Saturday, 11 January 2014

Cooper and Luke

There are many examples of comic book heroes which were inspired by the particular movie characters or/and actors and vice versa. Sometime in the 60's, the comics magazine "Kekec", that I had following regularly, started publishing hilarious western cartoonish comic titled "Talični Tom". Later, some Croatian magazines published the same comic strip under the name "Srećko Munja". Only later I have learnt the comic's real title was: "Lucky Luke".
It was created by the Belgian cartoonist Maurice De Bevere, alias Morris, and often written by René Goscinny, scenarist of the Asteryx comic. Luke's name was inspired by that of Luciano Locarno, an Italian American sheriff who lived between 1860 and 1940. However, the real inspiration for the character and his looks was probably Gary Cooper. Just like Luke he was basically nice and benevolent, but tough and a sleek gunslinger when needed. Cooper was a chain smoker and a tuft lock of hair was sticking under his hat.
Later, when the animated cartoons were produced, Lucky Luke was dubbed with the characteristic deep Cooper's voice.
When smoking became unpopular in media, the cigarette in the comic was replaced by a straw sticking from Luke's mouth.
Together with The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix, Lucky Luke is one of the most popular and best-selling comic-book series in continental Europe.

The comic often features the characters which are in fact caricatures of the famous actors or the real people from the old wild West, like Jesse James, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, etc. The funniest "villains" are the Dalton brothers, the fictional "less successful" cousins of the real Dalton gang.

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