René Goscinny

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René Goscinny
Rene Goscinny.jpg
Born(1926-08-14)14 August 1926
Paris, France
Died5 November 1977(1977-11-05) (aged 51)
Paris, France
Area(s) Cartoonist, Writer, Editor
Pseudonym(s)d'Agostini, Stanislas
Notable works
Le Petit Nicolas
Lucky Luke
Collaborators Albert Uderzo
Jean-Jacques Sempé
Marcel Gotlib
Jean Tabary
Awards full list
Spouse(s)Gilberte Pollaro-Millo (1967–1977; his death; 1 child)

René Goscinny (French:  [ʁəne ɡosini] , Polish:  [ɡɔɕˈtɕinnɨ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 14 August 19265 November 1977) was a French comic editor and writer of Polish descent, who created the Astérix comic book series with illustrator Albert Uderzo. He also worked on the comic series Lucky Luke with Morris (considered[ by whom? ] the series' golden age) and Iznogoud with Jean Tabary. He also wrote a series of children's books known as " Le Petit Nicolas " series (Little Nicolas).

Poles people from Poland

The Poles, commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000, of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.

Comic book publication of comics art

A comic book or comicbook, also called comic magazine or simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Although comics has some origins in 18th century Japan, comic books were first popularized in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1930s. The first modern comic book, Famous Funnies, was released in the U.S. in 1933 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips, which had established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term comic book derives from American comic books once being a compilation of comic strips of a humorous tone; however, this practice was replaced by featuring stories of all genres, usually not humorous in tone.

Albert Uderzo French comic book artist

Alberto Aleandro Uderzo, known as Albert Uderzo, is a French comic book artist and scriptwriter. The son of Italian immigrants, he is best known for his work on the Astérix series and also drew other comics such as Oumpah-pah, also in collaboration with René Goscinny.


Early life

Goscinny was born in Paris in 1926, to a family of Jewish immigrants from Poland. [1] His parents were Stanisław Simkha Gościnny (the surname means hospitable in Polish; Simkha is his Jewish name meaning happiness), a chemical engineer from Warsaw, Poland, and Anna (Hanna) Bereśniak-Gościnna from Chodorków, a small village near Zhytomyr in the Second Polish Republic (now part of Ukraine). [2] Goscinny's grandfather, Abraham Lazare Berezniak, founded a printing company. [3] Claude, René's older brother, was born six years earlier, on 10 December 1920.

Jews ancient nation and ethnoreligious group from the Levant

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Warsaw City metropolis in Masovia, Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.78 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stanisław and Anna had met in Paris and married in 1919. The Gościnnys moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, two years after René's birth, because of a chemical engineer post which Stanisław had obtained there. René spent a happy childhood in Buenos Aires, and studied in the French schools there. He had a habit of being the "class clown", probably to compensate for a natural shyness. He started drawing very early on, inspired by the illustrated stories which he enjoyed reading.

Buenos Aires Place in Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

In December 1943, the year after he graduated from school, Goscinny's father died of a cerebral hemorrhage, forcing him to find a job. The next year, he got his first job, as an assistant accountant in a tire recovery factory. When he was laid off the following year, he became a junior illustrator in an advertising agency. [4]

Goscinny, along with his mother, left Argentina and went to New York in 1945, to join her brother Boris. To avoid service in the United States Armed Forces, he travelled to France to join the French Army in 1946. He served at Aubagne, in the 141st Alpine Infantry Battalion. Promoted to senior corporal, he became the appointed artist of the regiment and drew illustrations and posters for the army.

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.

French Army Land warfare branch of Frances military

The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.

Aubagne Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Aubagne is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southern France.

First works

The following year, he illustrated the book The Girl with The Eyes of Gold and returned to New York. On his arrival Goscinny went through the most difficult period of his life. For a while, he was jobless, alone and in poverty. By 1948, though, he recovered and started working in a small studio where he became friends with future MAD Magazine contributors Will Elder, Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman. [4] Goscinny then became art director at Kunen Publishers where he wrote four books for children. Around this time he met two Belgian comic artists, Joseph Gillain, better known as Jijé, and Maurice de Bevere, also known as Morris, the cartoonist and author of the series Lucky Luke (which Goscinny would write from 1955 until his death in 1977). [4]

Will Elder American illustrator

William Elder was an American illustrator and comic book artist who worked in numerous areas of commercial art but is best known for a frantically funny cartoon style that helped launch Harvey Kurtzman's Mad comic book in 1952.

Jack Davis (cartoonist) American cartoonist

John Burton "Jack" Davis, Jr. was an American cartoonist and illustrator, known for his advertising art, magazine covers, film posters, record album art and numerous comic book stories. He was one of the founding cartoonists for Mad in 1952. His cartoon characters are characterized by extremely distorted anatomy, including big heads, skinny legs and large feet.

Harvey Kurtzman American cartoonist

Harvey Kurtzman was an American cartoonist and editor. His best-known work includes writing and editing the parodic comic book Mad from 1952 until 1956, and writing the Little Annie Fanny strips in Playboy from 1962 until 1988. His work is noted for its satire and parody of popular culture, social critique, and attention to detail. Kurtzman's working method has been likened to that of an auteur, and he expected those who illustrated his stories to follow his layouts strictly.

