, much like a Looney Tunes cartoon. Gotlib made comics both for children ('Gai-Luron' [1964-1986], 'Les Dingodossiers' [1965-1968], 'La Rubrique-à-Brac' [1968-1972]), as well as more controversial and risqué material for adults ('Hamster Jovial' [1971-1974], 'Superdupont' [1972-...], 'Pervers Pépère' [1976-1981]). He was the co-creator of two groundbreaking comic magazines for a more mature audience, namely L'Écho des Savanes (1973) and Fluide Glacial (1975). As such, his impact on adult comics, particularly in the French-language comic world, cannot be underestimated.

La Rubrique-à-Brac

Early life and influences
He was born in 1934 as Marcel Mordekhaï Gottlieb in Paris as the son of Jewish-Hungarian-Romanian parents. His father was a house painter, while his mother made clothing. From a young age Gotlib enjoyed drawing. He frequently scribbled the walls with drawings, only to have his father clean everything off again on a weekly basis. During World War II the Gotlibs went into hiding from the Nazis. His mother, sister and himself survived the war by keeping a low profile in the French country villages Vigneux-sur-Seine and Eure-et-Loir. Gotlib's father was less lucky. He was betrayed by the caretaker of their Parisian apartment and send off to Buchenwald, where he was executed. After the Liberation (1944) Gotlib's mother picked up her former profession, while little Marcel and his sister finished their education. In 1951 17-year old Marcel left school and became a stacker for a pharmaceutical company. He followed evening classes at L'École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Dupetit-Thouard, where one of his teachers was Georges Pichard. At Sundays he performed as an amateur comedian. Among Gotlib's main graphic influences were André Franquin, Mad Magazine (particularly the work of Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Jack Davis and last but not least Wallace Wood), Hara-Kiri/ Charlie Hebdo, René Goscinny, Tex Avery and Robert Crumb. But he drew equally strong inspiration from comedians such as The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Coluche and Monty Python, not to mention musicians like The Beatles, Georges Brassens and Frank Zappa, whom he frequently gave cameos in his comics.

Early graphic/ comics career
In 1954, Gotlib applied for a job as a letterer at the Édi-Monde agency and the Opera Mundi agency, who provided French translations of American comic strips to French papers and magazines. He soon lettered speech balloons for the Disney magazine Le Journal de Mickey and the women's publication Confidences. In the late 1950s he illustrated several children's books with colorist Claudie Liégeois, whom he would marry in 1962. He didn't sign with his real name yet, but preferred pseudonyms like Mar-Got, Garmo or Marclau. In 1959 Gotlib published his first comic strip, 'Le Général Dourakine' (1959), a text comic based on the famous novel by the Countess de Ségur.

'Nanar, Jujube & Piette', starring Gai-Luron the dog. 

In 1962 the young artist joined the children's magazine Vaillant, where he started adventure series like 'Gilou et La Plume de Paon' (1962), 'Le Papoose' (1962), 'Puck et Poil' (1962) and the gag comic 'Klop' (1963). His longest-running comic series in this magazine was 'Nanar, Jujube & Piette' (1962-1965), which he published under the pseudonym Garm. It centered around the jocular boy Nanar, his little girlfriend Piette, the malicious fox Jujube, farmer Laglume, poet Monsieur Joachim and Nanar's uncles Basile and Blaise. Gradually, most of these characters were scrapped in favor of Jujube, who became more anthropomorphic in time. On 12 July 1964 the fox received a sidekick: the melancholic basset hound Gai-Luron. Obviously inspired by Tex Avery's 'Droopy', Gai-Luron's imperturbability provides a hilarious contrast with Jujube's more lively behaviour. The dog inspires absurd gags and frequently breaks the fourth wall in an Averyesque manner. Gotlib also made the two canines rivals. Jujube always tries to seduce Gai-Luron's girlfriend Belle-Lurette and is extremely jealous that Gai-Luron receives more fanmail. As a running gag all their fan letters were written by one and the same person: a little kid named Jean-Pierre Liégeois. Few readers at the time knew that this was an inside joke. It was actually the name of Gotlib's father-in-law.

