The company was founded in 1780 by Donat-Joseph Casterman, an editor and bookseller originally from Tournai. Casterman was originally a printing company and publishing house. In 1934, Casterman took over the Le Petit Vingtième editions for the publication of the albums of The Adventures of Tintin, from the 4th album of the series, Cigars of the Pharaoh. From 1942, Casterman published reworked versions and colored versions of the previous Tintin albums.
Keen to appeal to a more mature market, Casterman decided in 1973 to publish the first albums of Corto Maltese by the Italian author Hugo Pratt. Furthermore, in 1978 Casterman established its monthly magazine A Suivre, which was to have an impact on the comics revival of the 1980s. Casterman ceased the publication of A Suivre in 1997.