Ric Hochet, by Tibet (Gilbert Gascard)
Ric Hochet #12 - 'Les Compagnons du Diable'.

Tibet was a French-Belgian comic artist, most famous for his humorous western comic 'Chick Bill' (1953-2010) and the more serious detective series 'Ric Hochet' (1955-2010). Both were flagships of Tintin magazine, with 'Ric Hochet' even topping readers' polls as the most popular feature. He also made the lesser known children's adventure comic 'Le Club des "Peur-de-Rien" (1958-1979), the odd gag comic 'Globul le Martien' (1956-1957) and the first episodes of 'Les 3A' (1962-1967) with Mittéï, before the latter took it over completely. Tibet was furthermore renowned for his celebrity caricatures. In the dawn of his career he reinvented himself with the more adult and therefore controversial comic series 'Aldo Remy' (2006-2010).

Chick Bill #63 - 'L'Homme qui a Tempête'.

Early life
He was born in 1931 in Marseille, France, as Gilbert Gascard in 1931. His pseudonym "Tibet" is, much like Peyo, a mispronunciation of his first name when he was a child. Tibet's 13 months older brother felt "ti-'bet" was easier to say than "gilbert". Their father was soccer player André Gascard, who also ran a store in sporting attributes. Later that decade he'd become trainer of the local soccer team Olympique Marseille. Tibet's mother suffered from hosophobia. She was so scared of dirt and germs that it became unbearable. Sometimes she forced her husband to clean the car three times a day! Tibet was too young to understand his mother's mania, let alone why she was so scared of everything. He in turn was scared when his parents yelled at each other. She was so manipulative and demanding that a doctor advised Tibet's father to do something before going insane himself. The woman was institutionalized several times, until she moved away from Marseille, where she was convinced she would get cancer. She first took her children to a small Belgian town near the French border, and eventually to Brussels. Tibet was four years old at the time. Until 1938 father Gascard still paid the family regular visits. But the outbreak of World War II made travelling too difficult and dangerous. Tibet was seven when he last saw his father. By the time they met again, he was already 18! It wasn't until after his mother's death, that Tibet learned that she had prevented his father to contact his children.

In old age Tibet chronicled his troubled childhood in his autobiography: 'Qui fait peur à maman?' ("Who scares mama?", L'Esprit Des Péninsules, 2007). It had a foreword by the famous Belgian-Italian singer Salvatore Adamo. Tibet's childhood brightened up again in 1938, when he and his brothers moved to a boarding school in the Rue de Bon Secours/Bijstandsstraat in Brussels. As a boy scout he had fun being outdoors. In the city he visited movie theaters and read comic magazines like Le Petit Vingtième and Spirou. Tibet was so preoccupied with reading and drawing that his school work didn't amount to much. Among his graphic influences were Walt Disney, Hergé, Jijé and André Franquin. Later in life he also expressed admiration for René Follet, René Goscinny and Charles M. Schulz. He was very impressed with Jijé's hero 'Jean Valhardi' in Spirou, which reminded him of the best the scouts had to offer. Tibet actually discovered Franquin when he still made amateur cartoons for the scouting magazine Plein Jeu, long before he became a regular in Spirou. At age 13 Tibet learned Hergé's address through a school friend. He went to the maestro's house to show a comic strip he had drawn all by himself. Hergé was friendly enough to give him some creative advice. He told him to focus on "believability, readability and simplicity".

Early career
Leaving school at age 16, Tibet applied for jobs at several magazines and newspapers. In the Brussels wing of the Opera Mundi syndicate, Armand Bigle directed him to the art studio of Tenas & Rali in 1947. The duo produced comics for Bravo!, Spirou and later also Mickey Magazine (1950-1959). The latter was the first Belgian Disney comic magazine, and appeared in French and Dutch. As their apprentice, Tibet helped with the production of a rather wooden Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comic strip titled 'Les Mystères de la Tour Eiffel' (1950). He also designed characters from Disney's animated feature 'Cinderella' (1950) for chromo cards to promote Victoria chocolate, and made illustrations for Story, a magazine that mostly reprinted American comic strips. Much of his early work was signed with his scouting name "Coq-Artiste". In Tenas and Rali's studio he not only met his future wife, but also the six years older André-Paul Duchâteau, who'd become his regular scriptwriter. Their first collaboration was 'De Avonturen van Koenraad', a chivalry story serialized in the Flemish magazine Ons Volkske between 9 August and 25 October 1951. The comic had to be whipped out quickly, because Tibet had to finish his pages before being sent off to the army. Duchâteau and Tibet also reworked a pirate adventure comic Tibet had originally presented to Hergé at age 13: it appeared in issues #731 through #769 of Spirou magazine in 1952-1953 under the title 'Le Triangle du Feu'. Duchâteau wrote the script, while Tibet did the lay-outs and Tenas and Rali provided the artwork.