Gai-Luron by Gotlib
'Gai-Luron, ou La Joie de Vivre' (Pif Gadget #6, 31 March 1969).

Gai-Luron was also popular in real life. He upstaged Jujube to the point that in 1967 the series was eventually renamed after him. Gotlib drew an episode in which Gai-Luron and Jujube visit the head office of Vaillant, where the fox is shocked to learn that "his contract won't be renewed", while Gai-Luron receives a spin-off series. In 1969, when Vaillant became Pif-Gadget, 'Gai-Luron' also received a new title: 'Gai Luron, ou La Joie de Vivre' ('Gai-Luron, or the Joy of Life'). Yet at that point Gotlib had lost interest in the character and passed his creation on to his assistant Henri Dufranne, while he kept writing the gags. In 1971 Dufranne took over writing too and continued the series until 1976. 'Gai-Luron' was translated in other languages, such as Dutch ('Lobbes') and German ('Witzbold'). It took until 1975 before the comics became available in album format, but they became instant bestsellers. The second album, 'Gai-Luron en écrase méchamment' (1975), won the award for 'Best French humor comic' at the Festival of Angoulême that year.

Les Dingodossiers by Gotlib and Goscinny
'Les Dingodossiers'.

Les Dingodossiers
In 1965, Gotlib drew an educational comic series, 'Professeur Frédéric Rosebif' (1965), for the magazine Record. This led to a job at the best-selling French comic magazine of that time: Pilote. Together with its co-founder and chief editor René Goscinny, Gotlib launched the series 'Les Dingodossiers' (1965-1968), of which the first episode appeared in issue #292 (27 May 1965). The comic is a funny parody of educational comics. Each episode centers around a question or a subject, usually asked by a little boy named Chaprot. Chaprot's naïvité and rampant spelling errors are very reminiscent of Goscinny and Sempé's other comic series 'Le Petit Nicolas'. Yet the answers the boy receives are equally silly.  A wide variety of topics are covered, including space travel, animal life, tourists and the correct way to feed a baby. Goscinny's love of verbal comedy, satire and stereotypes and Gotlib's talent for hilarious characterization and cartoony slapstick proved to be a golden combination. 'Les Dingodossiers' is still regarded as a classic in French comic history. But as Goscinny's workload became heavier he decided to drop all his scriptwriting in favor of just his three most succesful comic series, namely 'Astérix' (drawn by Albert Uderzo), 'Iznogoud' (by Jean Tabary) and 'Lucky Luke' (by Morris). The final episode of 'Les Dingodossiers' ran in issue #436 (29 February 1968). 

Commissaire Bougret by Gotlib
'Bougret et Charolles'. Note the cameo of René Goscinny in the flashlight. 

After Goscinny retired from 'Les Dingodossiers', Gotlib continued the series on his own in Pilote, but out of respect for his former scriptrwriter, he changed the title. From 11 January 1968 on, the series was renamed 'Rubrique-à-Brac' (1968-1972). While it has a similar tone, Gotlib went into a more personal and absurd direction. Fairy tales, films, songs, TV shows, cartoons, comics, history and commercials are frequently parodied and give the artist the opportunity to create beautiful caricatures. The zany comedy is peppered with weird transitions and non-sequiturs, which appealed more to teenagers than young children. One recurring character is Professeur Burp, a zoologist whose so-called "facts" about animals are basically bogus. Physicist Isaac Newton's cameos are the series' most famous running gag. Newton always pops up out of nowhere, after which he is hit on the head by apples and other falling objects. The final episode of 'Rubrique-à-Brac' was published on 28 December 1972. 

