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Subject: Belgian Comic Publisher Charles Dupuis

Brussels, Belgium
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Date Posted: November 16, 2002 1:02:59 EDT

Charles Dupuis, whose family printing house was behind the success of comic-strip characters including Spirou, Lucky Luke and the Smurfs, has died at the age of 84.

Dupuis died Thursday and his funeral was Saturday in his home town of Marcinelle, southern Belgium, according to media reports.

In 1938, Dupuis' publisher father Jean created the Spirou comic book in Belgium to rival Disney's Le Journal de Mickey and other American imports.

Charles Dupuis attracted cartoonists who went on to become stars in a country where comic-strips are revered as a serious art form. Among them was Franquin who created Gaston Lagaffe and Marsupilami, Peyo who drew the Smurfs and Lucky Luke creator Morris.

"This man created a style, an invented country where all these characters were born ... these travelling companions of our cultural identity," said Richard Miller, culture minister of Belgium's French-speaking commuinty, said in tribute to Dupuis.

Under Charles Dupuis' guidance, the company grew in the decades following World War II, moving successfully into comic-strip albums and animated films for cinema and television.

Charles Dupuis retired in 1985, when the family sold the firm. Under new ownership, the company continues under the Dupuis name, and Spirou magazine remains popular, with weekly sales reaching some 85,000 a week.

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