'Dave O'Flynn'.

Because the pay at Tenas and Rali was low, Tibet additionally made illustrations for Plein Jeu and Fernand Cheneval's magazine Héroïc-Albums from 1949 on. At Héroïc-Albums, Tibet also wrote and inked a story with François Craenhals' hero 'Karan', as well as Tenas' serial 'La Patrouille des Panthères' (1949). It was here that he also developed his first real comic series: 'Dave O'Flynn' (1950-1952), about a hard-boiled private investigator. The series debuted on 22 November 1950 and ran until 1 October 1952. In many ways Dave O'Flynn was a precursor to Ric Hochet. Tibet later even borrowed the title of the second story, 'Face au Crime' for the 38th 'Ric Hochet' album. In total seven stories were drawn. In 1979 'Dave O'Flynn' was reprinted in book format by the publishing house Chlorophylle. Another early comic strip was 'Les Aventures de Pitou Reporter' (1950), which appeared in the magazine of the Chevrolet car importer Wismeyer. This story about a young reporter was notable for trying out a more personal, comical drawing style free from Disney influences.

In the early 1950s Tibet had a job application scheduled at Spirou, but since he still had to wait a week he decided to apply at rival magazine Tintin for the heck of it. As history would have it, he was instantly hired by the Tintin editorial board. He debuted in issue #21 of 23 May 1951, succeeding François Craenhals and Bob de Moor as the main illustrator and designer of editorials, columns, news and game pages. It wasn't until issue #39 of 1951 that his first comic strip 'Yoyo s'est évadé!' appeared in its pages. Scripted by André-Paul Duchâteau, this story about a brother and sister in search for an ape was only four pages long. Tibet additionally created the gag comic 'Titi et son Chien Tutu' (1952-1953) about a boy and his dog, which appeared sporadically between 10 September 1952 and 18 February 1953.

Vertical advertising comics for Tissot watches (Tintin #10, 1952) en Ajax bicycles (Kuifje #23, 1954)

Advertising comics
Between 1952 and 1955 Tibet's art was recognizable to many thanks to serialized advertising comics, published in Tintin through Guy Dessicy's Publi-art agency. Some were self-contained gags. Others were serialized short stories which ran for weeks. They usually involved some characters on a mission, a treasure hunt or solving a crime with help of the product. 'La Patrouille des Sangliers' was made in commission of Tissot watches, and ran in issues #8 through 13 of 1952. 'A... B... C... Arthur... Bernard... Camille' (1952-1954) promoted the photo equipment of Gevaert. 'Les Joyeux Parachutistes' (March-October 1954) advertised Helva watches. 'Le Voleur de Bicyclette' (May-June 1954) told a short story about a bicycle thief who is caught thanks to the quality of Ajax bicycles. For brewing company Vandenheuvel Tibet made the one-shot advertising comic 'Il Fallait Y Penser...' (February 1955) which promoted a table beer for children: Pilsberg Vandenheuvel. 'Nunuche et Polochon' (March 1955) advocated local politics. 'Le Grenadier Victoria te Raconte' (1958) advertised Victoria chocolate, while 'Jean Cigale en Jean Fourmi' was made for the bank Caisse Générale to promote saving money for pensions. Years later, in 1979, he advertised Bata shoes with 'Thomas Bata', for which he was assisted by Didier Desmit, based on an idea by Yves Grignard.

'Les Joyeux Parachutistes', Dutch version from Kuifje #20, 1954.