'Rubrique-à-Brac' (Pilote #630, 2 December 1971)

Two other recurring characters are commissioner Bougret and his assistant Charolles. These police inspectors frequently try to solve absurd mysteries, but only concentrate on two usual suspects. The first one, Aristidès Othon Frédéric Wilfrid, always looks incredibly suspicious. The second one, Blondeaux Georges Jacques Babylas, has an innocent aura and is nice and cooperative. Yet invariably the culprit turns out to be Babylas, based on far-fetched and illogical reasons. Bougret's name was a portmanteau of commissioner Bourrel from the TV series 'Les Cinq Dernières Minutes' (1958-1973) and - obviously - 'Inspecteur Maigret' by Belgian novelist Georges Simenon. The concept itself was based on the radio show 'Feu de Camp du Dimanche Matin' (1969), where the same characters appeared. They were also voiced by Gotlib and several of his colleagues, hence explaining why the comic book versions share the same looks as their voice actors. Bougret and Charolles' faces are caricatures of cartoonist Gébé and Gotlib himself, while Wilfrid is a lookalike of Fred and Babylas the spitting image of Goscinny. The characters inspired Patrice Leconte's police film comedy 'Les Vécés Étaient Fermés de l'Intérieur' (1976), starring Coluche. Gotlib co-wrote the film script and Jean Solé designed the poster. In 1997 Maëster and Gotlib created a reboot of Bougret et Charolles, where Charolles was now the commissioner (and still a caricature of Gotlib) and Inspector Piggs (a caricature of Maëster) his assistant. 

René Goscinny has a guest appearance in 'Rubrique-à-Brac'.

La Coccinelle (The Ladybug)
Another iconic character who debuted in 'Rubrique-à-Brac' was a tiny ladybug. It always appears somewhere in the background, commenting on whatever insanity took place in the foreground. Although the insect never received a name or a starring role, Gotlib kept drawing him in the backgrounds of most of his later comics. He later admitted that the ladybug was mere page filler, to avoid having to draw entire backgrounds. He was inspired by the first issues of Mad Magazine, where the artists usually stacked up every panel with extra jokes. The ladybug became somewhat of Gotlib's signature character. Despite never receiving a comics spin-off, it did star in a 1993 animated TV series, 'La Coccinelle de Gotlib'. It was produced by Dargaud Films and Fantôme Animation and broadcast on the pay channel Canal+. Later in his career Gotlib's backgrounds became increasingly more minimalistic, often being nothing more but a white void. This allowed the reader to focus more on the characters and their busy actions and gave the artist the opportunity to fill up the panels with more visual and verbal jokes.

Hamster Jovial by Gotlib
'Hamster Jovial'. Dutch-language version. 

Hamster Jovial
In the early 1970s, Gotlib drew his first genuine adult comic strip 'Hamster Jovial et ses Louveteaux' (December 1971 - June 1974) for the music magazine Rock et Folk. The gag comic featured a well-meaning but incredibly naïve scouts leader whose totem name is "Jovial Hamster". Hamster is a firm believer in Baden-Powell's philosophy of doing good deeds. He tries to entertain his young cubs and lecture them in the field of ethics. Unfortunately the two little boys and girl are more interested in tormenting their teacher and having sex with each another. Already risqué back in the 1970s, many gags are nowadays perhaps even more disturbing. In one gag the little girl asks Jovial to impregnate her. After dismissing her offer it turns out she's already pregnant and just wanted him to take the blame for it, rather than her prepubescent boyfriend. In another gag Hamster and one of the boys visit a sperm bank. Hamster only manages to fill up the bottom of a cup, while the little kid's has a bucket full of it, too heavy to carry even. Gotlib liked the idea of a scouts leader appearing in a rock magazine, because the two worlds were so distant from one another. Yet he didn't forget his target audience. In several gags Hamster listens to rock records, attends concerts or watches performances on television. He usually tries to imitate them afterwards, in order to appeal more to his young cubs. This leads to various cameos and winks to artists and bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jethro Tull, Magma, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.

Hamster Jovial by Gotlib
'Hamster Jovial'.

