He supposedly “faster than his shadow.” Lucky Luke celebrates his 75th birthday this Sunday. In Germany alone, more than 30 million albums have been sold to date. For the first time, the “Poor Lonesome Cowboy” rode the talking horse Jolly Jumper on November 14, 1946 for the first time through a comic adventure. First, “Lucky Luke” appeared in the Belgian youth magazine “Spirou”. Since then, he has repeatedly stopped the Dalton brothers’ criminal craft. Lucky Luke met many stars of the Wild West: from gunslinger Billy the Kid to writer Mark Twain to blue jeans pioneer Levi Strauss.
When Morris created “Lucky Luke”, he only had four fingers – as comic fans know from Mickey Mouse and the Simpsons. Since then, the “lonely cowboy” has grown two fingers. The longtime “Lucky Luke” draftsman emphasized that he “had no style at the time.” After all, he had no education. Therefore, he copied a lot from Tintin inventor Hergé. Morris alias Maurice De Bevere is considered one of the most important draftsmen of the 20th century. The tube trousers, the yellow shirt, the red scarf and the white hat are the trademark of “Lucky Luke” to this day. Until his death in 1977, the Belgian gave the western hero a very special joke. He even stipulated in his will that “Lucky Luke”Should go on.
Draftsman Achdé guards the legacy and has followed in his footsteps. The story “Arizona 1880” appeared in a longer version. “Almanach Spirou 1947” followed on December 7th. That’s why there is disagreement among comic fans as to whether Lucky Luke’s birthday will be in November or December. Either way, Lucky Luke has always been more than a comic book series. In the episode “The Singing Wire”, the series deals with the history of technology, for example. Xenophobia is discussed in “Das Greenhorn”. Environmental impacts are also addressed (“In the shadow of the derrick”). Young readers learn fun facts along the way, but also many basic features of US history.
The cigarette was an integral part of “Lucky Luke” for many years. Since he first rolled and lit a cigarette in the episode “Rodeo” in 1948, he has not been able to get away from it for 35 years. The friendly gunslinger smoked in pretty much every picture. That changed in 1983, however. Since then he has been chewing on stalks. Five years later, Morris was awarded a medal in Geneva for this decision by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. Morris died in Brussels in 2001 at the age of 77. His legacy is impressive. He leaves a total of 87 volumes by Lucky Luke that have been translated into more than 30 languages.