Pitt et Roky (L'Intrépide #534)

Jean-Louis Rochelle was an illustrator and comics artist who worked in both a realistic and caricatural drawing style from the 1940s through the 1980s. His main body of work was for the magazines of Éditions Mondiales and Fleurus, and for the TV tie-in magazine Le Journal de Nounours. The artist signed his work with merely "Rochelle", and online sources use both "Jean-Louis Rochelle" and "Roger Rochelle" as his full name. Considering a 1963 cover for Tintin was signed with "J-L Rochelle", we can assume Jean-Louis Rochelle is his correct name.

Rochelle's artwork appeared in the publications of Editions Mondiales, the French company of Italian-born publishing tycoon Cino Del Duca in the 1940s and 1950s. He was among the French artists who produced original material for the second series of Del Duca's collection Fantôme (1948-1950), alongside Jean-Paul Decoudun, J. Arth and Pierre Dupuis. Rochelle was responsible for issue 28, titled 'Kick Harris - La Secte Rouge'. For Hurrah! (1951-1953), Rochelle was one of the illustrators of the text version of the educational series 'Ici s'est passé', which was dedicated to explorers and adventures. Other illustrators for the feature were Claude Pascal and Paul Ordner.

from L'Intrepide
Au Royaume des Décourtes (L'Intrépide #381)

Rochelle also produced comics and many game pages for Mondiales' comics weekly L'Intrépide. He made his first appearance between 1950 and 1952 with illustrations for poetry and text stories. He returned to L'Intrépide in the second half of the 1950s. In issues 456 through 561 his adventure serial 'Pitt et Roky' ran in its pages. He drew the educational series 'Tom au Pays des Découvertes' ("Tom in the Land of Discoveries", 1955-1959), in which a caricaturally drawn anthropomorphic dog hears about a discovery or historical event from his uncle Cyprien. The historical events are depicted in a realistic drawing style. The feature was written by either Claude Astier or G. Carrier, and was largely inspired by Octave Joly's all-knowing 'L'Oncle Paul' from Spirou. For a brief interlude, Guy Mouminoux was the feature's illustrator. During the comic's run, the title was changed to 'Au Royaume des Découvertes' ("In the Kingdom of Discoveries") and the dog Tom was replaced by photographs of an actual kid who was integrated in the drawings. The title was changed once again to 'Tom Découvre' in November 1958. The strip had the caption "En forme d'Images d'Épinal" ("In the format of the Épinal images"), referring to the educational 19th century picture story prints by publisher Jean-Charles Pellerin from Épinal.


Game page for L'Intrépide-Hurrah! #505 and illustration for scientific page for L'Intrépide-Hurrah! #522

Rochelle was also one of the artists of Claude Astier's true-story comics spread 'Aventures Vraies'. Among the other artists involved were Guy Mouminoux, Maurice de la Pintière, Pierre Brisson, Jean-Loup and René Brantonne. When Hurrah! and L'Intrépide merged to L'Intrépide-Hurrah! in 1959, Rochelle continued his collaboration by illustrating more game pages and Antoine Icart's scientific and technological articles. After L'Intrépide-Hurrah! was cancelled in 1962, Rochelle and Icart continued their collaboration on similar scientific pages for Le Journal de Mickey by Hachette in 1963, and for Lombard's Tintin in 1963-1964.

Tico by JL Rochelle

He furthermore drew the funny animal western 'Les Aventures de Tico' (1956-1962) for the Del Duca pocket book Dicky le Fantastic. The adventures of the title character were drawn by Robert Moreau. For the publisher's girls' magazine Mireille, Rochelle drew the adventures of 'Coccinelle' (1961), about a young girl who writes crime novels and gets involved with all sorts of investigations herself. Two years later, he made the humor strip 'Francette' (1963) for the same magazine.

Tic et Tac by JL Rochelle

In the 1950s, Rochelle had also worked for magazines of the publishing house Fleurus. He made game pages and illustrations for Coeurs Vaillants from 1950 to 1955, including ones with the characters 'Tic et Tac' (1954-1955). For about 13 weeks in 1955 (issues 23 through 35) he illustrated the front cover of Fripounet et Marisette magazine with 'Goliath contre Serpent Rouge', an adventure of 'Gil et Mahé Poufrinet'. He furthermore drew strips with a character called 'Inspecteur Nécreux' in the French edition of magazine Tintin in 1952, followed by the short story 'L'Anneau d'Athanase 1er' in the following year. Between 1962 and 1964 he returned in the magazine's pages with editorial illustrations.

cover by JL Rochelle
Tintin covers from 1953 and 1963

From 1965 until the mid 1980s, Rochelle was an illustrator for the monthly magazine Le Journal de Nounours, which was published by SFPI. The title character was the bear that hosted the bedtime story children's puppet series 'Bonne nuit les petits' (1962-1973) by Claude Laydu on French television. Rochelle was responsible for several cover and editorial illustrations, as well as internal picture stories. These were mostly stories in which the bear Nounours tells the children Nicolas and Pimprenelle about his travels and adventures, while others starred the characters 'Zazo', the little circus elephant, and 'Poudre de Riz'. Four albums of 'Zazo le petit éléphant de Cirque' were published by MCL in 1972 and 1973. The TV series and the magazine were also known in the Netherlands and Flanders as 'Barend de Beer'. Other illustrators for Le Journal de Nounours were Jean-Louis Pesch, Jean Sidobre and Françoise Berthier. Legend has it that the children of the Prince of Monaco and the son of the Shah of Iran were among the subscribers.

Barend de Beer by Rochelle
Nounours story from the Dutch edition, Het Blad van Barend de Beer (#13, 1966)

Rochelle is often confused with the cartoonist Rol (Roland Venet), but there is no relation. Although there is a similarity of styles, and both artists frequently made game pages, the Venet family strongly doubt that their father worked under this pen name.

Le Journal de NounoursLe Journal de Nounours

Series and books by Jean-Louis Rochelle in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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