From the 1970s on, Gotlib took a seat back and focused on scriptwriting. Between 1970 and 1974, he penned the gags for a series of parody comics illustrated by Alexis. In the tradition of Mad Magazine they spoofed various media, such as swashbuckler movies, the TV series 'The Avengers' and literary classics by William Shakespeare, Nikolai Gogol, Alexandre Dumas, the Countess of Ségur and Victor Hugo. All episodes were published in Pilote and later made available in book form under the collective name 'Cinémastock'. Gotlib and Alexis also teamed up to create 'La Publicité Dans La Joie' (1974-1977), which spoofed TV commercials in comic strip form. These gags were later collected in the album 'Dans la Joie jusqu'au Cou' (1978).

Superdupont by Gotlib
'Kung Fu Glacial', featuring Superdupont vs. Bruce Lee. (Fluide Glacial #2, 1 August 1975).

By far the most popular feature in Pilote (and in Fluide Glacial from 1975 on) was 'Superdupont' (1972-1995), which Gotlib created with Jacques Lob. This superhero parody stars a stereotypical chauvinistic Frenchman who fights for Francofone culture. He wears the French "tricolore" on his body, has a Gallic rooster for a pet, only smokes Gauloises cigarettes and always has a supply of baguettes, wine and cheese near. Naturally he is an expert in the French combat technique savate. Storylines have him fight off foreigners (basically anyone not born between his country's borders), the Euro and even the Chinese ink in which he is drawn. Yet whenever he hears the Marseillaise being played in reverse he loses his powers. As Gotlib's most political work, 'Superdupont' naturally had several cameos of well known French politicians of the day, including Jacques Chirac, Giscard d'Estaing and François Mitterrand. Originally Gotlib drew the series personally, but he eventually passed the pencil to other artists while he and Lob remained the main scriptwriters. Readers enjoyed Superdupont's antics so much that it became Gotlib's longest-running creation, continued by artists like Alexis, Jean Solé, Neal Adams, Al Coutelis, Daniel Goossens, Lefred-Thouron and François Boucq. It eventually started to live a life of its own. Jérôme Savary adapted the character into a comedy musical named 'Superdupont Ze Show' (1982), which even played at the Odéon Theater in Paris. Roger Leiner based his own stereotypical Luxembourg superhero 'Superjhemp' on 'Superdupont'. Unfortunately some readers didn't get the satire. The French extreme-right party Le Front National used Superdupont as a mascot, with their founder and leader Jean-Marie Le Pen even expressed his admiration for the character. As a result Gotlib and his artists quit the series in 1995 for a long while, but in 2008 the franchise was revived with new satirical adventures.

Les Clopinettes
Another comic strip by Gotlib published in Pilote was the odd gag comic 'Les Clopinettes' (1970-1973), drawn by Nikita Mandryka. It featured nonsensical one-page tales with ridiculous morals.

Comics writing
Over the years Gotlib also collaborated as a scriptwriter with artists like François Boucq ('Point de Fuite Pour Les Braves', Casterman, 1986), Loro, Claire Bretécher, Jean Giraud, Claude Poppé, Jean Guihard, Jean-Marc Reiser, Gébé, Fred, Martial, Jean Chakir, Philippe Druillet, René Hausman, Jean Mulatier and Zep. He also wrote a few gags for his hero André Franquin, such as 'Le Pétomane et le Renard' (1977), 'Slowburn' (1977) and 'L'Histoire de la Mouche qui Repeint Son Plafond' (1978). 

L'Exorcisme by Gotlib
'L'Exorcisme' (L'Écho des Savanes #10, 1 December 1974).

