It is party time in Belgium for one of the nation’s best-loved cartoon characters. Gaston Lagaffe turns 50 today and events are taking place around the country to mark the occasion. Gaston, created by Andre Franquin, made his first appearence in the magazine Spirou in 1957. The lazy and accident-prone office junior, whose name is a word play on ‘blunder’, has become a hero to millions of fans.
A central theme is Gaston’s dilapidated car and his obsession with not paying for parking. As a birthday present the mayor of Brussels Freddy Thielemans has announced parking will be free for a day:
“For once Gaston will win his battle against parking metres.”
But he did urge people to pay anyway as the money will support a local hospital. While hugely popular in francophone countries Gaston has yet to make a big impact in the English-speaking world. Maybe his 50th birthday will help change that.