Chick Bill
To compete with the Disney magazine Le Journal de Mickey, Tintin's publisher Raymond Leblanc strongly favored a funny animal comic in his magazine. Hergé, however, was against it. Nevertheless Leblanc still instructed Tibet to make a comic strip with anthropomorphic animal characters, especially since he was experienced as a former Mickey Magazine artist. The young artist developed a western comic which he called 'Chick Bill'. In the original version, the cowboy hero Chick Bill was a lion, his Native American sidekick Petit Paniche a poodle, sherif Dog Bull a dog and the deputy Kid Ordinn a pig. The Mexican villain Panthario was portrayed as a panther. Hergé complimented him, but predictably still refused to run it. This rejection was a severe blow to Tibet, especially after having worked so hard on it. In interviews he recalled that he was literally in tears by the time he arrived home. In hindsight Hergé's preconceptions may have been personal grudges. He told Tibet that he too once made a western comic with funny animals, 'Popol et Virginie chez les Lapinos' (1931), which never caught on, not even in a 1948 color reprint in Tintin. It could be that he just wanted to protect him from "certain" disaster, but also that Hergé merely wanted to keep "his" magazine realistic in both style and content. Though one cannot exclude the possibility that Hergé may have been anxious about the idea that a rookie might actually succeed where he failed... In a different viewpoint, Tibet arguably had bad timing. Only a year later Raymond Macherot's funny animal comic 'Chlorophylle' (1954), got greenlighted in Tintin and became an instant success...

Chick Bill as an animal comic: 'Les Carottes sont Cuites'.

Yet the "funny animal" version of 'Chick Bill' didn't disappear in the dustbin. Leblanc had a contract deal with the Flemish comic magazine Ons Volkske to submit previously published comics from Tintin and also some new material. On 30 April 1953 Ons Volkske received a French-language sister magazine, Chez Nous Junior - often shortened to "Junior". Tibet was allowed to launch 'Chick Bill' here. He drew new episodes while doing his military service in France. A year later, in issue #35 of 1954, the same story also ran in Dutch translation in Ons Volkske. With a regular series and an important role as Tintin's main editorial illustrator, Tibet was offered a staff position. He stipulated in his contract that he would be guaranteed a permanent fee each month, which was quite high for the time. This enabled him to become a full-time cartoonist.

Hergé's rejection of his 'Chick Bill' format was quite traumatic for Tibet and the criticism kept haunting him. After three stories he quietly remodelled his characters into humans while adapting into Hergé's "Clear Line" style. 'Kid Ordinn le Rebelle' was the first episode in this new style, and began serialization in Junior in late 1954. The change of direction opened doors, and a new story called 'Les Diables à Quatre' took off in Tintin on 19 October 1955. From then on, 'Chick Bill' appeared in both Junior and Tintin with separate stories. The Junior serials were generally 60 pages in length, while the Tintin episodes only counted 30. Only the names of Chick Bill, Dog Bull and Petit Caniche still remind of their animal origins. From many interviews one can notice Tibet's conflicted feelings about the way Hergé dismissed his first 'Chick Bill' story. On one hand he always claimed that the criticism was justified. On the other hand he would later try to break with everything he learned from Hergé in his iconoclastic 'Aldo Remy' (2006-2010) series and even gloat over this fact.

'Pat Rick & Mass Tick', an obvious predecessor to the humanized version of Chick Bill.

One year before the human 'Chick Bill' debuted, Tibet had already tried out a serialized western comic in Tintin's pages titled 'Pat Rick & Mass Tick in 'El Mocco le Terrible', which ran from 30 June 1954 (issue #26) to 12 October 1955 (#41). Much of the style and comedy can be considered a precursor of what 'Chick Bill' eventually became. Chick Bill is a young cowboy in a checkered yellow shirt. His best friend is Petit Caniche, a Native American boy of the Navajo tribe. Their personalities were obviously inspired by Red Ryder and Little Beaver from Fred Harman's western comic 'Red Ryder', which was very popular in translation in Spirou at the time. Just like them, they are essentially straight-faced heroes. The recurring antagonist in the comic is the cruel outlaw Black Skelett. Dog Bull is the moustached sheriff of Wood City, a fictional town in Arizona. He is very grumpy and constantly irritated with his deputy Kid Ordinn. His name is a pun on the French expression "qui dort, dîne", which translates to: "he who sleeps, should dine too", referring to the practice of hotel owners to force customers who spend the night in their establishment to eat there as well. Ordinn is the series' breakout character. He is stupid, lazy and gluttonous, which often brings him in trouble. Dog Bull bosses him around, only to become a victim of Ordinn's idiocy afterwards. Tibet said that their dynamics were very much influenced by Laurel & Hardy. Most 'Chick Bill' comics revolve more around Dog Bull and Kid Ordinn than Chick Bill and Petit Caniche. Ordinn's popularity was such that Tibet even created a spin-off series of self-contained short stories: 'Kidordinneries' (1967).

