François (Frank) Sels studied art in Antwerp, and then he worked in a printing firm for a short while. He joined Studio Vandersteen in 1963, and succeeded Karel Verschuere on 'Karl May' and on 'De Rode Ridder', introducing the King Arthur-cycle in the series.
De Rode Ridder
Starting in 1964, he illustrated several comics in the magazines Ons Land and Ohee, working with scripts by Lorenzo Wadlin and his childhood friend Hugo Renaerts. He specialized in historical, viking and western stories, such as 'Mister Grizzly', 'Abraham Lincoln', 'De Ilias','Tall Bull' and 'Kleine Antilope. For magazine 't Kapoentje he worked on 'Arkulleke', 'Bongo Tegen de Kux Klan', 'Kleine Antilope' and 'De Avonturen van de Zeearend'.
In 1966, Sels resigned from Vandersteen, only to return when he didn't find work with publisher Het Volk. He got a job at the 'Bessy' studio, where he and Edgard Gastmans were responsible for the production of stories for Bastei Verlag in Germany. For a period of two years, Sels and Gastmans produced a complete 'Bessy' story almost every week. After a final break with Vandersteen in 1969, they began working for Bastei directly. Sels created the series 'Silberpfeil, der Junge Häuptling', that first appeared in the weekly Felix, and then in it's own weekly comic from 1971 until the late 1980s.
Sels opened a studio to keep up with his large production, and employed such artists as Gastmans, Robert Wuyts, Eric De Rop, Jean Bosco Safari, Claus Scholz, Jan van Rooy and his son Erwin. Through Studio Sels, he earned the reputation as the fastest comic artist in Europe, cranking out as much as 42 pages a week, without too many concessions to quality. 'Silberpfeil' also appeared as 'Zilverpijl' in Ohee in Belgium, and the production for Germany lasted until 1986.
By then, the title continued with reprinted stories. In the final months of his life, Sels did some stories for the Bastei horror comics, and he started a science fiction comic, 'Op zoek naar Alfadir', that was completed by his son in 2004. Frank Sels commited suicide in December 1986. In later years, the German publisher Wick has collected most of the artist's work in the series 'Frank Sels Archiv'.
horror comic by Frank Sels