The "Gang of Four" (Bande des Quatre) now have their own crossroads
The Waterloo municipal authorities have inaugurated the "Carrefour de la Bande des Quatre" between Drève de la Meute and Avenue Belle Vue. It opened seventy-five years to the day after the creation of the lone cowboy, Lucky Luke, in the famous Walloon Brabant town on 7 December 1946. It is currently the fourth biggest selling comic book in the world, with more than 300 million albums, translated into 29 languages. This famous "Gang" refers to a group of big names in Belgian comics in the immediate post-war period.
In 1946, Joseph Gillain, alias Jijé (Blondin et Cirage, Jean Valhardi), artistic director of Spirou magazine, acquired a large house in Waterloo for his family. He then created the first comic book workshop in Europe, where he welcomed André Franquin (Spirou, Gaston Lagaffe, Marsupilami), Willy Maltaite, known as Will, (Tif et Tondu, Isabelle) and Maurice De Bevere, the creator of Lucky Luke under the pseudonym Morris. It was Jean Dupuis, founder of the publishing house, who gave them the nickname the "Gang of Four". Each corner of the crossroads has a plaque bearing the name of each of the four famous cartoonists: Jijé, Franquin, Will and Morris.
Waterloo is a landmark of military history and a reminder that it is also a landmark in the history of comics, an art form that was not taken seriously in its early days. It was Morris, an honorary citizen of the city since 1996, who coined the term "9th art", giving comics their rightful place.