Georges Troisfontaines, chief of the World Press agency, convinced Goscinny to return to Paris and work for his agency as the head of the Paris office in 1951. There he met Albert Uderzo, with whom he started a longtime collaboration. [4] [5] They started out with some work for Bonnes Soirées , a women's magazine for which Goscinny wrote Sylvie. Goscinny and Uderzo also launched the series Jehan Pistolet and Luc Junior in La Libre Junior .

In 1955, Goscinny, together with Uderzo, Jean-Michel Charlier, and Jean Hébrad, founded the syndicate Edipress/Edifrance. The syndicate launched publications like Clairon for the factory union and Pistolin for a chocolate company. Goscinny and Uderzo cooperated on the series Bill Blanchart in Jeannot, Pistolet in Pistolin and Benjamin et Benjamine in the magazine of the same name. Under the pseudonym Agostini, Goscinny wrote Le Petit Nicolas for Jean-Jacques Sempé in Le Moustique and later Sud-Ouest and Pilote magazines.

In 1956, Goscinny began a collaboration with Tintin magazine. He wrote some short stories for Jo Angenot and Albert Weinberg, and worked on Signor Spaghetti with Dino Attanasio, Monsieur Tric with Bob de Moor, Prudence Petitpas with Maurice Maréchal, Globul le Martien and Alphonse with Tibet, Strapontin with Berck and Modeste et Pompon with André Franquin. An early creation with Uderzo, Oumpah-pah , was also adapted for serial publication in Tintin from 1958-1962. [6] In addition, Goscinny appeared in the magazines Paris-Flirt (Lili Manequin with Will) and Vaillant (Boniface et Anatole with Jordom, Pipsi with Godard).

Pilote and Astérix

In 1959, the Édifrance/Édipresse syndicate started the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote . [7] Goscinny became one of the most productive writers for the magazine. In the magazine's first issue, he launched Astérix , with Uderzo. The series was an instant hit and remains popular worldwide. Goscinny also restarted the series Le Petit Nicolas and Jehan Pistolet, now called Jehan Soupolet. Goscinny also began Jacquot le Mousse and Tromblon et Bottaclou with Godard.

The magazine was bought by Georges Dargaud in 1960, and Goscinny became editor-in-chief. He also began new series like Les Divagations de Monsieur Sait-Tout (with Martial), La Potachologie Illustrée (with Cabu), Les Dingodossiers (with Gotlib) and La Forêt de Chênebeau (with Mic Delinx). With Tabary, he launched Calife Haroun El Poussah in Record, a series that was later continued in Pilote as Iznogoud . With Raymond Macherot he created Pantoufle for Spirou .


Goscinny married Gilberte Pollaro-Millo in 1967. In 1968 their daughter Anne Goscinny, who also became an author, was born.


Rene Goscinny's tombstone in Nice (F) GoscinnyReneGrabstein.JPG
René Goscinny's tombstone in Nice (F)

Goscinny died at 51, in Paris of cardiac arrest on 5 November 1977, during a routine stress test at his doctor's office. [8] He was buried in the Jewish Cemetery of Nice. In accordance with his will, most of his money was transferred to the chief rabbinate of France.

After Goscinny's death, Uderzo began to write Asterix himself and continued the series, although at a much slower pace, until passing the series over in 2011 to writer Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad. [9] Tabary similarly began to write Iznogoud himself, whereas Morris continued Lucky Luke with various other writers.

In a tribute to Goscinny, Uderzo gave his likeness to one of the characters in L'Odyssée d'Astérix ("Asterix and the Black Gold").


Since 1996, the René Goscinny Award is presented at the yearly Angoulême International Comics Festival in France as an encouragement for young comic writers.

According to UNESCO's Index Translationum, Goscinny, as of August 2017, was the 20th most-translated author, with 2,200 translations of his work. [10]


Lucky Luke [b] 1955–1977 Spirou and Pilote 38 Dupuis and Dargaud Morris
Modeste et Pompon [a] [b] 1955–1958 Tintin 2 Lombard André Franquin
Prudence Petitpas 1957–1959TintinLombard Maurice Maréchal
Signor Spaghetti1957–1965Tintin15Lombard Dino Attanasio
Oumpah-pah 1958–1962Tintin3Lombard Albert Uderzo
Strapontin1958–1964Tintin4Lombard Berck
Astérix [b] 1959–1977Pilote24DargaudAlbert Uderzo
Le Petit Nicolas 1959–1965Pilote5Denoël Sempé
Iznogoud [b] 1962–1977Record and Pilote14Dargaud Jean Tabary
Les Dingodossiers 1965–1967Pilote3Dargaud Gotlib


  1. Garcia, Laure. "Uderzo, le dernier Gaulois". Le Nouvel Observateur (in French).
  2. According to Yeruham Eniss the village had a soap factory that supplied the large Jewish community of nearby Chortkow with jobs selling and trading in soap. A census made in the late 1930s counted 3670 Jewish families in Khodorkov before World War II (ShtetLinks website)
  4. 1 2 3 4 Lambiek Comiclopedia. "René Goscinny".
  5. Lagardère. "Release of the 33rd Asterix volume".
  6. Asterix International!. "Albert Uderzo".
  7. BDoubliées. "Pilote année 1959" (in French).
  8. "Le gag raté de Goscinny : mourir d'un arrêt du cœur chez son cardiologue". Sciences et Avenir (in French). Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  9. Iovene, Franck. "Italy beckons for Gaul comic heros Asterix and Obelix".
  10. UNESCO Statistics. "Index Translationum - "TOP 50" Author". Official website of UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Retrieved 12 August 2017.

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