Foufi, by Kiko
Foufi

Roger Camille, better known as Kiko, was an Egyptian-born Belgian comics artist. He was a regular in the Egyptian comics magazine Samir, before moving to Belgium and becoming a contributor to the magazine Spirou. His best known comics series are 'Foufi' (1963-1979) and 'Djinn' (1964-1966), which are both influenced by the Arabian Nights stories.

Roger Camille was born in 1936 in Héliopolis, Egypt. While still in secondary school, he published his first drawings in some French-language magazines. He later took a correspondence course from the ABC art school from Paris with a specialization in advertising, and he subsequently earned his degree in Literature in 1952. From the late 1950s, he was working as a cartoonist for the Egyptian children's magazine Samir. He illustrated a great many covers, and also several adventure serials, such as 'Isam'. One of his series dealt with a young reporter who chased a gang of criminals who smuggled drugs through sardine tins. Like many other Levantine inhabitants, he left the country when the government of Gamal-Abdel Nasser became more repressive in the early 1960s.

cover illustration for Samir by KikoSamir cover by Kiko
Cover illustrations for Samir issues from 1959 (#171) and 1961

He stayed in Canada for a short period in 1962-1963 and then settled in Belgium, where he worked in André Franquin's studio in the Avenue du Brésil in Brussels for a while. It was during this period that he developed the little Persian boy 'Foufi' with his flying carpet for an Arabic edition of the Superman comic published in Beirut, Lebanon. Several gags of Kiko's weekly Lebanese production were written by Franquin. The character appeared in the magazine's first 35 issues of 1964.

Arabic Foufi by Kiko
Foufi from the Arabic edition of the Superman comic (1964)

He began a collaboration with the magazine Spirou and its Dutch-language equivalent Robbedoes in 1964. His first series was about a genie in a bottle called 'Djinn' (1964-1966), of which the short stories were written by Jacques Devos. In a similar fashion, he made the mini-comic 'Ali–Bibi le petit fakir' with Lucien de Gieter in 1965. By 1965, Kiko's best-known character, 'Foufi', was also introduced in the pages of Spirou magazine. Foufi appeared regularly in gags, short stories and a couple of longer adventures until 1979, with a final appearance in 1983.


First appearance of Djinn in Robbedoes #1372

Despite Kiko's highly detailed and dynamic artwork, with strong influences from Franquin, 'Foufi' never got a regular album series by Dupuis. The published released only two books, both in 1968. In later years, additional collections were published by MC Productions (1988), Éditions Points Image (1996-2000) and Grafik (2016). Three 'Foufi' books were furthermore published in Dupuis' children's book collection Caroussel in 1967 and 1968.


Foufi

Kiko has also made a lot of art for advertisements during his career. His promotional comics for Milky Way were published in magazines like Tintin in 1969-1971. He focused on commercial art from the 1980s onwards, and was especially active for clients from France. During a period of ten years, he produced much promotional artwork with the lion 'Max', the mascot of Motta ice cream. The character appeared on posters, postcards, games, stickers, calendars, badges, keychains and many other products. Roger Camille passed away in 2006 at the age of 69, only one day before what would have been his 70th birthday. He lived and worked in Schaerbeek, near Brussels.

Max by Kiko

Series and books by Kiko in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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