Chick Bill - 'Casanova Kid'.

The first ten stories were all written and drawn by Tibet alone, except for 'Les Diables à Quatre' (1955), which was written by Maurice Rosy. The third Tintin episode, 'La Bonne Mine de Dog Bull' was based on a plot by René Goscinny, who also made 'Oumpa-Pah le Peau Rouge' with Albert Uderzo for Tintin. Yet when they left the magazine, Tibet had to look for a new scriptwriter. From 1958 on, most plots were written by Greg. It wasn't until the mid-1960s, that Tibet's friend André-Paul Duchâteau became the new regular writer. In the 1970s and 1980s only a handful of stories were written by Greg. Tibet didn't take 'Chick Bill' all too serious and once compared it with the works of humorous playwright and film director Marcel Pagnol, only "set in the Far West."

For decades 'Chick Bill' was one of the most popular series in Tintin, and from 1953 to 1973 also in Chez Nous Junior. When Tintin folded in 1993, the series continued to appear directly in album format at Le Lombard. 'Chick Bill' was translated under the same title in Dutch and German. The German translations could be read in Bastei Verlag's magazines. In Tintin issue #24 of 1973, the 20th anniversary of 'Chick Bill' was celebrated by Tibet's colleagues with a story titled 'Si Tibet n'avait pas créé Chick Bill' ("If Tibet had never created Chick Bill"). It contained graphic homages by Hermann, Dupa, Eddy Paape, Greg, Edouard Aidans, William Vance, Christian Godard and Dany.

Ric Hochet
A half year before the humanized version of 'Chick Bill' debuted in Tintin, Tibet soft-launched his other staple, together with Duchâteau. 'Ric Hochet' was introduced to Tintin's readers on 30 March 1955. Around this time Duchâteau was writing a lot of game pages for the magazine, and Ric Hochet actually started out as a riddle comic. His name is a pun on the word "ricochet." Ric always presented a mystery to readers which they then had to solve. By 1961, thanks to readers' enthusiasm, Tibet could develop it into an actual detective adventure series with the story 'Signé Caméléon'. Now Ric was given an actual job and friends and relatives. He works as a young reporter for the Parisian newspaper La Rafale, where his best friend is journalist Bob Drumont. Ric often tries to solve mysterious crimes in the presence of commissary Sigismond Bourdon and his assistant-inspector Ledru. The police officers don't get along, since Bourdon can be very demanding and ungrateful. He also has a tendency to swear mildly ("Bonsoir de bonsoir!"). Ledru is quite bitter over the fact that he should have been promoted years ago. Ric's love interest, Nadine, is Bourdon's niece and quite an observant detective herself. Whenever Ric is confronted with some implausible phenomena he usually consults professor Lucien Hermelin, a genius but grouchy, near misantropic mad scientist. The antagonist of the series is Le Bourreau (literally: "The Executioner"), often shortened to "B". Le Bourreau is an Eastern European spy with a past as war criminal. Although he is a wheelchair patient he is still a threat to public safety. Somewhere between good and evil is Ric's own father, Richard, who has a past as "gentleman-thief" and still hasn't completely cut his ties with the world of crime. He's not only an embarrassment to Ric, but often gets him in trouble too.

Ric Hochet #1 - 'Signé Caméléon'.

Ric and his friends are confronted with seemingly supernatural threats, like ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies or monsters. This leads to many suspenseful and chilling moments, even though these creatures are usually revealed to be merely human imposters. Many of Ric's investigations concern murder cases, which became increasingly more bloody and graphic over the years. Tibet had little involvement with the complex plots, which were all thought up by Duchâteau. But he did suggest some ideas for visual atmosphere. Indeed, many stories have the feel of an excellent detective thriller. The authors deliberately modelled the series after the 'Rouletabille' police novels by Gaston Leroux and Georges Simenon's 'Inspecteur Maigret'. Bourdon was even directly modelled after Maigret, down to his pipe. Ric himself is a tribute to Jijé's 'Jean Valhardi'. However, contrary to Valhardi, Ric was less of an incorruptible hero and more stubborn and a tad arrogant instead. Tibet was always grateful and generous to Duchâteau and insisted from the start that he was co-credited for every new story. This was at a time where comic writers mostly remained anonymous.

