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September 26, 2008

Raymond Macherot, 1934-2008


The highly-regarded Belgian cartoonist Raymond Macherot, a major contributor to that comics industry's golden age of anthology magazines and the creator of several successful series, died early this morning. Among his creations were Chlorophylle, Clifton, and Sibylline. He was 74 years old.

imageMacherot was born in Verviers. Although he trained to be a painter and also at one time wanted to become a journalist, he eventually became an illustrator and cartoonist. His biography at notes that his first foray into cartooning were gags in an approximation of Virgil Partch's popular style that he submitted to the comedic magazine Pan under a pseudonym.

Macherot joined Tintin in 1953, serving as both writer on Fred Funcken's Le chevalier blanc and as an illustrator/cover artist. His first series came a year later with Chlorophylle. Chlorophylle was a funny animal feature that helped establish Macherot's reputation as one of the more skilled cartoonists to ever work in that area of comics. He would continue exploring that creative terrain with his Croquefredouille stories, which shifted the setting from the country to the city. In 1959 he created another of his signature works, the detective series Clifton. Both Chlorophylle and Clifton would be continued by other authors with varying degree of success.

imageIn 1964, Macherot left Tintin for Spirou, where at first he worked on the abortive Chaminou series. It lasted for only one story, Chaminou et le Khrompire, but was eventually revived by several artists in the 1990s including Macherot himself. Its reputation exceeds the series' publishing success. Macherot's next project, Sibylline, better resembled his previous work and was more of a hit for the publisher and cartoonist. That series would end in 1990 when the cartoonist initially retired, and in 2006 be revived -- under Macherot's watchful eye -- by Andre Taymans.

Among those with whom Macherot collaborated were Paul Deliege (as writer on Sibylline), Olivier Saive, Rene Goscinny, Raoul Cauvin, Yvan Delporte, Berck and Will. The last two did gag panel work with characters spun off of Macherot's series.

posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

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