L'Écho des Savanes
As succesful as Gotlib was, he still felt frustrated that he couldn't always draw what he wanted. A man of his time, he supported the social changes brought along by the student protests of May 1968. He tried to convince Goscinny and his publisher Georges Dargaud to make more room in Pilote for mature content. When they insisted on keeping everything child friendly, a heated argument took place. In 1972 Gotlib, Nikita Mandryka and Claire Bretécher left and created a magazine of their own: L'Écho des Savanes. Goscinny never forgave them for this. The fact that he was never able to reconcile his friendship with one of his mentors depressed Gotlib severely. He went into psychotherapy and the comics he made during this dark period of his life were an outlet for his thoughts and frustrations. Many were extremely provocative and obscene, such as the gag series 'Momo Le Morbaque' (1973-1974) about the adventures of a little pubic louse.

God's Club
'Gods Club' (L'Écho des Savanes #6, 1 January 1974).

One of Gotlib's most infamous one-shot comics was 'God's Club' (1974), which features the world's most famous gods (Zeus, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha and Wodan) getting drunk, playing vulgar pranks on one another and watching porn. As Gotlib once said with some understatement: "You wouldn't be able to publish something like that today". At the same time he also drew more psycho-analytical comics like 'La Coulpe' (1973), in which he portrays himself going through an identity crisis and meeting both his signature characters as well as people from his personal life. Still, his trademark humor was never far away.

La Coulpe by Gotlib
'La Coulpe', in which Gotlib appears as himself, suffering from writer's block (L'Écho des Savanes #3, 1 April 1973).

Fluide Glacial
Early issues of L'Écho des Savanes only contained material by its founders, but the magazine unexpectedly struck a nerve among readers. Many artists whose daring or controversial work couldn't be published elsewhere joined Écho's ranks: Jean Solé, Alexis, Georges Pichard, René Pétillon, Yves Got, Paul Gillon, Martin Veyron, Jacques Lob, Daniel and Alex Varenne. As the magazine gradually became more lucrative, its founders were still forced to sell it to a publishing concern, because they lacked enough commercial experience. After the 11th issue Gotlib left and, together with Alexis and Gotlib's childhood friend Jacques Diament, launched yet another adult comic magazine on 1 April 1975: Fluide Glacial.

Comic strip from Fluide Glacial.

Fluide Glacial finally gave Gotlib the independence he craved for. Not for nothing did the magazine eventually receive the nickname "Le journal de Gotlib" ("Gotlib's paper"). He went all out in creating gag comics and one-shot stories with depraved violent, scatological, sexual, blasphemous and political content. He enjoyed giving many celebrities and cult heroes cameos, such as Georges Brassens, Bruce Lee, Tarzan, Tina Turner, Frank Zappa and the Marx Brothers. Even himself and his own signature characters weren't spared.

Fluide Glacial 75
Covers for Fluide Glacial #36 (June 1979) and #75 (September 1982). The first cover is a parody of The Beatles' album 'Sergeant Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band', featuring Pervers Pepère up front. Behind him, on the left, we recognize Tarzan, Superdupont, singer Georges Brassens, commissioner Bougret (holding a photo of René Goscinny) and his assistant Charolles (from 'Rubrique-à-Brac') singer Jean Ferrat, Gai-Luron, two typical not-so-innocent children from Gotlib's comics and his nameless signature character: the Ladybug. Behind Pépère, on the right, we can spot Woody Allen, rock musician Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Hamster Jovial, Isaac Newton & Professeur Burp (from 'Rubrique-à-Brac') and Mr. Gumby from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'. 

Pop et Rock et Colégram
While many of Gotlib's comics were one-shots, he did create two more longer-running series as well. The first was 'Pop et Rock et Colégram' (1975-1978), where Gotlib and Jean Solé drew literal French translations of English rock lyrics in comic strip form. The translations themselves were done by rock journalist Alain Dister and deliberately kept as literal as possible, for comedic effect. If ever proof was needed that English song lyrics are just as corny and nonsensical as other languages then here it was. Among the artists whose lyrical qualities were contested were the Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Patti Smith, Frank Zappa, Genesis, Magma and Roxy Music.

Pervers Pépère
'Pervers Pépère'.

