Created by Maurice Tillieux (1921-78)
From Belgian cartoonist Maurice Tillieux came FÉLIX, one of the first hard-boiled private eyes in the BD's.
FÉLIX made his debut in the legendary Belgian weekly Héroïc Albums in 1949, as a young, bespectacled, frequently beret-wearing detective who, accompanied by his two pals, one an ex-cop, specialized in some pretty bizarre cases. Don't let the cartoonish art fool you. The strip boasted a moody and dense atmosphere, full of gloomy streets, uninviting back alleys, and merciless thugs, and cleverly-constructed scripts, imaginative characters, and some pretty heavy realism that made the strip unique for the time, almost in the vein of the popular Série Noire. Yet there were deft touches of light fantasy and humour. The series was soon very popular.
Besides writing the scripts, Tillieux was responsible for all the artwork, including colour preparation, cranking out a complete Félix story about once a month. No wonder scripts and artwork were frequently recycled for his other strips.
When Héroïc-Albums went belly up in 1956, Tillieux kept going. He created Gil Jourdan for Spirou, and the new character achieved even more popularity and success than Félix had ever enjoyed. Jourdan was essentially the same young PI, sans eyeglasses and beret, but the settings and stories bore more than a passing resemblance to those of Félix. Tillieux finally received some recognition from a much larger readership, and Gil Jourdan became one of the most influential and popular BD's in Europe, particularly in the 1970's, right up to the time of Tillieux's premature death, in an automobile accident, in 1978.