William Vance

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William Vance
BornWilliam van Cutsem
(1935-09-08)8 September 1935
Anderlecht, Belgium
Died14 May 2018(2018-05-14) (aged 82)
Santander, Spain
Area(s)artist, writer
Notable works
Bob Morane
Bruce J. Hawker
Bruno Brazil
Awardsfull list

William van Cutsem (8 September 1935 – 14 May 2018), better known by his pen name William Vance, was a Belgian comics artist known for his distinctive realistic style and work in Franco-Belgian comics.[1]


William van Cutsem was born in Anderlecht near Brussels in 1935.[2] After his military service in 1955–1956, he studied for four years at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.[1] Originally from Flanders, he worked most of his life in France, and moved later to Santander, Spain.[3]

William Vance started drawing for the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Tintin in 1962.[4] After drawing complete real-life stories of four pages for a few years, he started work on his first series, Howard Flynn, written by Yves Duval.[5] Three albums followed, before he created other short-lived series such as the Western Ringo and Roderik. His first success followed with the series about secret agent Bruno Brazil, written by Tintin's editor-in-chief Greg, as one of the comics that started the revival and repositioning of Tintin as a more adult-oriented magazine.[6]From 1967 on, he continued the stories of Bob Morane in Femmes d'aujourd'hui, a magazine aimed at adult women. This science fiction series, based on the novels by Henri Vernes, was started by Dino Attanasio and continued by Gerald Forton before Vance took over and made it a success. Between 1969 and 1979, 18 albums with his artwork were published.[4] A few years later, the series moved to Tintin as well, and Vance was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Felicisimo Coria.[5]

Vance meanwhile started two new series, Ramiro, with stories set in medieval Spain, and from 1976 onwards, Bruce J. Hawker, his personal favourite, starring a lieutenant in the Royal Navy.[7]

His final breakthrough and largest commercial success came in 1984, when writer Jean Van Hamme proposed a new series, XIII. First serialised in Spirou magazine, this series of contemporary adventures with action, violence, and complicated intrigues, let Vance draw upon his talent for realistic drawings, action scenes and exotic settings. By 2007, he had drawn 18 albums in the series, which sold more than 14 million copies in more than 20 countries, and was twice adapted into a TV series.[4] The series was coloured by his wife Petra Coria, with whom he lived in Santander, Spain.[1]

In 2010, Vance announced his retirement due to Parkinson's disease. He died of the disease on 14 May 2018.[4]


Vance worked in a highly detailed realistic style which has been described as "precise and nervous", an "inimitable" style resembling no other author.[1][5] An article in Der Tagesspiegel discussing his series Bruno Brazil called his early work already "meticulous" and "sophisticated", but describes how in the early 1970s it drifted away from the more typical realistic style common in Belgian comics at the time, and became influenced by Dutch comics artist Hans G. Kresse. He also started experimenting with the page layout, with large central panels, and with the colouring, which showed influences of psychedelic art.[6]



These are the comic albums drawn by William Vance published until 2007. Between 2001 and 2011 most of his older work was republished in Tout Vance by Le Lombard and by Dargaud.[9]

Howard Flynn[1]1966–19693Yves DuvalLe Lombard and Dargaud
Ringo1967–1978[1]3AcarLe Lombard and Dargaud
Bruno Brazil1969–1995[1]11[2]GregLe Lombard and Dargaud
Bob Morane1967–1980[1]18Henri VernesLe Lombard and Dargaud
C'étaient des hommes19761William VanceDeligne
Ramiro1974–1989[1]10Jacques StoquartDargaud
Roderic19792Lucien MeysBédéscope
XIII1984–200718Jean Van HammeDargaud
Bruce J. Hawker1985–19967William VanceLe Lombard
Marshall Blueberry1991–1992[1]2Jean GiraudAlpen
XHG-C3 – Le vaisseau rebelle19951William VanceGibraltar


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Quoidbach, Serge (15 May 2018). "PORTRAIT: William Vance, le dessinateur de XIII, s'est éteint". L'Echo (in French). 
  2. ^ a b c "Stripmonument William Vance overleden". De Morgen (in Dutch). Belga. 15 May 2018. 
  3. ^ De Weyer, Geert (2005). "William Vance". In België gestript, pp. 167–169. Tielt: Lannoo.
  4. ^ a b c d "Décès de William Vance, le dessinateur de «XIII»". Tribune de Genève (in French). AFP. 15 May 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c Potet, Fréderic (15 May 2018). "Mort de William Vance, coauteur de « XIII », grand fauve de la BD franco-belge". Le Monde (in French). 
  6. ^ a b "Zwischen Kaiman und Kamikaze". Tagesspiegel (in German). 15 May 2018. 
  7. ^ Van Herck, Johan (2005). Defensie Stript! Evere: Defensie DG IPR. ISBN 90-75172-03-6
  8. ^ Belga (2009-10-12). "Geestelijke vader van XIII is ereburger van Brussel" (in Dutch). De Standaard. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  9. ^ "Vance, William". Bédétheèque. Retrieved 15 May 2018. 


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