Pervers Pépère
Gotlib's second popular series for Fluide Glacial was 'Pervers Pépère' (1976-1981), who debuted in issue #7 (10 November 1976). The pantomime comic centers around a dirty old man whose nose is always dripping. Pépère takes sadistic delight in tricking people. In one gag he eats garlic soup, then pretends to faint while walking in the street. As scoutsleader Hamster Jovial gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation the disgusting taste makes Jovial to throw up afterwards. Another gag has Pépère pull off the pants of a friendly priest while the man is dozing off on a bench in the park. Pépère then fetches a policeman to expose the priest as a child molester. Sometimes the pervert unexpectedly does something innocent or totally different, leaving his victims confused. One gag has him visit a prostitute to "show her his stamp collection", which he literally does. In another he invites a little girl to sit on his lap and puts her hands in his pants… after which she gets snapped by a mouse trap! Every final panel has him explode with laughter over his malicious "jokes". Gotlib claimed that the character was inspired by Uncle Pervy from Cheech & Chong's records. Pépère himself also inspired Eric Schreurs' 'Adrianus'. The final gag of 'Pervers Pépère' appeared in issue #60 (20 May 1981), but Fluide Glacial occasionally reprinted old episodes over the decades. 

Le joli matin tout plein de lumièreLe joli matin tout plein de lumière
Morning rituals in 'Le Joli Matin Tout Plein De Lumière' (L'Écho des Savanes #1).

L'Écho and Fluide Glacial's other cartoonists
Gotlib's work for L'Écho was collected in the album series 'Rhââ Lovely!' (1976-1978), while his work for Fluide Glacial became available in book form as 'Rhâ-Gnagna' (1979-1980), both by Fluide Glacial's publishing imprint Audie. The line 'Rhââ Lovely!' was borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock's thriller 'Frenzy' (1975), where a rapist shouts the same thing at his victim. Both L'Écho des Savanes and particularly Fluide Glacial gave Gotlib a springboard for all of his uncensored ideas. At the time there were no French comic magazines exclusively aiming at an adult demographic. The closest predecessor was Hara Kiri/Charlie-Hebdo, but this was never devoted to just cartoons and comics alone. L'Écho des Savanes and Fluide Glacial thus attracted many interested readers and equally plenty artists and writers. Fluide Glacial's pages were a home for Jean Solé, Francis Masse, Claude Lacroix, Jean-Claude Forest, Christian Binet, Édika, Jean-Pierre Hugot, Jean-Marc Lelong, F'Murr, Lucques, Bruno Léandri, Yves Frémion, Andre Igwal, Phil Casoar, Philippe Foerster, Patrick Moerell, Al Coutelis, Maëster, Coyote, Manu Larcenet, Michel Gaudelette, Jean-Yves Ferri, Blutch, Tronchet, Jean-Michel Thiriet, Relom, Daniel Goossens and foreign authors like André Franquin, Guido Buzzelli and Carlos Giménez. Translations of Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder's comics for Mad Magazine and underground comix were also welcome.

Humor by Gotlib for Fluide Glacial
Comic strip from Fluide Glacial. 

Yet as he grew older, Gotlib became more preoccupied with writing editorials for Fluide Glacial such as 'La Parole Bien Sentie', 'Sous Le Coup De La Loi', 'Salut Les P'tits Clous' and 'Editiotide', for which he also designed the logos. He wrote about many topics, but free speech was dearest to his hart. In 1979 he and Georges Wolinski created and illustrated a text 'À bas la censure hypocrite', which was published in several magazines at once, namely À Suivre, Fluide Glacial, Pilote, Métal Hurlant, Charlie Mensuel, BD et L'Écho des Savanes.

