Rene Goscinny

Rene Goscinny

Best known as the author of Asterix, Goscinny is also the talent behind the scenario of Lucky Luke, the hugely popular comic book of 'the cowboy who shoots faster than his shadow'. Goscinny was born on 11 August 1926 in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, the son of Stanislas (Simkha) from Warsaw and of Anna Beresniak from Khodorkow, a small Ukrainian village. In 1928, his parents took him to Argentina, where his father, a chemical engineer, had been seconded. He spent a happy childhood in Buenos Aires, and studied at the French Lyce just before the Second World War. He had a habit of making every one laugh in class, probably to compensate for a natural shyness. He started drawing very early on, inspired by the illustrated stories which he enjoyed reading. In 1945, he emigrated to the United States. "I went to the United States to work with Walt Disney" he was to say later "but Walt Disney didn't know that". He found himself in New York, jobless, alone and totally broke. The next 6 years, which he spent in New York, are often considered his formative years. As he said "It was not so toughened me up, although I would have liked it better if others had been toughened up on my behalf". It is during these years that he met his first friends, some who were to publish "Mad" in 1945, and others with whom he was to collaborate for a long time to come. Among these was Maurice de Bvre aka Morris, the cartoonist and first author of Lucky Luke. He also met Georges Troisfontaines, the boss of the World Press Agency in Belgium, who persuaded Goscinny to work for him. He returned to Europe in 1951 for this purpose, but was fired in 1956 for trying to put in place a charter to protect the status of cartoonists and scenarist. The years until the creation of the magazine "Pilote" were years of transition, when Goscinny's talent matured and he seized upon many opportunities. Besides his collaboration with Morris on the Lucky Luke series from 1955 onwards, Goscinny worked on the scenario of "Le petit Nicolas" (Little Nicholas) in cartoon form with its creator, Sempe. In 1959 the magazine "Pilote" was launched. Goscinny found his place in the editorial team among some of his faithful friends from World Press. The aim of "Pilote" was to change radically the way that the graphic novel ("the BD") would be perceived in France, and competed with "Tintin" and "Spirou" magazines on their own territories. How best to go about that task than by inventing an astute little Gaul, give him a large size sidekick and place their adventures within a little village of irreducible Gauls whose names all end in -ix? Asterix is born. The bande dessinee enters adulthood. He married Gilberte Pollaro-Millo in 1967. In 1968 his daughter Anne is born. Many young authors owe their fame to Goscinny, who opened for them the pages of "Pilote". While working on scenarios for the television and the cinema and on many different texts, Goscinny headed Pilote in one capacity or another until his death on 5 November 1977. Photo by Peters, Hans / Anefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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