'Ric Hochet' was one of Tintin's flagships and often ranked in the top spot in reader's polls. Youngsters loved the intrigue, suspense and the fact that the stories weren't as childlike as other series. The comic's violent action and sometimes spooky scares were appealing. While other Franco-Belgian adventure comics tended to look old-fashioned or forced when veteran artists tried to match fashions and backgrounds with the changing times, 'Ric Hochet' always felt contemporary in a natural way. Ric wears a slick and sexy jacket, with bell-bottom pants during the 1970s and normal trousers in later decades. The handsome reporter drives around in a classy yellow sportscar, usually of the brand Porsche (though he has a tendency to constantly crash it during chases). The series could also count on a female fanbase, who liked Nadine and the erotic tension between her and Ric. 'Ric Hochet' was a success over the borders too. It was translated in Dutch ('Rik Ringers'), German ('Rick Master'), Spanish (originally as 'Ric Barry, later as 'Ric Hochet'), Portuguese, Italian ('Ric Roland'), Norwegian ('Allan Falk'), Swedish ('Allan Falk', later 'Rick Hart'), Finnish ('Riku Oska') and Tamil ('Reporter Johnny').

Ric Hochet #35 - 'La Mort Noire'

Despite the success, there has been only one attempt at a film version. In 1968 a 25-minute long film was made, 'Signé Caméleon' (1968), based on the very first album. Daniel Vigo played Ric, Jacques Lippe Bourdon, Mireille Baert Nadine and Michel Pleix the inspector. Tibet and Duchâteau had cameos as police officers. The film failed, which Tibet blamed on the director, who previously only made documentaries. A 1985 radio adaptation of 'Ric Hochet', titled 'Les Enquêtes de Ric Hochet', was written by Duchâteau.

In 1995 Mythic wrote a few special 'Ric Hochet' episodes which were only one page long, and had background art by Arthur Piroton. They advertized Cora supermarkets. Tibet continued both 'Chick Bill' and 'Ric Hochet' for the next decades until his death. The artist liked the fact that he could switch between a more comedic and serious series from time to time. In an interview with Stripschrift (issue #65, May 1974) he stated that if he only had one of these series to work on he'd probably grow tired with it after a while.

Ric Hochet #46 - 'Les Temoins de Satan'.

Throughout his career, Tibet has received assistance for most of the background art, especially for 'Ric Hochet'. The earliest episodes had backgrounds drawn by Mittéï, who in turn was assisted by Dany or Pierre Seron for later albums. Christian Denayer assisted on the albums 7 through 17. In December 1970 Tibet suffered a heart attack for which he was hospitalized. Denayer completed the remaining four pages of 'Ric Hochet Contre Le Bourreau'. Some of Tibet's background artists have remained anonymous (André Benn and Jean Torton's brother are believed to have helped), until Didier Desmit (albums 26 through 67) was the first to be credited in the albums. Frank Brichau was already the series' colorist, when he became the background artist for the final albums (68 through 77). Both Desmit and Brichau, and presumably also others, have assisted on 'Chick Bill' as well. Michel Schetter and Martine Brichau have been colorists for Tibet.

'Globul', from Tintin #23, 1956.

Globul Le Martien
In the mid-1950s Raymond Leblanc wanted to attract a younger demographic to Tintin. He made Tibet create a comic strip which looked like images from a movie reel, complete with vignettes with double perforated strips in black with little white dots. Leblanc even named it "animated cartoons in print". The main character was Globul, a Martian who looks like a young boy, but has a pointy nose (a suggestion by Franquin), gibbon-like arms and short legs. Globul also has a rotating hat which enables him to propel like a helicopter. 'Globul le Martien' (1956-1957) debuted in issue #12 of 1956, with the first two episodes written by René Goscinny. The gag strip made its final appearance in issue #28 of 1957, but the character returned in illustrations on Tintin's editorial pages in the period 1959-1960. All gags were collected in a 1984 album by Magic-Strip.

Together with René Goscinny, Tibet also developed the gag comic 'Alphonse' (1957-1958), which debuted in Tintin issue #30 of 1957. Each episode was a short farcical story in which the title character tried out a certain job with humorous results. Alphonse failed in being a delivery boy, restaurant waiter, detective, steward and lift operator. In total seven episodes were made. The final one, in issue #44 of 1958, was still written by Goscinny, but drawn by François Craenhals instead.

In Tintin issue #33 of 1957, Tibet first collaborated with scriptwriter Greg, an artist he had introduced into the magazine's pages. Greg would soon make a blitz career as chief editor and writer of multiple series. Their first comic together was 'Mouminet' (1957-1958), about a boy whose long hair hangs almost over his eyes. Many gags revolve around him and his black-haired friend Ric. Just like 'Alphonse', only seven humorous short stories were made. The final episode could be read in issue #27 of 1958.

