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Spirou is:
  • a French children's comic magazine;
  • one of its serial comic strips, which is also published in hardcover format
  • the eponymous character of the comic strip.

The comic strip was originally created by Rob-Vel[?] for the launch of the magazine in 1938. The character Spirou was originally a lift-boy for the Moustique Hotel, and remains dressed in the uniform to this day, although there has been no mention of his occupation for many years.

It was subsequently passed sto several different artists including Jijé[?], before being handed to the then young André Franquin in 1946. He developed the strip, from single gags and short serials, to long adventures with complex plots. He introduced a plethora of recurring characters, notably the scientist Champignac[?], the buffoonish arch-villain Zorglub, and the wannabe dictator Zantafio[?]. One creation that went on to develop a life of its own was the Marsupilami[?], a fictional monkey-like creature with a tremendously long prehensile tail. This has been spun off into its own series and television cartoons.

Franquin's character Gaston taking more of his time, the series passed on to Fournier, then Nic & Cauvin, under whom it dwindled. In the mid-1980s it was taken up by Tome & Janry, who successfully rekindled it.

A spin-off series, Le Petit Spirou (Young Spirou), was started by Tome & Janry and details the antics of the character as an elementary school boy.

The series fits in with the European humorous adventure comics like Tintin and Asterix.

See also: Franco-Belgian comics

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