Gai-Luron (2)
However, between 1984 and 1986 he resuscitated 'Gai-Luron' in Fluide Glacial when the back-catalogue was re-published by Audie and needed promotion. The new Gai-Luron stories were far more crude than the originals. In the first episode, 'Gai Luron en Slip', the dog realizes that – throughout all those years – he has always appeared in the nude. He quickly puts on some underpants, even though his large fallus is still visible underneath. Gotlib drew enough new stories for a final album, 'La Bataille Navale', but after 1986 he basically quit drawing. In 2016 Pixel Vengeur and Fabcaro created a new series of comics about Gai-Luron, with Gotlib's approval, but without his involvement.

'Durandal' (Fluide Glacial #7, 10 November 1976).

Radio and music career
Gotlib was also active in other media. Together with Goscinny, Gébé and Fred he hosted the short-lived radio show 'Le Feu de Camp du Dimanche Matin' (1969-1970) on Europe 1. In 1973 he designed the album cover for French guitarist Marcel Dadi's record 'La Guitare à Dadi' (1974). Gotlib too wrote two songs once, namely 'Je Suis Un Mauvais Français' and 'Les Bougresses', both which appeared on a single performed by Albert Montias. The record came with a small comic strip in which Gotlib illustrated the song lyrics.

Film career
Gotlib acted in two films by Patrice Leconte, namely 'Tout à la Plume, Rien au Pinceau' (1970) and 'Le Laboratoire de l' Angoisse' (1971). He also played a small part as a chemist in Jacques Doillon's cult classic 'L'An 01' (1973), based on Gébé's comic strip. The picture also features Daniel Auteuil, Miou-Miou, Coluche, Gérard Depardieu and well known comic authors such as Gébé, Cabu, François Cavanna, Georges Wolinski and Professeur Choron from Hara-Kiri (nowadays Charlie-Hebdo) and even Lee Falk and Stan Lee in supporting roles. Gotlib animated the opening titles to Pierre Tchernia's comedy 'Le Viager' (1972) - co-written with Goscinny - and played the store owner in Doillon's film 'Les Doigts Dans La Tête' (1974). He also designed the French movie poster for the first Monty Python film 'And Now For Something Completely Different' (1973) and met the Python actors in person during the 1980 Paris premier of their film 'Monty Python's Life of Brian' (1979).

Proud Mary by Gotlib
Tina Turner performing 'Proud Mary'. Gag from L'Écho des Savanes issue #3 (1 April 1973). 

In 1982 Gotlib and Jean Solé designed the movie poster for the Snow White parody 'Elle Voit Des Nains Partout!' (1982) by Jean-Claude Sussfeld. He teamed up as a scenarist with Pierre Tchernia again for his comedy film 'Bonjour l'Angoisse' (1988), in which Gotlib also has a small cameo near the end during the buffet scene. Together with Gérard Krawczyk he co-wrote the script of Sylvain Madigan's 'Strangers Dans La Nuit' (1991). Futher acting parts could be seen in Krawczyk's film 'Je Hais Les Acteurs' (1986) - where Gotlib played a bar keeper - and Didier Tronchet's 'Le Nouveau Jean-Claude' (2002), a movie adaptation of his own comic 'Jean-Claude Tergal', in which Gotlib performed a taxi passenger. The comics legend played himself in Laurent Baffe's 'Les Clefs de Bagnole' (2003) and Ferdinand Dupont in the film 'Belgique For Sale (Sans Le "T") (2006) by Stefan Liberski and Frédéric Jannin. Together with Albert Uderzo he illustrated Richard Gotainer's book 'Vive la Gaule' (1987).

Self-portrait, referencing 'A Clockwork Orange'. 

Graphic and written contributions
Gotlib made a graphic contribution to Marion Vidal's 'Monsieur Schulz et ses Peanuts’ (Albin Michel, 1976), an essay about Charles M. Schulz’ 'Peanuts’, illustrated with subversive parodies of the comic, that Schulz unsuccessfully tried to sue. Gotlib was also one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to 'Pepperland’ (1980), a collective comic book tribute to the store Pepperland, to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the time. Gotlib wrote a short story for the collective comic book 'Allez Coucher, Sales Bêtes' (1991), drawn by René Hausman. He wrote the foreword and made a graphic contribution to the book 'Françaises, Français, Belges, Belges, Lecteur Chéri, Mon Amour' (Jungle!, 2005), in which comic artists illustrated short stories by comedian Pierre Desproges. He paid tribute to Nikita Mandryka in the collective comic book 'Tronches de Concombre' (Dupuis, 1995). Gotlib scripted comics for the anti-racism collective comic book 'Rire Contre Le Racisme' (Jungle!, 2006). 

