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Friday, 20 July, 2001, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Lucky Luke creator dies
Maurice de Bevere
De Bevere's creation was a hit all over Europe
The Belgian creator of one of France's greatest cartoon heroes, cowboy Lucky Luke, has died aged 77.

Maurice de Bevere - pen name Morris - created the "poor lonesome cowboy" in 1946 with the 20-page adventure, Arizona 1880, in the French comic Spirou.

In France, where cartoon characters like Asterix and Tin Tin are a significant element in the national identity, the cool cowboy Luke was a major hit.

Maurice de Bevere
De Bevere's cool cowboy has been riding for 55 years
Lucky Luke went on to become one of the most popular cartoon characters in Europe, perhaps in part because the early scripts were written by the Asterix creator Rene Goscinny.

The laconic cowboy - who can draw a gun faster than his own shadow - has since starred in 87 books, which have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 300 million copies around the world.

Heroes

With his trusty horse Jolly Jumper he regularly took on the four evil Dalton brothers Joe, Jack, William and Averell with the dubious assistance of Rantanplan (Rin Tin Can in English), the most stupid dog in the universe.

On his adventures Lucky Luke encountered many other heroes of the Wild West, among them Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, judge Roy Bean and Jesse James.

Lucky Luke was noted for its exquisite draughtsmanship and its stylish use of curved lines - because De Bevere, a trained animator, knew that curved figures were easier to animate than straight-line drawings.

A Belgian, De Bevere was born on December 1, 1923 in Kortrijk.

He began work with a Belgian animation studio at the age of 20, and after World War II went to work with the Spirou troupe where he created Lucky Luke.

See also:

14 Mar 01 | Europe
Asterix back in the bookshops
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Asterix punches his way back
28 Nov 98 | Europe
Crazy for Tin Tin
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