It has been announced that Raoul Cauvin, one of Belgian comics' most popular writers, died on 19 August.
Cauvin has been one of the leading writers of humorist Belgian comics since the 1970s. His books are said to have sales of 50 million. Most of his work was for the weekly comic "Spirou". He was so successful and appreciated that, when he turned 75, that week's edition of "Spirou" was renamed "Cauvin"
His biggest success was "The Bluecoats" which is set among American cavalry men during the American Civil War. The series included plenty of humour, with the reckless Sergeant Chesterfield and the moody Corporal Blutch getting into all sorts of embarrassing situations and causing as much aggravation for their own side as well as for the enemy. Like many of the best stories and comics, it was often inspired by real-life events such as the New York City draft riots of 1963, or the Battle of Hampton Roads which included the first fight between battleships made of iron. While the series included plenty of humour and laughs, it did not hesitate to display the horrors of war and the way soldiers are used as canon-fodder by laid-back officers.
Cauvin's other series included "Cedric" about a little and his issues at home and at school. "The Bluecoats"
have been published in English by Cinebook.
He wrote other funny series which poked fun at modern institutions such as the police, hospitals, nurses and surgeons, and psychiatry. One series focused on the trials and tribulations of a comic artist and his often heated relationship the writer he works with: the artist Lambil and Cauvin poking fun at themselves.
Although Cauvin may not have been part of Belgian's comic post-war Golden Age, he was certainly a worthy successor to it and is seen by many as on a par with the likes of Goscinny.Lambiek has more about him.