Dr. Contraptus: The authors Turk and De Groot, two inseparable comic geniuses!

Making somebody as famous as Leonardo da Vinci into a funny comic strip is a daunting task. Only Turk and De Groot could pull it off. Find out who’s behind Dr. Contraptus, the comic strip genius.

Bob de Groot, a man with some crazy ideas

Leonard DE GROOTLike any genius worthy of his name, Bob de Groot wasn’t very good at school. But this didn’t stop him becoming a cartoonist, working firstly for Maurice Tillieux, then for the magazines ‘Pilote’ and ‘Spirou’. Along the way, he met somebody who would change the course of his life: the cartoonist Turk, who was the missing cog he needed for his ‘gag machine’. The prolific duo created various characters. Leonard_serie_tv_bd_leo01

Archimède in 1968 for ‘Spirou’, then Robin Dubois for the magazine ‘Tintin’, which was their first major success: he was voted favorite character seven years in a row by readers from 7 to 77 years old. In 1972, nine comic books later, they started working on the character Clifton, originally created by Raymond Macherot (a series which Bob de Groot then continued with Bédu, then Rodrigue). In the meantime, the final piece of the Dr. Contraptus puzzle fell into place: de Groot gave up cartoons to concentrate on writing instead. In 1975, for ‘Achille Talon Magazine’, he and Turk wrote the first of the now famous adventures of Dr. Contraptus. The rest is history… Next, they tried out several draft ideas, including writing scripts for Lucky Luke and Rantanplan with Morris and for ‘Des Villes et des Femmes’ with Ph. Francq, ‘Doggyguard’ with Rodrigue, ‘Père Noël et Fils’ with Bercovici and ‘Le Bar des Acariens’ with Godi. There’s no doubt about it, Bob de Groot brought some crazy new ideas to the world of comics (who said ‘Tex Avery’?) … and the world went crazy for them too!

Turk, a gifted artist


Like his partner, Turk is one of those geniuses whose talent was precocious. At just 16 years old, he was hired by the artists’ studio Leonard_serie_tv_bd_basile01of the Dupuis Publishing House in Brussels. That’s where he met many different cartoonists, including Bob de Groot. It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship, and they would crank out many cartoon ideas over the years.

At about this time, the TV channel Léonavision™ had the great idea of broadcasting the 1938 film Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn. It gave Turk and de Groot a brilliant idea! The inanity of this slightly dated production struck them as good material for a spoof. Robin Dubois was born. Later, at the request of ‘Tintin’ magazine, the duo started working on the character Clifton, created by Raymond Macherot.

In 1975, the two partners tackled another historical icon: Leonardo Da Vinci. This wonderful idea allowed Turk to explore various graphic ideas which had been on his mind, especially that of illustrating mechanical devices, and use gags which owed a lot to American cartoons to structure the action.

These were all qualities which made him the ideal cartoonist to illustrate the incredible adventures of Docteur Bonheur (based on a story by Clarke), another oddball ‘scientist’!

Leonard_TURKTurk, un surdoué du dessin