François Craenhals

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François Craenhals (15 November 1926 – 2 August 2004) was a Belgian comics artist best known for the comic series Chevalier Ardent and Les 4 As.


François Craenhals was born in Evere in 1926.[1] He was a fan of American comics by Alex Raymond and Hal Foster, and created his first comic Karan in the vein of Tarzan at the end of the 1940s. For the weekly magazine Le Soir Illustré, he made at the same time a medieval comic about a knight.

When he presented these comics to Tintin magazine, he was accepted as art director and gradually started making short comics for the magazine. His first main series debuted in 1953: Pom et Teddy was a series about a boy and a girl and their pet donkey, and the first stories were gentle stories about a circus.

Craenhals soon became one of the main producers of comics for magazines and newspapers, and a number of collaborators joined his studio. He worked for the Averbode magazine Petits Belges, and published for many years Primus et Musette in La Libre Belgique. He was one of the first comics artists to join Hergé at the editor Casterman, where his two main series were published: the juvenile Les 4 As about a band of four youngsters (three boys and a girl) and their over-the-top adventures; and the more adult, Prince Valiant-inspired Chevalier Ardent (The Brave Knight), about a young knight at the time of King Arthur. Both series were reasonable good selling series, and the latter was a critical success as well.[1]

In the 1990s, Craenhals moved to Rivières-de-Theyrargues in the south of France, where he continued drawing his two series until his death in 2004 in Montpellier.[2]


Series Years Volumes Editor Remarks
Rémy et Ghislaine 1955 2 Le Lombard
Pom et Teddy 1956-1980 11 Le Lombard, Dargaud, Samedi-Jeunesse and Rijperman
Sensations à Lourdes 1958 1 Altiora Averbode
Primus et Musette 1961-1973 27 La Libre Belgique and La Cité
Aventure à Sarajevo 1962 1 Le Lombard and Dargaud
Les 4 As 1964-2004 41 Casterman Additional artwork by J. Debruyne
Chevalier Ardent 1970-2001 20 Casterman
Fantômette 1982-1984 4 Hachette Story by Georges Chaulet
Mystère de l'An... 1989-1995 2 Harambee Story by R. Dardenne
Un drame dans six coeurs 1995 1 Harambee Story by R. Dardenne
Une lumière dans la nuit 1995 1 Harambee Story by R. Dardenne

His comics have been translated in many languages, including Dutch, German and Swedish.



  1. ^ a b De Weyer, Geert (2005). "François Craenhals". In België gestript, pp. 96-97. Tielt: Lannoo.
  2. ^ Obituary in The Comics Reporter (Last retrieved 25 October 2006)


  • Béra, Michel; Denni, Michel; and Mellot, Philippe (1998): "Trésors de la Bande Dessinée 1999-2000". Paris, Les éditions de l'amateur. ISBN 2-85917-258-0

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