Le Club des Peur-de-Rien
In 1958 scriptwriter Greg was assigned to develop a comic series around the boy mascot of Junior, which also ran 'Chick Bill'. At first Will was considered as the artist, but eventually the job went to Tibet. 'Le Club des Peur-de-Rien' (literally: "The Club of Those-Who-Fear-Nothing", 1958-1976) stars Junior as the gang leader of four young boys who often meet in an abandoned barn. Bombonne is an obese boy who loves eating. Génie wears glasses and is a clever inventor. Ras du Sol is the youngest member and often not taken seriously, though he frequently comes up with solutions the others didn't think off. The four kids have a huge guard dog, Brutacroc. Together they solve crimes. Greg's main inspiration was Martin Branner's 'Perry and the Rinkydinks' - known in French as 'Bicot et les Rantanplans'. Coincidentally, earlier that year André Franquin had come up with a similar Branneresque boys' gang comic in Spirou, titled 'La Ribambelle', drawn by Jo-El Azara. Despite a promising start, 'La Ribambelle' remained on hiatus until 1962, when Jean Roba picked it up.

Greg or Tibet scripted a couple of episodes of 'Le Club des Peur-de-Rien', but most were done by either André-Paul Duchâteau or Bob De Groot. Didier Desmit and Turk occasionally assisted on the artwork. Certain stories of 'Le Club des Peur-de-Rien' were also reprised in Tintin magazine. The comic also ran in Junior's Flemish sister magazine Ons Volkske under the Dutch title 'De Ravottersclub', and between 1973 and 1975 in the German children's magazine MV Comix as 'Der Club der Furchtlosen' (1973-1975).

'Le Club des Peur-de-Rien'.

Les 3A
In Tintin issue #14 of 1962, Tibet's assistant Mittéï launched 'Les 3A' (1962-1967), a series with anonymous participation by both André-Paul Duchâteau (under the pseudonym Michel Vasseur) and Tibet. Tibet and Duchâteau kept their involvement a secret, since Tintin already featured two major series by their hands, and didn't want to give the impression that they monopolized the magazine. In fact, the working method was similar to 'Ric Hochet': Duchâteau wrote the stories, Tibet drew the characters and Mittéï the backgrounds. 'Les 3A' revolves around three boy scouts whose first names all start with the letter "A", hence the title. André is the blond one and the oldest. He serves as the leader of their patrol. Alain is the brainy one and wears glasses. Aldebert, the youngest, has a more carefree, sceptical attitude and provides comic relief. During their hikes the trio gets involved in all kinds of mysteries and criminal cases, which they try to solve. 'Les 3A' was mostly intended as a rival to two similar scouts comics, namely 'La Patrouille des Castors' in Spirou and 'Jacques Le Gall' in Pilote, both written by Jean-Michel Charlier and drawn by MiTacq. The series lasted until issue #16 of 18 April 1967. In total, eight albums were released.

Between 12 January 1971 and 26 December 1972 Tibet showed off his gift for caricaturing in the section 'La Tibetière' in Tintin. This editorial highlighted a different celebrity in each issue. A huge caricature of their face appeared in color with a few lines identifying the person and explaining his fame. Most were media celebrities, like actors (Charles Bronson, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Marcello Mastroianni), musicians (Johnny Hallyday, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Charles Trenet), novelists (Georges Simenon, Ernest Hemingway), sports people (Eddy Merckx, Jacky Ickx, Raymond Poulidor), scientists & inventors (Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Jacques Cousteau, Albert Einstein, Wernher von Braun), business people (Aristotle Onassis), politicians (Adolf Hitler, Richard Nixon, Georges Pompidou) and... cartoonists! In fact the very first installment featured Hergé's face. Tibet also caricatured Jean Graton, Edgar P. Jacobs, Greg, René Goscinny and himself.

