Marcel Gotlib was one of the most talented French artists of humor comics, such as the 'Gai Luron' series and the stories he created for his own Fluide Glacial magazine. Born of Jewish-Hungarian parents, he lived in Paris, where he visited the school of arts and where he learned the finer points of the profession from Georges Pichard. He began his career as a letterer with the Édi-Monde agency in 1954. He also joined the Opera Mundi agency, drawing comics for magazines like Le Journal de Mickey. However, it was in 1959 when he started his true career as a prolific illustrator. From then on, he illustrated numerous children's books, often signed with pseudonyms like Mar-Got, Garmo or Marclau.
At the same time, he drew his first comic, 'Le Général Dourakine'. He began an association with Vaillant magazine in 1962, where he started series like 'Gilou', 'Puck et Poil', 'Klop' and 'La Souris'. He also drew stories with Nanar and Jujube, two characters that were soon joined the dog Gai-Luron. 'Gai-Luron' was an instant hit got its own series two years later.
Gai-Luron (Pif Gadget #6, 31/3/1969)
He handed over the character to Henri Dufranne in 1971, but relaunched a more adult version of the comic himself for Fluide Glacial in 1986. He also worked for Pilote in the mid-1960s, where he produced the 'Dingodossiers' series along with René Goscinny. Gotlib continued the series on his own in 1968, and later drew 'La Rubrique-à-Brac'.
Marcel Gotlib has also written a lot of comics for other artists, such as Loro, Alexis ('Cinémastok'), Claire Brétécher, Jean Giraud, Jacques Lob ('Superdupont') and Nikita Mandryka ('Les Clopinettes'). 'Superdupont' was a French superhero and was also adapted into a musical. Gotlib left Pilote in 1972 and launched the first series of L'Écho des Savanes together with Claire Brétécher and Nikita Mandryka. By this time, Gotlib's stories became more provocative, using more obscene themes. He drew 'Hamster Jovial' in Rock and Folk in the mid-1970s.
Lob de la Jungle (Humanoïdes Associés, 1980)
He left L'Écho des Savanes in 1975 to launch Fluide Glacial with Alexis and Jacques Diament. While still drawing several comics in the magazine's early days ('Pervers Pépère', 'Rhââ Lovely'), Gotlib soon focused more on the writing of editorials. However, he resuscitated 'Gai-Luron' in 1986 when the back-catalogue was re-published by Audie and needed promoting, and drew enough new stories for a final album, 'La Bataille Navale'.
Marcel Gotlib has also worked as a writer for film and television. To reward his importance in comics, Gotlib received the 'Grand Prix du Salon international de la Bande Dessinée of Angoulême' in 1991. He has written a couple of autobiographical books, namely 'J'existe, je me suis rencontré', about his youth (1993), and 'Ma Vie-en-Vrac', a more thorough overview in cooperation with journalist Gilles Verlant (2006). Gotlib sold Fluide Glacial and Audie to publisher Flammarion in 1995. He passed away on 4 December 2016 at the age of 82.