René Goscinny was born in Paris on the 14th of August.
His family left two years later to live in Argentina.
He spent all his childhood and adolescence there and attended the Collège Français in Buenos-Aires.
Very early on he discovered his vocation : “to make people laugh” .
He started to make people laugh by making faces : I made funny faces well before I was able to talk.
then verbally : Very early on I discovered that a child’s remarks can be funny
and finally drawing : When I was 12 years old, I copied the text and drawings from an album of the Pieds Nickelés in its entirety.
At the age of 14 he started to fill sketch books with his drawings.
He passed his baccalaureate in 1943 and considered studying fine art, doing an arts degree, or joining the Forces Françaises Libres.
However, the sudden death of his father a week after his exams meant he had to find employment.
His first job was as a sub-assistant accountant in a tyre factory. He then worked as an assistant artist in an advertising agency.
His first work was published in October 1944 in the magazine “Quartier Latin” for the Collège Français. I was so extraordinarily successful as an assistant that I thought there was now only one country big enough to accommodate me : America.
He arrived in the USA on 17 October 1945 and found a job as an interpreter in a Moroccan import-export agency. He then went to France for his military service in May 1946. He left the army having been made a Sergeant thanks to his talents as an artist. That is how I came to be a brute with military stripes.
When he returned to the USA he had made the decision to become a professional artist. He was unemployed for 18 months during which he went from door to door with his portfolio trying to get his drawings published. I used that time to conduct an experiment : how long is it possible to survive on a hard boiled egg and a cup of coffee ? Roughly 20 minutes is the answer.
At the end of the 1948 he finally had a stroke of luck. He joined a small New York studio that had been set up by Harvey Kurtzman with Elder and Severin. He worked there until his departure from the USA and produced all kinds of work (drawings for advertising, artwork, post cards, lettering) and illustrated six children’s books (three puzzle books and three pop-up books). Professionally speaking, what I learned there is what enabled me to work here...
In the Autumn of 1949 he met Jijé and Morris who were staying in America. Both of them were already established cartoonists. Goscinny followed their example and advice and started his first cartoon strip : “Dick Dicks et les voleurs de statue (Dick Dicks and the Statue Thieves)”. He took 19 pages of this story with him when he arrived in Brussels at the end of 1950.