Coq VI le Coq - 'Vacances en forêt' (Tintin #41, 1969).

Michel Leloup was one of the co-workers of Lombard's animation studio Belvision, where he specialized in background art. His best known contributions were to the 1976 film 'La Flûte à Six Schtroumpfs'. He was one of the founding fathers of the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels, and succeeded Guy Dessicy as its director in the 1990s.

Early career
Early in his career, the Brussels-born Leloup worked as an advertising illustrator. His association with the publishing house Lombard began somewhere in the 1960s. Tintin #41 of 1969 contains a comic story by this artist, starring an impulsive rooster called 'Coq VI le Coq' who goes on holiday in the forest. The same rooster returned in the 12-page story 'Monstres et fils' in Tintin Sélection #4 of 1969. Other comics by Leloup were 'Piplet et Virginie - Baignade Interdite' (Tintin Sélection #11, 1971) and 'Nelly la Coccinelle - De Fil en Aiguille' (Tintin Sélection #19, 1973). He found a more lasting spot in the publisher's audiovisual department Belvision, which was responsible for animated adaptations of the most popular series from Tintin magazine. At first Leloup was tasked with drawing characters and providing finished art, but he eventually became the department's specialist in background art.

La Flûte à Six Schtroumpfs
One of Belvision's major productions was 'La Flûte à Six Schtroumpfs' (1976), a feature length animated film based on the 'Johan et Pirlouit' album of the same title. It was the story in which Peyo's medieval heroes first encountered the strange blue Smurfs. It had a script by Peyo and Yvan Delporte, while José Dutillieu oversaw the production. Michel Leloup painted the backgrounds, together with Peyo's co-worker Michel Matagne. Eddie Lateste (brother of Willy Lateste) was in charge of the animation, which was handled by Nic Broca, Marcel Colbrant, Louis-Michel Carpentier, and the three Toonder Studio's Danes Björn Frank Jensen, Per Lygum and Börge Ring, among other people.

Picture of Michel Leloup published in one of the Spirou articles about the Smurfs film (1975).

Other Belvision productions
Leloup also took part in the production of the British-Belgian co-production 'Gulliver's Travels' (1977), a feature film directed by Peter R. Hunt. Among his other credits are the backgrounds for the shorts 'Cubitus: le Gâteau d'Anniversaire' (1977), based on Dupa's comics, and 'Kid Ordinn - Le Cri qui met K.O.' (1979), based on Tibet's 'Chick Bill' comic series. Nic Broca was responsible for the animation. In the mid-1980s Belvision's production came to a halt. Leloup served as producer of one of the final releases, an animated short based on Turk and De Groot's 'Clifton' story 'Un Pépin pour Clifton' (1984).

Belgian Comic Strip Center
During the 1980s, Leloup joined Guy Dessicy and architect Jean Breydel in their plans for an official Hergé museum in the former Wauquez department store in the Brussels Rue des Sables. The plans were eventually changed into a museum about comics in general. The Belgian Comic Strip Center (Centre Belge de la BD) opened its doors on 3 October 1989, with Guy Dessicy and Eddy Ryssack as its presidents. When Dessicy retired, Michel Leloup succeeded him as the museum's director. Through the CBBD, Leloup has overseen several artistic projects, including a collective comic book about cancer prevention, '6 Kerngezonde Stripverhalen' (1993), edited by Jean-Claude de la Royère. It had contributions by Daniel Alexandre & Dino Attanasio, Jean-Luc Cornette, Laurent Letzer & Luc Cromheecke, Alec Séverin and Jean-Claude Salemi & Anne-Catherine van Santen. Michel Leloup was one of the originators of the Phila-BD collection of comics-related stamps, which the museum launched with the Belgian postal services from 1994 onwards. Michel Leloup drew one of the nine postcards at the occasion of the museum's 10th anniversary in 1999. He also suggested the former offices of the socialist newspaper De Nieuwe Gids, right across the street of the CBBD, as the location of the Marc Sleen Museum. Leloup helped with its establishment during its early stages. It opened its doors in 2009. Leloup retired around the same time.

Further artistic activities
Michel Leloup furthermore modernized the logo of the Walibi theme park in Wavre, Belgium, in 1980s. It was originally designed by Guy Dessicy in 1975. Between 1994 and 2002 Leloup painted the backgrounds for the text feature 'Le Grand Schtroumpf raconte' ("Papa Smurf tells a story") in the German Smurfs magazine Die Schlümpfe. The characters were drawn by Alain Maury and Jeroen De Coninck.

Not much is known about Michel Leloup's personal life. In 1975-1976 Spirou magazine ran an article series about the production of the 'Smurfs' film. Michel Leloup was one of the depicted co-workers. He was described as a somewhat reserved person with a fascination for tropical fishes and turtles.

Michel Leloup drew one of the nine postcards on the occasion of the museum's 10th anniversary in 1999, featuring Fernand Dineur's 'Tif et Tondu', Jijé's 'Jerry Spring', Maurice Tillieux' 'Gil Jourdan', Vic Hubinon's 'Buck Danny', MiTacq's 'La Patrouille des Castors', Paul Cuvelier's 'Corentin', Jacques Laudy's 'Hassan et Kaddour' and Sirius' 'Timour'.

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