Real Name: Luke
Affiliations: Jolly Jumper (his horse) and Rantanplan, the dumbest dog in the West
Enemies: The Daltons (Joe, Jack, William, Averell), Ma Dalton, Billy the Kid, Jesse James
Known Relatives: None known
Base of Operations: The Wild West
First Appearance: Arizona 1880, in Spirou – 1947
Lucky Luke was created by Morris (Maurice De Bevere’s penname) one of the creators of the “Marcinelle School”. Stylistically, the Marcinelle school is a mix of cartoonish and realist, it is about the impression of movement, sometimes called comic-dynamic, while the Clair Line school (The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé) tends to be more schematic.
In 1957 a young French comic artist and writer René Goscinny joined Morris as assistant writer for the Lucky Luke stories. Goscinny was then still fairly unknown, but would become one of the most successful European comic writers, initially with his immortal characters Lucky Luke and a few years later with Asterix.
Lucky Luke is the world greatest cowboy. He can outshoot his own shadow (see picture above – used as a back album cover picture). He can lasso a whirlwind, outdraw, and outshoot anyone. He is a cowboy in the Wild West who travels around delivering justice wherever he goes, accompanied by his faithful companion, Jolly Jumper, the smartest horse on the planet and whose hobbies include chess, arm-wrestling, cooking, doing the laundry and running while asleep. Some of the stories have a historical basis, like the building of the cross-US railway, white settlement of Oklahoma, the first oil drills, and includes historical figures like “Judge” Roy Bean, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane.
Lucky Luke is, alongside Asterix and Tintin, one of the most famous characters in the 9th Art world. The Lucky Luke character has spent most of his illustrious career in the pages of Spirou, Pilote and Lucky Luke’s diary, but his fame has spread into animation, live-action films and television series and even video games. Merchandising (including the U.S.) has introduced Lucky Luke to a broad segment of the population with several generations of readers. After Morris’ death in 2001 (Album #72 “La Legende de L’Ouest” his final album) French artist Achdé continued drawing new Lucky Luke stories in collaboration with writer Laurent Gerra. The entire series (79 albums) has been translated into 23 languages, including many European languages, some African, and Asian languages. Lucky Luke is a masterpiece and a pillar of the Comic book world. Highly recommended.
The Lucky Luke series (46 albums) can be purchased through Cinebook The 9th Art Publisher.
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