Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Golden Harp: Ragnar le Viking

by John Adcock

Ragnar le Viking was an epic Hal Foster-inspired tale of the adventures of a Viking prince, on sea and land, with fantastic scenes from Norse mythology. Ragnar was drawn by Portuguese artist Eduardo Teixeira Coelho (under his pseudonym ‘Martin Sièvre’) and written by Frenchman Jean Ollivier. 

1955 [2] La harpe d’Or, in Vaillant 521.

The first serial, La harpe d’Or, was published in the French comic magazine Vaillant (beginning in No. 515) in 1955. The last six stories — one serial, and five complete episodes — appeared in 1969 with Vaillant’s title changed to Pif Gadget.

1955 [3] La frontière de l’Enfer, in Vaillant 561.

Eduardo Teixeira Coelho was born January 4, 1919, in Angra do Heroismo (Azores), Portugal. He signed his comics with ‘ETC,’ ‘ETCoelho’ or ‘Martin Sièvre.’ For unknown reasons older French articles about him garbled his name as ‘Etcheveri,’ which was only corrected in more recent texts. Starting in 1943, he was one of the most frequent contributors to the biweekly Portuguese magazine O Mosquito, creating the series Sigurd o Herói and O Caminho do Oriente. Other Portuguese artists like António Cardoso Lopes Júnior (b.1907), Jayme Cortez (b.1926) or José Ruy (b.1930), together with noted Spanish names such as Emilio Freixas (b.1899) or Jesús Blasco (b.1919), were a few of the other author-artists present. 

1958 [4] La fille du roi Igvar, in Vaillant 721.

O Mosquito ran from 1936 to 1953, beginning at a time when in France, Belgium, Spain and Italy la bande dessinée historique — the comic strip set in historical times — was emerging. Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant appeared in O Mosquito in 1946 which had a tremendous influence on Coelho’s style of drawing. Also working as a book illustrator in 1953 he illustrated an adaptation of Don Quixote published in Portugal. He did four episodes of Falcão Negro for O Mosquito, a magazine that came to a rather abrupt end. Portuguese magazine Cavaleiro Andante reprinted some of his strips.

1959 [5] Les enfants Bersek, in Vaillant 738.

In late 1954 Coelho left Portugal first for Spain, then France, England, France again and finally Italy. In late 1954 and early 1955, after he went abroad, five comic book series for children were still published in Portugal, in varying formats. For decades those would remain the last stories he did for Portugal. In France Coelho took employment with Vaillant (later Pif Gadget) where he illustrated the series Ragnar le Viking, Davy Crockett, Yves le Loup, Erik le Rouge, Robin des Bois and Le Furet (the ferret). Most of his work was done in collaboration with comic strip scenarists Jean Ollivier and Roger Lécureux (both born in 1925). In 1964 he illustrated Cartouche for Jeunesse et Vacances.

1955 [6] La frontière de l’Enfer, in Vaillant 565.

Yellow Kid Award. Over his long career Coelho published comics in Spain, Germany, and Italy. In Great Britain much of his work was published by the Amalgamated Press since the mid-1950s. In 1973 the talented ‘ETC’ received the Yellow Kid award for Best Foreign Artist at the Lucca festival in Italy. He passed away on May 31, 2005, in Florence, Italy.

1960 [7] Le jarl Sigurg, in Vaillant 772.

Eduardo Teixeira Coelho’s UK Comics List
Bowmen of King Harry 
(in Comet 380-393, 29 Oct 1955 to 28 Jan 1956)
The Story of Sleeping Beauty 
(in Playhour 82-87, 5 May to 9 June 1956)
Robin Hood and the Spectre of Doomsday Keep 
(in Thriller Comics Library 134, June 1956)
Robin Hood and the Sheriff’s Ruby Ring 
(in Thriller Comics Library 158, Jan 1957)
Robin Hood and Will Scarlet’s Revenge 
(in Thriller Comics Library 162, Feb 1957)
Robin Hood and the Saxon Feud 
(in Robin Hood Annual 1957)
Robin Hood and the Red Fox 
 (in Robin Hood Annual 1957)
The Story of Wat O’ The Whip  
(in Robin Hood Annual 1957)
The Story of Aladdin 
(Playhour 100-105, 8 Sep to 13 Oct 1956)
The Story of Puss-in-Boots 
(in Playhour 106-111, 20 Oct to 24 Nov 1956)
Knights of the Red Eagle 
(in Thriller Picture Library 172, May 1957)
 The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk 
(in Playhour 134-137, 4 May to 25 May 1957)
The Story of Tom Thumb 
(in Playhour 141-147, 22 June to 3 Aug 1957)

ca.1969 [8] A photograph of the one and only, elusive Eduardo Teixeira Coelho (1919-2005).
THANKS to Arthur Lortie, Steve Holland and Leonardo De Sá, author (with António Dias de Deus) of the career retrospective E.T. Coelho: A Arte e a Vida, 1998.


1 comment:

  1. I still don’t know WHEN Eduardo Teixeira Coelho became Matin Sièvre, but it certainly didn’t occur BEFORE 1965. In its issue number 1038 (April 4, 1965), “Vaillant” presents to their readers their "vedettes”—the artists who made their comics. The author of “Ragnar” (no reference to Jean Ollivier, the writer) is presented as Etcheverry, with a photograph of someone who obviously is not the real artist (something who, also obviously, was not a mistake).
    The first page of “Ragnar” is signed ETC. Not all “Ragnar” pages are signed, but at least until the page published in “Vaillant” no. 777, ETC is the only signature on the pages.
    More on "Ragnar" here: