André Franquin (January 3, 1924 – January 5, 1997) was an influential Belgian cartoonist, whose best known comic strip creations are Gaston and the Marsupilami. He also worked on the Spirou et Fantasio comic strip from 1947 to 1969, a period which is seen by many as the series' golden age.
Proof of his popular and critical appeal, Franquin was awarded the very first Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême in 1974. Many books by Franquin have been published, a good number of which are considered classics of the genre. They have been translated in many languages. Several books have been written about Franquin, such as Numa Sadoul's Et Franquin créa la gaffe, an exhaustive interview with the artist covering his entire career.
Franquin's death in 1997 in Saint-Laurent-du-Var didn't quite elicit the kind of worldwide posthumous homage Hergé received. However, 2004 saw the first major museum retrospective of his work, an exhibit called Le monde de Franquin, in Paris' Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie this exhibition was continued in 2006 in the city where he was born, Brussels, the latter was fully bilingual (French/Dutch). In 2005, a Walloon survey elected him as the "16th greatest Belgian ever".
Recently an exhibition (27 October 2006 - 15 April 2007) in Brussels featured full size re-creations of the imaginative cartoonist works of his comic based industrial design. So here are the original panel illustrations and the full size "real: machines. Have a look and wish-like I do- that all creative people had a had in the ordinary and not-so ordinary machines in our sadly often un-fantastic world.
Picture credits: The photos are from yhanckis flicker photostream (kudo's to Steve of the ScooterScoop for the great tip on the site). Franquin's drawing are from the colourful Franquin homepage.