Maurice Maréchal had a modest presence in the pages of the Belgian comics magazine Tintin in the 1950s and 1960s. However, he did present the magazine's readership an atypical and remarkable comic character: an elderly lady called 'Prudence Petitpas', who solved mysteries in the small village of Moucheron.
Maréchal was well into his thirties when he began working as a comic artist. He was a teacher in French and Spanish languages at the grammar school of Verviers (one of his students was René Hausman), and developed the concept for his comic series in his spare time. He presented it to his neighbour, the comic artist Raymond Macherot, who published the popular animal comic 'Chlorophylle' in Tintin magazine. Macherot helped Maréchal with the sketches of the first 'Petitpas' stories, and introduced his neighbour to the editors of Tintin magazine at Éditions Le Lombard in 1957. Prudence Petitpas and her cat Stanislas made their first appearance in Tintin in that same year, first published on 8 May 1957.
Maréchal found a partner in scriptwriter René Goscinny, who had a fruitful production for Tintin at the time. The character started out as somewhat of a gullible old lady, but gradually evolved into a comic book Miss Marple, who starred in short stories and gags. By 1960 Goscinny called it quits and Maréchal assumed full authorship of his comic.
Text (c) Lambiek