He also wrote the foreword to Claire Bretécher's 'Les États d'âme de Cellulite' (Dargaud, 1972), Alexis' 'Fantaisies Solitaires' (Audie, 1978) and 'Cinemastock 1' (Dargaud, 1978), Carlos Giménez' 'Paracuellos' (Audie, 1980) and 'Barrio' (Audie, 1980), Coucho's 'L'Homme Au Costard Gludure' (Audie, 1980), André Franquin's 'Idée Noires' ('Black Thoughts', 1981), Didier Tronchet's fifth 'Raymond Calbuth' album (2001), Patrice Leconte's 'Gazul Club' (Michel Lagarde, 2007) and the French-language translation of early 1950s Mad Magazine issues, 'Mad Se Paie Une Toile' (Neptune, 1984) and 'Les Bandes Décimées de Mad' (Albin Michel, 1985). Gotlib also wrote the foreword to some of his own series, like his, Jacques Lob, Jean Solé and Alexis' 'Superdupont' album 'Les Âmes Noires' (1995)

Gotlib's work has been exhibited several times, including a 2014 expo in the Museum of Jewish Art & History in Paris. The same exhibition also ran in the Jewish Museum in Brussels between 2014 and 2015. The National Cartoonists Society in New York honored Gotlib with a Mad Award (1972), while he received the Grand Prix de la Ville d'Angoulême (1991) and the Prix Raymond Poivet (2001) at the comic festival of Angoulême. Brussels gave him the Grand Prix Saint-Michel for his entire oeuvre in 2007. The highest honour in Gotlib's life was his elevation to Chevalier (1975) and Officier (1990) des Arts et des Lettres and his induction into the Légion d'Honneur (2000). The university of Québec awarded him Doctor Bédéis Causa in 1990 and since 2005 his name also lives on in the form of an asteroid. 

Final years and death
In 1995 Gotlib sold the rights to Fluide Glacial and Audie to the publisher Flammarion. He spent most of his final years writing autobiographical books: 'J'Existe, Je Me Suis Rencontré', about his youth (1993), and 'Ma Vie-en-Vrac' (2006), a more thorough overview in cooperation with journalist Gilles Verlant. In later decades Gotlib also published in magazines such as Actuel, Charlie Mensuel, Métal Hurlant, A Suivre and the Spirou supplement Le Trombone Illustré. In 2016 Gotlib passed away at age 82. He received an official homage from French minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay.

Legacy and influence
Marcel Gotlib was a strong influence on numerous humor comic artists. In France he inspired Alexis, Maëster, Coyote, François Boucq, Édika, Bruno Le Floc'h, Didier Tronchet, Daniel Goossens, Dupuy and BerberianJérôme D'Aviau, Ian Dairin, Manu Larcenet, BlutchLewis Trondheim, Geoffroy Monde, Rudy, Pixel Vengeur, FabcaroElsa Brants, Bastien Vivès and Xavier Delucq. In Belgium he was an influence on Kamagurka, Ptiluc, Marc LegendreNixThierry Van Hasselt and Kim Duchateau. In the Netherlands, he ranks Eric Schreurs, GummbahHanco Kolk and Paul Schenk among his followers. In Luxemburg he influenced Roger Leiner, while in Switzerland he left his mark on Zep. A Canadian admirer of his work is Pierre Dupras

La Coccinelle de Gotlib
Gotlib's signature character, the ladybug. 

Series and books by Marcel Gotlib you can order today:


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