Well, here is a decision that could well bury the resurrection of Gaston Lagaffe. Admittedly, Belgian justice authorized, in a private arbitration rendered on Tuesday May 30, the publisher Dupuis to revive the famous character in the green sweater, but on condition that the daughter of the designer Franquin be consulted and authorized to raise objections to such a project. However, until now, Isabelle Franquin camped on a clear position: no Lagaffe under another pen than that of his father.
The affair had come to light in March 2022, at the Angoulême festival. Dupuis had caused a stir in the world of Franco-Belgian comics by announcing the forthcoming release of a new episode of the adventures of Lagaffe, a new album entitled The Return of Lagaffe, under the pencil of Canadian designer Marc Delafontaine (alias Delaf). But that was without taking into account the pugnacity of Isabelle Franquin, daughter and sole beneficiary of the designer André Franquin who died in 1997.
Dupuis editions believe that they own the economic rights to Franquin’s characters, through the acquisition in 2013 of the company Marsu Productions with which the creator of Lagaffe had concluded a transfer agreement in 1992. For her part, Isabelle Franquin argued that her father himself “in no way wanted Gaston Lagaffe to be taken over by another cartoonist after his death”. It is “an inalienable moral right” that she can exercise, her lawyer Martine Berwette insisted in May 2022.
“Any refusal on his part must be justified by ethical or artistic reasons”
To be heard, Isabelle Franquin took legal action in Belgium. She first obtained, in the context of an action in summary proceedings a year ago, the suspension of the publication of the Feedbackinitially scheduled for October 2022. In fact, Dupuis has undertaken not to publish a new album before 2023 at the earliest, until the dispute is settled on the merits by private arbitration, in this case a Brussels lawyer chosen by both parties.
The latter therefore rendered his conclusions in this procedure, which is not subject to appeal. “Gaston par Delaf’s project was not approved by Isabelle Franquin” et “moral rights” what the latter does «ressort intact»is it stipulated in the decision. “His agreement is essential for any new creation, including the choice of the author”insists the referee according to the press release, which specifies that “any refusal on his part must be justified by ethical or artistic reasons”.
“A new Gaston Lagaffe album will be released soon”
“The principle of a resurrection of Gaston is legal but Dupuis and Dargaud-Lombard did not respect the contractual process of approval and Isabelle Franquin always has the right to assert her observations”, summarized Tuesday evening the lawyers of Isabelle Franquin. If she doesn’t change course, Gaston could remain quite cushy in his hammock.
However, the Dupuis editions hastened, this Wednesday morning, to announce the release of the album in a press release titled “A new Gaston Lagaffe album will be released soon”. “The arbitration decision confirms our respect for the contract signed by André Franquin”wants to retain Julie Durot, the managing director of the publishing house, who ensures that “Dupuis always had the greatest consideration for Franquin’s work and moral rights”.
“Editions Dupuis are delighted to be able to continue to bring the legendary character of Gaston Lagaffe to life with this new album drawn and scripted by Delaf”, is it still written. So what to understand? That the soap opera surrounding this new publication is probably not over. Rongtudju!
#Isabelle #Franquins #agreement #indispensable #Dupuis #announces #album #Liberation