Don't let the kid stuff artwork fool you.
Gil Jourdan was a very popular, and surprisingly hardboiled, series of Belgian graphic novels in the sixties and seventies relating the adventures of young ("I started very early") private eye GIL JOURDAN. They make for thrilling reads, full of witty dialogue, fast-paced P.I. action and, thanks to the creator's love of automobiles, some pretty spectacular car chases. Tillieux drew the adventures of his unflappable detective Gil Jourdan in a classic, seemingly harmless cartoony style.
Yet, at the same time, he was revolutionizing Belgian comics by doing serious, unflinching stories obviously intended for adult readers, pulling few punches. In fact, the first two albums were banned in France for depicting drug trafficking and ridiculing the ineffectiveness of the police to do anything about it..
Amazing Comics referred to artist/creator Tillieux as "the Howard Hawks of kiddie comics," although, given his love of cars, and his deftly wielded light touch, perhaps Stephen J. Cannell is more apt.
Gil's no mere Tintin in a trenchcoat, either. He's a crafty investigator, a snappy dresser with a degree in criminology, a caustic sense of humour and a fierce loyalty to Libellule, his ex-con assistant, and Queue-de-Cerise, his fiercely loyal tomboy secretary. His police contact, and sometime-foil, is Inspector Crouton, a thirty year cop, honest but not overly swift, who owes much of his professional success to Gil's brains and occasional helping hand.
Tillieux often recycled old strips, right down to dialogue and artwork. An earlier eye, Félix, was almost a carbon copy of Jourdan, who made his debut in the September 20, 1956 issue of Spirou (one of the most famous comic magazines in Europe, still existing today), and appeared on and off in various publications for the next twenty years or so. Right from the start, Tillieux managed to capture the essence of Cold War France in the fifties, thanks to his eye for detail and his very influential, and much imitated, semi-realistic drawing style. In 1969, after twelve Gil Jourdan albums, Tillieux abandoned graphic work, leaving other, lesser, writers and artists to continue the series. Gil made his last appearance in a Tintin Spécial in 1978, about the same time Tillieux was killed in an automobile accident.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Merci à Mark Treuthardt for his comments.
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