Jean Roba was one of the most popular artists of Spirou magazine, working for this weekly from the late 1950s until the mid 1980s. Born in Schaarbeek near Brussels, Roba had an education in several artistic disciplines such as Decorative Arts and fashion design. He began his career doing advertising illustrations through Studio Créas after fulfilling his military service in 1951. Roba worked for this studios for six years, and eventually became art director.
It was the end of 1959 when, together with Maurice Rosy, Roba created a short story about a little boy and his Cocker Spaniel for Spirou's mini-books section: 'Boule et Bill contre les Mini-requins'. In the following year, he developed this comic into a gag strip inspired by Charles Schulz's 'Peanuts', that became his trademark comic. It was largely inspired by his own family life. He named the main character after his son, who had the nickname Bouboule and who also owned a Cocker Spaniel named Bill. The sympathetic and recognisable family strip appeared in Spirou's pages on a weekly base until 1987.
After leaving Dupuis in 1987, Roba continued to draw 'Boule et Bill' for the publishing house Dargaud until his retirement. Throughout his career, he has made about 1000 gags pages with his beloved characters.
Text (c) Lambiek