Gaston’s Desk — Now you can have your own!

One of the most endearing aspects of 50s and 60s Franco-belgian comics magazines like Spirou and Tintin is the fact that they were not just a collection of serialised comic albums, but rather all-round children’s periodicals. In addition to the newest adventures of “all your favourite heroes”, they contained regular columns on hobbies, technology, science and history, pen pal services and, most particularly, do it yourself projects.

Spirou 1184 (december 1960) contained one of the more splendid of these: a paper model of the magazine’s comedy mainstay Gaston Lagaffe’s office space, complete with desk, chair, lamp and file cabinet. Designed by regular contributor George Salmon (link in French), the model was on the same scale as the latex figurines of Gaston and his co-stars Spirou and Fantasio that Dupuis had produced earlier that year.

Kids were supposed to “create amazing photographs of the hero-without-work in his natural habitat” and “build a little theatre to play the stories from each week’s magazine”. And once you were done playing and you had to clear the kitchen table, you could easily clean up, as “all furniture fits in the desk, which in turn forms a box with the file cabinet”.

If you build this, please send me a picture. And even though the original Gaston figurines are very hard to find, you can always hunt for the more recent ones, issued by fast food chain Quick in 1990s, and quite readily available on Ebay.

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