Will there be a new Gaston Lagaffe album? Dupuis editions announced, Wednesday, May 31, that Belgian justice had given them reason in the dispute opposing them to Isabelle Franquin, the daughter of André Franquin, the creator of the famous comic book character, who died in 1997. A “referee” independent, lawyer by profession, had been appointed in March 2022, following Dupuis’ project to give Gaston a second life under the pencil of another designer, the Canadian Delaf – a project strongly contested by the heiress and entitled of the Brussels master.
During his lifetime, Franquin had indeed declared on several occasions that he did not want his hero to survive him, just like Hergé with Tintin. The designer had however sold, in 1992, the exploitation rights of Gaston Lagaffe to an entrepreneur of his friends, Jean-François Moyersoen. In the contract, bought by Dupuis in 2013, a clause specifies the conditions necessary for possible extensions of his work: “No adjustment (…) cannot take place without the agreement of the author, who can only refuse it for ethical or artistic reasons. It is the same for any creation of a new work. »
It is on the basis of these “ethical and artistic motives” that Dupuis built his defense. The forty-four gags made in secret, for four years, by Delaf – Marc Delafontaine, his real name, also co-author of the successful series The navels –, are part of a logic of remake ” Alike “. Delaf melted his brush into that of the sacred monster of Franco-Belgian comics that was Franquin, appropriating his universe with a confusing resemblance.
Isabelle Franquin’s lawyers indicated that “if the principle of a resurrection is lawful”their client “always has the right to submit its observations” on the new gags produced, after a given period of time. “Isabelle Franquin cannot oppose it, insofar as Delaf’s work does not affect the work produced by her father during his lifetime”we explain at the headquarters of the publishing house.
“I am delighted with this decision and look forward to sharing the fruits of my labor with the public. I hope that by closing the album, readers will feel all the love and respect I have for Gaston and his incomparable creator André Franquin”, Delaf said in the Dupuis statement. Initially hoped for October 2022 based on a circulation of 1.2 million copies, the album could be released before the end of the year. “If we find enough paper to print it”we condition at Dupuis.