A comic-strip exhibition you shouldn’t miss: Billy and Buddy, Sixty years of everyday happiness
Billy & Buddy have been living a pretty happy life since their first publication in the comic magazine Spirou in 1959!
Apart from being a great story of friendship and humour, Billy and Buddy is first of all a poetic theatre. The series was first released by the graphic artist Jean Roba in the comic magazine Spirou in 1959. With the help of some 1,500 gags and nigh on 40 beautiful hardback comic books, the series caught the imagination of three generations of children. The main ingredients of the success are the close bond between Billy, a little boy, and his dog and a tender sense of humour. The parents too soon became enthralled with the series, as they loved the way in which the author managed to perfectly translate the universal world of childhood, family, relationships with the surrounding world, into gags, starting with the pets. The latter actually seem to have a really good insight into the human mind…
The adventures of Billy and Buddy were translated into some 15 languages, and from 1969 onwards they were turned into several animated television series. They subsequently also became the subject of a feature film in French with the actor Frank Dubosc playing the part of Billy’s father (2013 and 2017). In 2003, Jean Roba put Laurent Verron in charge of the production of the comic books. Since 2017, the series has been in the capable hands of two new artists: Bastide (graphic artist) and Cazenove (scriptwriter). They now walk in the footsteps of this great Belgian master.
With an amusing glimpse into the human condition, an environment of love and tenderness that needs to be preserved, as well as a certain feeling of nostalgia for all those ingredients that make for a simple and happy life, the portrayal of a dog’s life surrounded by a pet tortoise and the birds in the trees; the exhibition reminds us, as Saint-Exupéry once wrote, that one is the product of one’s childhood as one is the product of one’s country. So, we all somewhat belong to the country of Billy and Buddy. Or at least, that is what we aspire to.
Jean Auquier, Belgian Comic Strip Center
The exhibition is open until 31.12.19