The column was popular and also appeared in Tintin's French edition and the Dutch-language version Kuifje, even though some of the highlighted celebrities were mostly famous in francophone culture. In case of Louis de Funés, Fernandel, Alain Delon and Claude-François, Dutch and Flemish kids would probably be familiar with them. Not so much with stars like Daniel Gélin, Annie Cordy or Serge Reggiani. In 2010 all caricatures were collected by Lombard under the title 'La Tibetière. 177 Caricatures'. Interestingly enough, the magazine Pilote started a similar series of celebrity caricatures in colour within the same month and year 'La Tibetière' debuted, namely 'Les Grandes Gueules', drawn by Jean-Claude Morchoisne. While Tibet's series appeared in print first, Morchoisne had already drawn celebrity caricatures in colour for Pilote since 1968, only not as a regular series. 

Aldo Remy, by Tibet (Gilbert Gascard)
'Aldo Remy'.

Aldo Remy
Tibet's final creation was the adult series 'Aldo Remy' (2006-2010). Again, Frank Brichau provided background drawings. Aldo Remy is a character who puts himself "for hire". The anti-Ric Hochet in every definition of the word, he is basically Kid Ordinn "gone bad": an anti-hero who curses and whose girlfriend is a prostitute. In some scenes he even has sex with her. Tibet euphemistically described his series as "something Hergé wouldn't have appreciated, pity on him." Indeed, the series feels like a late-term final revenge for all the strict rules Tibet had to obey during his time at Tintin magazine. The character even shares Hergé's family name: Rémi. In a more optimistic light, Tibet finally had a chance to do what he never dared or got the chance to try. Lombard naturally refused the series, but allowed Tibet to publish it at a different company, which became Glénat. Three albums were made.

Graphic contributions
In 1952 Tibet inked some drawings of Willy Vandersteen's 'Tijl Uilenspiegel', because he couldn't reach his deadline that week. Tibet additionally  illustrated Maurice Fresse's 'Petit Guide du Soldat de l'Armee de l'Air' (Lavauezelle, 1956). Tibet also designed the covers of Stéphane Steeman's comedy records 'Les Petons' (1971), 'L'Eddy-Vision' (1972) and '50 Minutes de ses Succès' (1975).

Tibet paid tribute to Morris in a 'Lucky Luke' special in issue #1513 of Spirou (13 April 1967), to Jean Roba in a 'Boule et Bill' special in Spirou issue #1691 (10 September 1970), to Hergé's 'Tintin' (Tintin, #12, 20 March 1979) and Turk & De Groot's 'Robin Dubois' in Tintin #36 (4 September 1979). He joined several of his colleagues to make a chain comic homage to 'Boule & Bill' in (Spirou #2173, 6 December 1979). Tibet also paid graphic tribute to André Franquin in issue #2907 (29 December 1993), again to Roba in Spirou #3195 (7 July 1999) and Alain Dodier's 'Jérôme K. Jérôme Bloche' in Spirou #3637 (26 December 2007). He also paid homage to Fred Harman in issue #104 of Hop (1 December 2004) and Albert Uderzo in the collective comic book 'Astérix et ses Amis - Hommage à Albert Uderzo' (Les Éditions Albert René, 2007).

Despite being a Frenchman by birth, he was one of many Belgian comic artists to make a graphic contribution to the book 'Il était une fois... les Belges'/'Er waren eens Belgen' (1980), a collection of columns and one-page comics, published at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgium. The same year he was one of several artists to make a graphic contribution to ‘Pepperland’ (1980), a collective comic book tribute to the store Pepperland, to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the time. In 1987-1988 the publishing company Brain Factory International released a four-volume comic book series where Franco-Belgian comic authors visualized songs by singer Jacques Brel in comic strip form. The first volume, 'Le Plat Pays' (1987) featured a contribution by Tibet. The same year Tibet was also one of several famous cartoonists to create an erotic parody of their own work in 'Parodies' (M.C. Productions, 1987). In his case he picked out 'Chick Bill'. In 1990 he paid graphic tribute to François Walthéry in the collective homage book 'Natacha. Special 20 Ans' (Marsu Productions, 1990), which celebrated the 20th anniversary of Walthéry's series 'Natacha'.

He also contributed to the collective comic book 'Animaux a(d)mis' (Alliance Européenne, 1990), which promotes animal rights, as well as 'La BD du Défi' (Lombard, 1990), a collective charity book to help neuro-muscular patients. For 'Flash Back' (Comic! Events, 1995), a bilingual comic book made at the occasion of the 10th edition of the Comics Festival of Koksijde, he joined several of his colleagues to draw their most famous characters when they were only 10 years old.

