Sergent Laterreur, by Touïs
'Le Sergent Laterreur', from Pilote #630.

Touïs, real name Vivian Miessen, is a Belgian comic artist, best known for his cult series 'Le Sergent Laterreur' (1971-1973) which was a regular feature in Pilote. He was furthermore one of the most renowned animators in the Franco-Belgian region. He has worked for numerous European animated features by Belvision, Picha and other companies, including several 'Astérix' pictures. He has lived and worked in France for most of his life, and is based in the Cévennes region since 2014.

Early life and career
He was born in 1940 as son of the surrealist painter René Miessen, better known as Bellor. From a young age he was encouraged to draw. Vivian Miessen published his first work in the magazine Le Moustique when he was just 16 years old. He attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, and then the Institut Saint-Luc. He had an apprenticeship with the OTP advertising agency, where he became friends with comic artist William Vance.

Animation career
Halfway the 1960s he joined Dupuis' animation department, TVA Dupuis, where he was part of Eddy Ryssack's unit. One of the projects he worked on was the first TV adaptation of Peyo's 'The Smurfs': 'Les Aventures des Schtroumpfs' (1965). Between 1966 and 1967 he participated in such films as 'Cinéma-Man', 'L'Anaconda' and ''. When Raymond Leblanc, owner of the publishing house Le Lombard, established the first professional Belgian animation studio, Belvision, Miessen was one of their most prominent animators. He worked on two feature films based on René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's comic series 'Astérix', namely 'Astérix le Gaulois' ('Astérix the Gaul', 1967) by Ray Goossens and 'Astérix et Cléopâtre' ('Astérix and Cleopatra', 1968), and also one based on Goscinny and Morris' 'Lucky Luke' series: 'Daisy Town' (1971). Miessen was key animator of 'Tintin et le temple du soleil' (1969) and chief animator for the 1972 picture 'Tintin et le Lac aux Requins' ('Tintin and the Lake of Sharks', 1972). Both were based on Hergé's 'Tintin' comics, but the latter had a script written by Greg. He was also involved with Belvision's box office failures 'Pinocchio dans l'espace' ('Pinocchio in Outer Space', 1965) by Ray Goossens and 'Les Voyages de Gulliver' ('Gulliver's Travels', 1977) by Peter R. Hunt. By then, Miessen worked with his own team of animators, which consisted of Claudy Montfort and Lawrence Moorcroft. With a government grant, he created his short animated solo film 'Gü'. Other contributors were Miessen's father for the backgrounds and his wife Lieve for the creation fo the large monkey character.

'Le Sergent Laterreur', from Pilote #634.

Miessen remained active as animator for other studios as well. He worked for the Studio Idéfix films 'Les 12 Travaux d'Astérix' ('The 12 Tasks of Astérix, 1976) and 'La Ballade des Dalton' ('The Ballad of the Daltons', 1978) - the latter based on Morris' comic strip 'Lucky Luke'. He co-animated all of Picha's animated features: 'Tarzoon, La Honte de la Jungle' ('Tarzoon, the Shame of the Jungle', 1975), 'Le Chaînon Manquant' ('The Missing Link', 1980), 'Le Big-Bang' (1987) and 'Blanche Neige, La Suite' (2007). Later in his career he also worked on Martin Rosen's 'The Plague Dogs' (1982), José Luis and Santiago Moro's 'Katy, La Oruga' (1984), Philippe Grimond's 'Astérix et le Coup du Menhir' ('Astérix and the Big Fight', 1989) and the Danish animated film 'Jungledyret Hugo ('Hugo The Movie Star', 1996), based on the creation of Flemming Quist Møller, which inspired both several sequels and an animated TV series. He furthermore contributed to Bert and Geert Van Goethem's animated short 'Just to Be a Part of It' (1997) and Pascal Morelli's animated feature 'Corto Maltese, La Cour Secrète des Arcanes' (2002), based on Hugo Pratt's comic series 'Corto Maltese'.

Les Aventures à vent de Cuicui et Papa by Touis
'Les aventures à vent de Cuicui et Papa' (Pilote Mensuel #35, 1977).

Sergent Laterreur
Miessen additionally made comic stories during the 1970s. With photographer Gerald Frydman as scriptwriter, he created the humorous comic 'Sergent Laterreur' (1971-1973) which appeared in Pilote. The series centered around a tiny but loud-mouthed sergeant who frequently yelled his head off at soldiers three times as big as him. Sergent Laterreur had an anti-militaristic tone, typical for comics made during the Vietnam war era, which helped it gain a cult following. The series was furthermore notable for its experimental nature. Miessen played around with speech balloons, lettering and other graphic elements. The characters themselves had very simple outlines. The sergeant rarely opened his eyes because he was so busy screaming. His teeth were so exaggerated that they resembled fangs. His recrutes barely had faces, a bitinq critique of blind military obedience. In 1971 'Sergent Laterreur' won the Prix Phenix. One album was published by Pepperland publishers in 1976. A complete collection of all episodes was published in 2006 by L'Assocation.

Graphic contributions
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. 

Later career
Touïs drew several other one-shot stories for Pilote in 1976-1977, and finally 'Le petit Clic et ses Aminches' for Spirou in 1981. In 2000 he contributed to the anthology Comix 2000 by L'Association. His work has additionally appeared in Charlie Mensuel, Tintin, Lapin, and La Chienne. New collections of his comic book work have been published under the title 'Touïs Comix' by Le Chant des Muses since 2016. Miessen is also active as a painter. A selection of his paintings and prints were on exhibit in La Filature d'Aumessas in November and December 2015.

Le Petit Clic, by Touis (Spirou, 1981)
'Le Petit Clic' (Dutch version from Robbedoes, 1981).

Series and books by Touïs you can order today:


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