La Smala by Marco Paulo
La Smala

Marco Paulo is a graduate from the École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels. He subsequently studied engraving and sculpting before making his debut as a creator of animated films, title sequences and advertising spots. By 1996 he illustrated his first children's book for Éditions Nemo/Le Seuil, which was written by Henri Storck. He created the comic series 'La Smala' with Thierry Robberecht, of which six books were published by Casterman between 2000 and 2004 and three more by Dargaud until 2008.

Zack & Willie, by Marco Paulo
Zack et Willie

Paulo and Robberecht were also present in Spirou magazine with the animal series 'Zack et Willie', of which a book collection was published by 12bis in 2010. The duo has additionally cooperated on 'Le Monde de William', an educational book about homosexuality for Exaeqo in 2005. Paulo has been the artist of several humor books published by 12bis, including 'Dégelée Royale' (with Robberecht, 2010), 'Le pouvoir de convaincre' (with Gilbert Thiel and Bernard Swysen, 2012) and 'Rachida aux noms des pères' (with Swysen and Yves Derai, 2013). With Sergio Salma, he created 'Bagdad KO', a book of gags about the US-Iraq conflict (Drugstore, 2009).

Bagdad KO by Marco Paulo
Bagdad KO

In 2014 Paulo started drawing the satirical gag comic, 'Bad Bartje', with scripts by Falzar. The comic is set during the 1970s and features real-life Flemish politician Bart De Wever of the Flemish-nationalistic and separatist party N-VA as a misbehaving brat. It was published a month before the Belgian elections in the Walloon papers La Meuse and La Nouvelle Gazette, distributed by the Sud-Presse Group. The comic strip received quite some media attention on both sides of the Belgian language border. The Flemish news site Clint.be replied by creating a comic strip of its own, 'Ergerlijk Eliootje', which satirized the Walloon politician and then Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo of the socialist party PS by also depicting him as a child. The gag comic was signed by an artist named "Spiritus", who was later revealed to be Steve Van Bael

Bad Bartje by Marco Paulo
Bad Bartje. This scene pokes fun at Flemish politicians Bart De Wever (the obese boy) and Filip Dewinter (the tall boy), nicknamed "Flupke" as a wink to Hergé's 'Quick and Flupke'. De Wever is head of the N-VA and Dewinter is leader of the extreme-right party Vlaams Belang. Both parties are known for their separatist, conservative and Flemish nationalistic viewpoints, with the difference that het Vlaams Belang is notorious for its racist and discriminatory ideology, which led to a conviction for these matters in 2004. Here, Dewinter shouts that his neighbouring classmates are taking in "too much space". When the teacher asks what is going on Dewever tells him that "Flupke poses good questions, but doesn't provide the right answers". He explains that the pupils have the right to receive space of their own, whereupon the teacher fulfills Bart's request by putting him in the corner.

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