Cover illustration for Schtroumpf - Les Cahiers de la BD #40

Written contributions
In 1956 and 1958 Tibet thought up several gags for his good friend André Franquin's comic series 'Modeste et Pompon' in Tintin and 'Gaston Lagaffe' in Spirou. He was also close friends with René Goscinny and Jean Graton. Later in his career Tibet also hung out with Dany, pitching dirty sex jokes to him which he could use in his erotic humor comic 'Blagues Coquines' ("Naughty Jokes").

Other activities
In 1980 Tibet was co-founder of the Upchic (Union Professionelle des Créateurs d’Histoires en Images et de Cartoons), the first special interest organisation for Belgian comic artists. He served as president, with André Franquin as vice president and Yvan Delporte as secretary. While it was often called a syndicate, the founders stressed that they weren't, though they did pay legal defense through membership fees in case of disputes between cartoonists and publishers. In 1992 Tibet succeeded Bob de Moor as artistic director of the publishing house Lombard, while André-Paul Duchâteau became literary director.

In 1989 Tibet was one of the select few Belgian comic pioneers to become part of the permanent exhibition at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels. Together with Jacques Martin he is the only French-born artist to be honored there. In 1991 he was knighted by king Boudewijn/Baudouin as a Knight in the Order of Leopold. On 30 May 2006 he was promoted to Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. On 7 June of that same year he also received the Prix Albert Uderzo. In November 1994 'Ric Hochet' was honoured with his own comic book wall in the Rue du Bon Secours/Bijstandsstraat 9 in Brussels, as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. It was the same street where he went to school as a kid. The Galerie du Roi/Koningsgalerij in Brussels also has a commemorative plaque titled Rue Ric Hochet/Rik Ringersstraat. Since 2002 the town Roquebrune-sur-Argens, near the Côte d'Azur, additionally has a Boulevard Ric Hochet.

On 2 January 2010 Tibet was in desperate need for air. As he opened a window he suddenly collapsed and died on the spot. He was 78 years old. Coincidentally, another French comics legend who gained fame in the Belgian comic magazine Tintin, Jacques Martin, passed away the same month. His funeral was attended by musician Salvatore Adamo, former editors Claude de Saint-Vincent and François Pernot, Franquin's wife Isabelle and colleagues like Christopher Arleston, Dany, Bob De Groot, André-Paul Duchâteau, Jean Dufaux, René Hausman, Hermann, Frédéric Jannin, Didier Pasamonik and Jean Van Hamme. Dany, Frederic Ronsin, Benoît de Backer and Philippe Luguy made graphic tributes.

While the third 'Aldo Remy' story had just been completed, the final 'Ric Hochet' story was still unfinished. The family decided to publish it in his incomplete form, while Duchâteau wrote a foreword. Originally Olivier Wozniak was considered as Tibet's successor on the series. But since May 2015 'Ric Hochet' has been relaunched as 'Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Ric Hochet' ("The new investigations of Ric Hochet") by Zidrou (script) and Simon Van Liemt (drawings).

In 2020, a decade after Tibet's passing, Marc Carlot, founder of publishing company Auracan, started a crowdfunding campaign to not only reprint Tibet's autobiography, but also release two novels and four plays which the cartoonist had never published during his lifetime. 'Le Bout de Mon Pouce' (2020) deals with a creative advertising agent who suffers from an angry stepmother, but finds a new love in his life who unfortunately is also married. André-Paul Duchâteau wrote the foreword. 'Le Trône' (2020) follows a young novelist who moves into an abandoned house which is apparently cursed. The work 'Le Théâtre de Tibet' (2020) collects four theatrical plays written by Tibet: 'Liberté Chérie', 'Attention Violeur', 'Vingt Ans Avant' and 'Le Poulet'. The foreword is provided by comedian Pierre Arditi.

Legacy and influence
Tibet has been an influence on Achdé, Batem, Blutch, Frank Brichau, Thierry CapezzoneSerge Carrère, Dany, Alain Dodier, Serge Fino, Olivier Grenson, Maëster, Ptiluc, Georges Ramaïoli, Lewis Trondheim and Yves Urbain. David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave created the comic book 'Ric Remix' (Lombard, 2012) as a pastiche of 'Ric Hochet'.

Books about Tibet
Tibet wrote an autobiography, 'Qui Fait Peur à Maman' (2007), which provides great insight in his childhood. Additionally and more complete, Patrick Gaumer's book 'Tibet: a Fureur de Rire' (Le Lombard, 2000) is also highly recommended.

Tibet in the late 1970s.

Series and books by Tibet you can order today:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.