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Author biography Laudec

Laudec will never be a car mechanic with his own garage. Born on the 4th of June, 1947, in the south of Italy, he is three years old when his parents emigrate to Belgium and settle in Liège. His father, who hopes to return to Calabria one day, has a house and a garage built, dreaming of a future in polished chrome for his son. Unfortunately, this son of his is such a good student with such excellent results that he wins a SPIROU comic book. The damage is done: he wants to be a comic book illustrator! Before he gets there, he gets an electronics and automation certificate at the technical college, works for a heating company and then for one of the engineering offices of ACEC in Charleroi. He contributes to various Belgian fanzines for several years. In 1977 he wins a comic strip contest in Cheratte, the territory of Walthéry and Mittéï. The latter wants to hire him as his assistant, but put off by the nightly working hours, Laudec prefers security over adventure and continues to study the various types of electrical material during the day. In the evenings and weekends, however, he illustrates for SPIROU "Les Contes de Curé-la-flûte" based on a nostalgic script by Mittéï. He then works with Walthéry for the backgrounds of "Natacha" and a book about the Liège character "Tchanchès". In 1986, when his boss asks him to step into his office, not to throw him out (as his colleagues all expect) but to sign one of his books for him, he understands that he is finally able to devote himself to his first love. The public is ready to support him! His GP's diagnosis is the final straw: he is seriously overworked and has to choose between his serious profession and his unserious work if he wants to survive. Philippe Vandooren, still the editor in chief of the SPIROU newspaper before moving up to higher editorial positions, introduces him to Cauvin, productive scriptwriter at Éditions Dupuis. This time they hit it off. (They had met before when Laudec was still trying to find his way. Cauvin had said: "Your drawings are so rigid, it looks as if you draw at gunpoint!"). The illustrator shows him a pile of sketches of various characters. Vandooren immediately falls in love with a little boy. They both have the same idea: they want to create the adventures of a brat, his family and his school, i.e. a common, daily environment, lively and therefore easy to innovate. This is apparently a good formula, because the "Cedric" series ranks among the bestsellers with more than 100,000 copies sold. And the illustrator slips in many a private joke that goes unnoticed by the average reader, but not by his circle of family and friends. Mlle Nelly, the teacher, for instance, is his own wife who is also a teacher. The scoundrel has drawn her just as she is, with a very good likeness. She wears her hair differently since then, to avoid being recognised everywhere she goes. Still inclined to have two jobs at a time, Laudec decided to launch a second series of a more realistic style, "Taxi-Girl", also with scripts written by Cauvin. Despite the assistance of Michel Chantraine for the remarkable Parisian scenes he has completed no more than two books so far. Just like many of his colleagues, however, he is now forced to continue the adventures of this new character in view of the demand.

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