As a distinct subgroup in the comic history, Belgian comics have exerted a heavy influence on European comic art.
To enhance communications between Belgian comic book writers and Chinese readers, the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation in China, Alliance Francaise de Pekin and French Dargaud Comics invited Turk, author of Leonard, to meet young Chinese readers on Aug. 26 at the 2015 Beijing International Book Fair.
Although Leonard is less famous than the country’s famous Tintin and the Smurfs, it is a favorite of many Chinese children.
The comic is set in the early Renaissance and follows its eponymous inventor Leonard and his assistant Basile. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, the character first appeared in 1976 and has been drawn by Turk for more than 30 years.
Leonard is a self-proclaimed genius who lives in a small town and comes up with all sorts of inventions. Most are based on recent, real-world creations such as televisions, fire extinguishers, cars and planes. He also makes more fanciful inventions such as time machines and robots.
Basile shows the inventor little respect – but it’s hard to blame him given Leonard’s over-sized ego. Even so, Leonard expects Basile to be enthusiastic about his inventions while Basile ironically repeats his motto, “I serve science, and it’s my joy.”
The stories are usually short ranging from one to half-a-dozen pages.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Leonard’s publication. So far, 45 books and six special issues have been published.
The Alliance Francaise de Pekin will host another workshop for Turk and his readers on Aug. 28.
In September, Turk will continue to tour in China and meet more young readers in cities such as Tianjin, Jinan, Hangzhou and Guangzhou.