Patrick by Albert Roch
'Patrick le petit Irlandais' (Rikkie Roest).

Albert Roch, who signed with Béoc, was a Belgian comic artist. He is best remembered for his children's comics 'Dudule' ('Oom Douwe' in Dutch, mid-1960s) and  'Patrick, Le Petit Irlandais' ('Rikkie Roest' in Dutch, 1975-1977).

Early life and education
He was born in 1929 in Cuesmes, Hainaut, not far from the province capital Mons. Between 1945 and 1946, he studied at the Academy of Mons. He later also took evening courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels.

Early comics
During the late 1940s, Roch presumably contributed to the short-lived comic magazine Kim. In 1947, he made his professional debut in Le Petit Monde, the children's paper of the Brussels department store Le Bon Marché. Peyo and Willy Vandersteen also contributed comics to this paper. In 1953, he was asked to draw for the local branche of the Walt Disney Studios, but declined. Instead he became an apprentice letterer and inker for Maurice Rosy at the art studio of Éditions Dupuis, the publishing company known for the magazine Spirou.

'De Flessen van Koning M'Boeli' (Ohee #226).

Le Samedi Jeunesse/Ohee
In August 1966, Roch's adventure comic 'Les Bouteilles du Roi m'Bouli', starring the character Pit, appeared in the Brussels monthly Samedi-Jeunesse. In the following year, the story also ran in Dutch under the title 'De Flessen van Koning M'Boeli' in two issues of Ohee, the children's supplement of the Flemish newspaper Het Volk.

Roch also created the gag comic 'Dudule'. It starred a bald, pipe smoking man with a moustache. Through the I.F.S. syndicate, this comic appeared under the title 'Oom Douwe' in the Dutch comic magazine Sjors (1967-1969), as well as Ohee (1971) and Ohee Club (1975-1977). Years later, it was reprinted in P@per (2013-2015).

Oom Douwe by Albert Roch
'Oom Douwe' in Sjors #16, 1967.

Éditions de Lutèce
During the early 1970s, Albert Roch was affiliated with the Parisian publishing house Les Éditions de Lutèce, using his Béoc signature. He created the adventures of 'Arim Cambier' (1971) as a back-up feature in the 'Changor' comic books by the Turkish artist Suat Yalaz. Later issues had the humor comic 'Andoche'. Between 1972 and 1973, De Lutèce released six solo books with this bearded, bespectacled man and his black dachshund, Minus. The books also featured game pages.

Patrick Le Petit Irlandais
Béoc remains best known for 'Patrick, Le Petit Irlandais' ('Patrick, the Little Irishman'), a children's fantasy series of which four books were published by Lito-Paris in 1975 and 1976. The series was also translated in Dutch under the title 'Rikkie Roest' by the Zuidnederlandse Uitgeverij in 1977.

Postal service comics
For 40 years, Roch had a daytime job at the Belgian Postal Services. All his comics were made in his spare time. The central office informed him the serivce could use an artist for its promotional publications. His comic book, 'De Weg van de Brief' (1989), shows what happens once a letter is posted and how it eventually reaches its destination. He also drew a comic strip about a mailman, titled 'Gus De Facteur' (1986).

Abigail Lafortune
A more recent comic by Béoc was 'Abigail Lafortune', an eccentric girl from Canada, who meets typically Brussels characters during her stay in Belgium. A book was published by Peter Bonte.

Later life
Between 14 and 15 April 2012, Albert Roch's work was exhibited at the Maison de la Laïcité in La Bouverie. The artist passed away on 12 April 2020, at the age of 90.

Series and books by Albert Roch you can order today:


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